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Another obstacle to Iran attack is removed

  1. Mar 11, 2008 #1

    turbo

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    Admiral Fallon is resigning. It is supposedly voluntary, and doesn't signal a change in policy toward Iran, but since his resistance to mounting attacks on Iran is the main sticking point between him and the administration, this does not bode well for ME stability. It's often the case that the denied reasons for high-level resignations are exactly the reasons. Once he has resigned, I hope he gets really vocal about his experiences.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080311...lon_resigns;_ylt=Ai.L00FE121gstImECd_niys0NUE
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 11, 2008 #2

    russ_watters

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    Admirals don't write national foreign policy.
     
  4. Mar 11, 2008 #3
    Can anyone find a quote (even from the linked article) that Fallon was actually opposed to Bush's Iran policy? I think turbo-1 glossed over the finer details (which are very relevant) and drew a premature conclusion.
     
  5. Mar 11, 2008 #4

    mgb_phys

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    In goverment generally an official quote claiming there is no difference between two people is generally regarded as proof that they are at each others throats!
     
  6. Mar 11, 2008 #5

    turbo

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    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080311...lon_resigns;_ylt=AnN3VvpbF8rihCh795VHBe.s0NUE

    When Bush and Cheney floated the idea of attacking Iran, Fallon said "Not on my watch." You can parse that any way you want, but I'm taking him at his word. Now, the upcoming (I really hope NOT) attacks on Iran won't be on his watch.
     
  7. Mar 11, 2008 #6

    Astronuc

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    Fallon, Top U.S. Commander in Mideast, Resigns
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88116189
    by Tom Bowman
    He apparently did make a statement along the lines that the US ought not to press for military action in Iran and should make an effort to prevent war. He's right of course.
     
  8. Mar 11, 2008 #7

    turbo

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    http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=39235

     
  9. Mar 11, 2008 #8

    russ_watters

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    I agree with not having 3 carriers in the Gulf, but I don't think the issue has anything to do with Iran: we're down to 10 active carriers. It just isn't practical to have 3 in the same place at once.

    IIRC, though, when we had 3 all they did was overlap the tours by a month.
     
  10. Mar 12, 2008 #9
    The US is unlikely to attack Iran, I should know Bush told me.

    Seriously though, I just can't see any sort of attack happening atm, they just haven't got a reason to, and I don't think it would be particularly popular either. You really can't attack someone just because you don't like them, you need a bit more than that. It's not playground time.
     
  11. Mar 12, 2008 #10

    turbo

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    The Bush administration has shown that it does not need a reason to launch a military offensive against another country. In the case of Iraq, they made up their "reasons" to mollify Congress, and then questioned the patriotism of anyone who disagreed with the war. Even now, suggestions for setting guidelines to wind down the Iraq occupation and disengage are derided by Bush and Cheney as "surrender". Given the recklessness that this administration has demonstrated in foreign affairs, and their inability to see anything other than military "solutions" for the problems we face, Fallon's resignation is very troubling. The most likely scenario is that he was under increasing pressure to launch carrier-based air strikes against Iran, and that he has resigned rather than comply. Guys like Fallon don't walk away from a life of military service just because they want to help an administration save face or reduce the appearance of internal conflict. He was forced out.
     
  12. Mar 12, 2008 #11

    BobG

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    Turbo's article, U.S.-IRAQ: Fallon Derided Petraeus, Opposed the Surge, illustrates the real reason Fallon is resigning. He lost his battle over the surge to a subordinate (and one he particularly dislikes):

    An opposing view on Fallon is provided by Max Boot of the LA Times.

    There's two things that affect Fallon's viewpoint on the surge:

    1) The US military only has so many troops. Committing so many to Iraq means the US has less ability to respond to whatever may happen in Pakistan, less ability to take matters into their own hands along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and less ability to maintain some kind of status quo with Iran. Starting a new war in Iran would push military manning so far beyond its capabilities that our entire Middle East strategy would collapse. (Max Boot is wrong that "By irresponsibly taking the option of force off the table, Fallon makes it more likely, not less, that there will ultimately be an armed confrontation with Iran." Thinking Iran can't see how far the military is already stretched is assuming that Iran's leadership consists of morons.)

    2) While Boot is right that success in Iraq will make other objectives in the region easier to obtain, he doesn't talk about the odds of succeeding. Historically, civil wars last for decades and are only resolved by one side wiping out the other. The actions of Iraq's government has shown very little reason to believe Iraq will wind up any different than other countries that have been torn by ethnic civil wars. Banking on success in Iraq is like planning to pay your bills as soon as you win the lottery - it might actually happen! But, it probably won't. A Middle East plan that accepts and accounts for an ongoing ethnic civil war in Iraq has a better chance for success than one that depends on success in Iraq. The reduction in violence as a result of the surge just delays development of a realistic plan for the entire Middle East region.

    If the administration could point to some other ethnic civil war that was resolved by a peaceful sharing of power in a democratic government and point to how they were using lessons learned from that civil war to improve the chances of success in Iraq, their position would be more credible. The fact that they haven't is a pretty telling gap in their story.

    As it is, there's good reason for Fallon (and others) to doubt the wisdom of making such a long shot roll of the die an absolutely critical piece of the overall US Middle East strategy.
     
  13. Mar 12, 2008 #12

    Astronuc

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    The Bush administration undermined, even sabotaged, a victory in Iraq from day 1, particularly with Paul Bremer and CPA. Thousands of Iraqi civilians were killed by US forces, and that right there precluded victory. The US military and CPA subsequently to secure and stabilize the country and provide basic acceptable living standards/conditions to the civilian population.
     
  14. Mar 12, 2008 #13

    mgb_phys

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    The 'not at all a civil war' in Northern Ireland has more or less resolved itself peacefully after either 350year / 90years / 30years of violence depending on how far you want to push history.

    It had the classic setup - a peacekeeping force from a well equipped democratic military that was basically supporting one side, a set of 'insurgents/terrorsists/freedom fighters' that were being supported by another foreign goverment and a local elected goverment with no power.

    Peace came about either because a new goverment in charge of the military force decided to play nicely with both sides, or the foot soldiers on the 'I/T/FF' side worked out thaty could just run the drugs and protection rackets and keep the money instead of donating it to the cause, or the leaders of each side realised that they were getting old and being legititmate politicians with a pension might be better than being targets for some up and coming new generation of I/T/FF in search of promotion.

    Either way - good luck in Iraq for the next few generations!
     
  15. Mar 12, 2008 #14
    Oh I agree but I can't see him doing anything now, he just hasn't got enough support or time left. I don't even think Bush would be that stupid, although...
     
  16. Mar 12, 2008 #15

    turbo

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    I don't have your confidence in his intelligence, nor his perceived "need" for support. He has proven over and over that given an opportunity to engage with countries with whom we have disagreements, he will use a real or threatened military attack to coerce them instead. It wouldn't take much of an "incident" - real, imagined, or fabricated - to trigger an air-war against Iran. Such a war would stop all gulf tanker traffic for the duration, giving Bush and Cheney's friends in the oil business huge windfall profits. If he attacks Iran, we in the US will be praying for $5/gal gas.

    Adm. Fallon wanted to back down on the use of military force and forge regional alliances to help restore peace, so we could spend our military resources on extremist groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan. To Bush, the very notion of negotiating with Syria and Iran (who have very real security concerns regarding the situation in Iraq) is off-bounds. I hope Adm. Fallon writes a tell-all book about his last command - it would probably be a doozy!
     
  17. Mar 12, 2008 #16

    BobG

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    Generally, declaring ends to civil wars is a little like declaring a recession. They're done after the fact (about 5 years after the fact in the case of civil wars) to see if a given settlement really worked or was a mere lull in the violence. The 5 year time frame is purely arbitrary. Civil wars successfully resolved by peaceful power sharing include Lebanon and Sudan. In both those countries, it took around 10 years for a new civil war to break out.

    None the less, the presumptive resolution of problems in Northern Ireland do provide a lesson on at least one way to resolve civil wars:

    According to a few books discussed in the article, Who Really Brought Peace to Belfast, it took a civil servant bureaucracy and 30 years of infiltrating the IRA to finally bring peace.

    There are a few other successes that appear more inspiring (South Africa for example), but the tough step is explaining how to take lessons from those successes and apply them to Iraq in some meaningful way that doesn't include 'decades' as the scale for its timeline.
     
  18. Mar 12, 2008 #17

    mgb_phys

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    I lived there for a while - the reason for 'peace' seemed to be a combination of:

    Improved prosperity - it's hard to feel an oppressed occupied people when you have a shiny new BMW and your house equity went up 20% last year.

    A new British goverment without the baggage of 15 years of 'we will crush terrorism' rhetoric.

    An ageing leadership by both sides who fancied a Nobel prize more than a bullet.

    A reduction in public (especially American) support for 'freedom fighters' following 9/11


    On the down side - a new generation of foot 'soldiers' that now run the same fund raising efforts for themselves mean that some areas have got more dangerous since the peace - but these are poor estates so nobody cares.


    There were some very good lessons to learn - talking to both sides, disbanding partisan police forces, reducing military and security presence.
    A lesson that hasn't apparently been learnt is that after 30years and 3500deaths from terrorism, Britain managed to survive with only the removal of litter bins from railway stations. Now the threat of Al-Queada means that we must have total surveliance, ID cards, new police powers etc ....
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2008
  19. Mar 12, 2008 #18
    Could this be another piece to the Iran puzzle?

    http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/biz-topheadlines/229356.php
     
  20. Mar 12, 2008 #19

    russ_watters

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    He, of course had reasons, he just didn't necessarily have the right ones.
    That is complete speculation. Completely baseless.
    He may have been forced-out, but guys like Fallon have a strong sense of duty. If something was getting in the way of him performing that duty (whether a real or perceived conflict doesn't matter), he would leave rather than perform his duties in a compromised fashion.
     
  21. Mar 12, 2008 #20

    russ_watters

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    That may be true, but it is odd that it would take more than a year for him to resign over it. I'd like to think he'd be more professional than to resign over sour grapes, now that the surge has proven effective in reducing the violence.

    The article paints him as being a career contrarian, and if that's true, I don't know why he'd quit now over an interpersonal conflict. Unless the whole point is that he expects to win conflicts with subordinates. It would be incredibly ironic if he built his career on not being afraid to stand up to superiors, but quit because of being on the other end of it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2008
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