I couldn't resist that title, but Admiral William J. Fallon, the top American commander in the Middle East isn't falling, though he is retiring early. This is of interest because he is opposed to the grandiose plans of yet another war in the area, this time against Iran:
President Bush said Admiral Fallon had served his country with "honor, determination and commitment" and deserved "considerable credit" for the progress in Afghanistan and Iraq.
But despite the warm words from Mr. Bush and Mr. Gates, there was no question that the admiral's premature departure stemmed from a public appearance of policy differences with the administration, and with Gen. David H. Petraeus, the American commander in Iraq.
Mr. Gates acknowledged as much when he said that Admiral Fallon, in asking permission on Tuesday morning to retire, had expressed concerns that the controversy over his views were becoming "a distraction." But the secretary labeled as "ridiculous" any speculation that the admiral's retirement portends a more bellicose American approach toward Iran.
Ridiculous? I'm no longer sure what might safely be labeled ridiculous in politics. I hope that sanity and logic will prevail. But I no longer assume that they will. After all, the number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq is approaching four thousand, and that seems to the Bush administration to be a small price to pay for tearing a country apart and for fostering fundamentalism within it.
Yes, I meant Iraq with that reference to a country...