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05 January 2007


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It makes perfect sense if we are going to hit Iran with airpower.

Michael Singer

Dear Pat,
An Admiral running ground wars? Okay, I don't get it either but I think I know what you are hinting; we are heading for a sea based attack on Iran. If that is what you think, could you spell it out? I would have thought an Air Force general would have been more appropriate to manage that task. But I am not a miitary man.
Secondly, I thought you reported some time ago that the Pace's Chiefs of Staff had persuaded King George that an attack on Iran would have so many negative outcomes for the US that he backed away. What do you think is really going on now?
And further, can you imagine the anti-war majority in the House and those Republican Senators who are wary of further involvement in ME military adventures would react to an Iranian offensive? We don't yet know what the King is going to propose for Iraq and what theCongressinal response will be; how do you imagine Congress would react to an Iranian offensive while we are still bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan? Could we be headed for a historical crisis? Michael Singer


Having had a basic education and a little experience as an Analyst, plus whatever intuitive gifts there be, I may suggest two avenues, Admiral Fallon (yes to the incongruity of a ariel Admiral doing highly complex counterinsurgency ops on the ground, BTW)is being chosen for qualities he possesses, or he is not; heaven knows one cannot rule out utter incompetence at the top as an explanation. If the President has correctly identified the Admiral's qualities, which apparently have nothing to do with actual experience, which qualities were they?

Do they relate to the present insurgency or, perhaps, towards another purpose, say, the bombardment of Iran? If not, again, which are they? or does the administration even care? Does the President actively punish people who bring him bad news, making that the purpose--"find me a replacement!"--or can he blame it all on Rumsfeld? Will his genial brother act hold up?

I trust I have not deflected the intended direction(s) of your post by following this up the implicit chain of command as best I could spell it out.

bob mcmanus

With trepidation, may I suggest a slim possibility that the appointment of Fallon might indicate a change in the nature of operations in Iraq? A new intense air campaign against unfriendly neighborhoods in Baghdad?


Am I correct in interpeting this appointment -- and your remarking upon it -- as an indication that the planning for an air campaign against Iran is proceeding apace?



It is a consequent posting if the intention was indeed as you suggest to prepare for war (and not to simply post someone of sufficient servility). But then, the pacific theatre is a predominantly maritime in nature ;)

The posting makes sense from a turf point of view. In the GWOT the Navy has been pretty low profile, naval interception and sealift left aside. They got to prove their usefulness as an armed service to justify further funding. And it's about prestige, too.

It would be consequent for the air power and cruise missile forces of the navy to play a significant part in any strike against Iran. Because of that, and to get a part of the action of course, I imagine them to have been pretty enthusiastic about striking Iran. After all, a new country to blow up, with fixed targets aplenty.

From the US armed forces the Army and Marines are overstretched. The Air Force and Navy aren't and thus are likely to be the ones assigned to carry out an attack on Iran. The most common speculative scenarions for US war on Iran have assumed that there would be intense use of naval air power and long range air power.

Makes sense.


one can only hope that this is another one of those screwed up choices made by the administration and your astute observation is, somehow, this time, off the mark.

W. Patrick Lang

bob m.

4 star theater commanders have nothing to do with the minutia of bombing neighborhoods. pl

John Shreffler


The Admiral is just the latest piece of data. The fact that the AEI/PNAC/Likkud is still dictating our strategy is another, as they mean to kill Iran, the same way Cato the Elder meant to finish off Carthage. Meanwhile the Israelis are pounding their own drum, which goes "If you don't do it for us, we'll do it ourselves":


I must confess I don't see the logic in any of this but I feel it coming very intensely.


This also had occurred to me. Laura Rozen raises the same point:



Laura Rozen comments on this:



Petraus appears to be a good choice considering the current situation.

I would bet that rather than selecting Fallon, he was simply the only alternative, as others in the traditional ground forces may have either declined or shared the views of Abizaid and Casey.

Clearly there is going to be a long period of reflection and lessons learned when this is done. The Generals may have finally recognized that the extra star, or two, won by joining the "plan of the month" club just isn't worth the ignomy.

john in the Boro

"The [president] imagines himself a king, and no power can alter his great thoughts and dreams." ("The Procession", Khalil Gibran)


I beginning to think having the Congress swung against him may simply be making King George petulant rather than prudent.

He ignoring Baker, surges into Baghdad and now appoints a carrier man. He shows ever sign of being a man set on demonstrating that while POTUS he can do what he damn well pleases abroad.

Joe Biden has made the point there was little Congress could do to stop a similarly determined Nixon.

You could read this as a signal that the US role in Iraq will shortly be providing air support rather than boots on the ground or that the fool is about to go "wide" and hugely escalate the area of conflict. Even the former is bad. Over reliance on air power lead to the recent Israeli humiliation and has near lost us the war in Afghanistan.

Incidentally the Ranter has made a hobby is watching US carrier movements: http://yorkshire-ranter.blogspot.com/2006/12/there-is-still-going-to-be-no-attack.html
I'm sure the Iranians will be nervously sampling the same data as well.


I urge you all to read this top-rated diary (just above Larry Johnson's highly rated diary):

Navy Admiral Goes to CENTCOM: Be Very Afraid
Author: Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from
Virginia Beach, Virginia.


Larry Johnson's post:

Taking Stock of the Intel Community Shake Up
by L C Johnson

It's also at No Quarter:


damn... I was hoping (against faint hope) his appt was just a reward for the Marines toeing the line while the Army bitched & moaned. Anchors Aweigh Into the Wild Blue Iranian Yonder!


In addition to the appointment of Adm. Fallon as Centcom commander, I have read that Gen.Petraeus will replace Casey. If my memory serves me right he did not do that great in his previous tour of Iraq.

The Decider wants to escalate the conflict as a gambler doubling down. But is the country prepared? I think the American people by a significant majority want out of the Iraqi quagmire. The new Speaker of the House seemed pretty clear that she expected the President to respond to the results of the last election by redeploying out of Iraq. Jack Murtha on TV yesterday stated that he is going to go over the $97 billion supplemental for Iraq with a fine toothed comb and is going to hold hearings on readiness of the strategic reserve. Pat Leahy is on a collision course with Alberto Gonzales and the legality of the CIA rendition and interrogation program.

IMO, we are heading for not only an escalating conflict in the ME but a constitutional crisis in the US. And in addition I believe the economy is already in a recession. Not only is subprime lending imploding and housing inventories rising but the holiday retail environment for consumer electronics was a bloodbath for margins at both retailers and manufacturers. Inventory has piled up for plasma and LCD TVs, cell phones, MP3 players, computers. This liquidation over the next couple quarters means the entire electronics food chain down to the semiconductor equipment manufacturers will get impacted. Watch out for those earnings surprises to the downside as Motorola did today.

The next 3-6 months is going to bring the confluence of the Decider attempting to escalate and widen the conflict in the ME while engaging in questionable conduct to suppress dissent at home; the Congress trying to put the brakes and the American public increasingly getting sour about life and concerned about the future.


Laura Rozen on this:

What to think of a NAVAL officer, Pacific Commander Admiral William Fallon, appointed to run Central Command, theater of two current ground wars (Iraq and Afghanistan)? "A general reorientation of our regional policy toward a confrontation with Iran," suggests one correspondent. So too another reader noted in a version of that NYT article on the appointments that ran last night but is now apparently no longer there:

Military officers and Pentagon officials said that Admiral Fallon would represent a shift in focus for the Central Command, as he would bring expertise in maritime security operations more than land operations. As the Iraq security operation matures, the focus for Central Command is expected to shift toward countering the threat from Iran. In that capacity, the military's role focuses on maintaining regional presence through naval forces and combat aircraft and conducting maritime security operations like interdiction of vessels believed to be carrying banned weapons materials or suspected terrorists, in addition to preparing for combat contingencies.

Hard to know why it was taken out

Duncan Kinder

An alternative hypothesis would be that Admiral William Fallon, who comes from the high tech, capital intensive side of the military, represents a continued emphasis/determination on the part of the US military - the Iraq, Afghan, Hezbollah, and other insurgencies be damned - to pursue a high tech, capital intensive mode of warfare.

This alternative hypothesis could be tested by observing other high tech, capital intensive appointments in the military in other contexts, independent of any relationship to attacking Iran, where - given the Iraq/Afghan experience - one might think that a low tech, human oriented approach might be better.

If my alternative hypothesis is correct, then this appointment does not suggest a possible attack on Iran but rather a conclusion by the military that there was no more to be learnt from Iraq and Afghanistan than from Vietnam and that, instead, a greater pursuit of whiz-bang gizmos is called for.


If I remember the former SecDef was an airdale. Makes you wonder doesn't it.


Perhaps Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan could be incorporated in the new nation of Bushistan? But will the trains (or drains) run on time?


No, no, Zanzibar, the Petraeus is the greatest thing since sliced bread narrative will be all over the nation soon. (and indeed, for all i know he may be.) We will soon be bombarded with another round of push-up and sit-up stories by the good General.

All I know about the guy is that he was in charge of training Iraqi Troops. Maybe that is not enough to proclaim “enough said”. But it is damn close I suggest. But now we be provided with some convoluted explanation of how the failure of that mission was not the Gen’s fault. And indeed it may not have been. But it will all be spin, spin, spin.

The truth of the matter? I am reminded of Ava Gardner’s line in Seven Days in May….she invites Kirk Douglas in to her apartment by promising him a “steak, medium rare, and the truth, which is very rare”.

David E. Solomon

Colonel Lang,

As more than a few of us have commented:

It is "on to Iran" for the "decider" with the U.S. populace in tow and the rest of the world hostage to his supidity.

Let us hope that we all survive this next extravaganza relatively intact.

Somehow, I have my doubts.




What ever happened to the threatened naval-blockaid (inspections) of NK ships? Also, with Iran there are two military options [1] air strikes [2] naval-blockaid (inspections).

Resistance to a US Military blockaid and the boarding of ships to search for 'banned' WMDs, missle-tech, and Nuc-related equipment provides the cover of "They started it by firing at a US Ship first (as we were attempting to board their vessle in international waters)."


Babak Makkinejad

"Footfalls echo in the memory down the passage which we did not take towards the door we never opened into the rose garden ..."

by T.S.Elliot

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