After Fallon

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New York Sun – Editorial: The resignation of Admiral Fallon from the leadership of the United States Central Command will be seen by many as a signal that war with Iran is coming. The current issue of Esquire magazine suggests as much, saying that behind the scenes he was “brazenly challenging his commander in chief” on the very question of attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities. The New York Sun

New York Sun Editorial

The resignation of Admiral Fallon from the leadership of the United States Central Command will be seen by many as a signal that war with Iran is coming. The current issue of Esquire magazine suggests as much, saying that behind the scenes he was “brazenly challenging his commander in chief” on the very question of attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities.

It is widely known that the admiral, who first joined the Navy as a pilot in 1967 at the height of the Vietnam War, was, like many officers of his generation, wary of prolonged military engagements. Nonetheless, we think the coming chatter is overblown. Or as Defense Secretary Gates said yesterday, the notion that Mr. Fallon’s departure portends a change in Iran policy is “ridiculous.”

The truth is that President Bush has pursued a largely diplomatic strategy to persuade the Iranians to stop their spinning centrifuges. In Iraq, the surge strategy deploys Iraqi allies and special forces against Iran’s network, whose power to wreak mayhem in the theater has been diminished. The hope for Mr. Bush has been to come to an accommodation with Iran, in large part because he lacks the political capital in Washington to launch a preemptive strike.

The real news in Mr. Fallon’s departure is what it means for the military itself. The commander in charge of Multinational Forces Iraq, General Petraeus, is rumored to be up for a promotion. Americans will hope he could stay in Iraq as long as possible. But far better for the man who cracked Al Qaeda in Iraq to be given the broader command in the Middle East and Southwest Asia than be sent to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters at Belgium.

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