Fallon Resisting Iran Push?

22:57 Sun 23 Sep 2007
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The commander of CENTCOM, Admiral William Fallon, claimed in an interview that he doesn’t believe that the current situation will lead to war with Iran. I really hope he’s right, and also hope that it might be a good sign that such a high-ranking military officer is coming out publicly against a US attack Iran.

I’m not that confident that his judgment is correct, or that he’ll be able to do anything about the war. The military by law has to obey the orders of the government. Conscientious objection may of course be moral, but it wouldn’t be legal, and that makes it clear the current administration will be able to have another war if they want one.

It might be different if the political landscape were different, if the House and Senate were actively opposing the war. In such a case, it would probably be unclear whether or not the executive branch had legal authority to go to war. If House and Senate and the upper military echelons opposed, it would be difficult for the executive branch to create a fait accompli by simply going ahead with an attack.

Sadly, the current situation is nothing like that. The Democratic majorities in the House and Senate support further war enough to ensure that the Bush Administration has all the political cover it needs.

Incidentally, Fallon apparently can’t stand Petraeus due to the latter’s acting as a political shill for Bush. Fallon also reportedly stated that an attack on Iran “will not happen on my watch”. This makes me think that Fallon might not be around for much longer. In fact, he appointment came partly due to Bush Administration wishes to replace previous CENTCOM commander John Abizaid with a more compliant officer. So if he resists, and the political games involved turn out to favor war with Iran, he will be replaced. Theoretically there’s some small hope that a string of recalcitrant commanders could run out the clock, but that’s really grasping at straws.

I find myself eagerly grasping at those straws because the alternative is extremely difficult to bear.

Slightly off-topic, the example of Smedley Butler is worth considering.

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