Invite Admiral Fallon to Tell Us if We’re Safer

You’ve no doubt heard that General Petraeus has no fucking clue whether sustaining the surge and succeeding in Iraq will make us safer. (To some degree, this is appropriate, because his command is limited to Iraq, and his job is to do the best job in Iraq he can.) You’ve also probably heard that some at the Pentagon have their own plan to get us out of the Iraq, fast.

NEWSWEEK has learned that a separate internal report being prepared bya Pentagon working group will “differ substantially” from Petraeus’srecommendations, according to an official who is privy to the ongoingdiscussions but would speak about them only on condition of anonymity.An early version of the report, which is currently being drafted and isexpected to be completed by the beginning of next year, will “recommenda very rapid reduction in American forces: as much as two-thirds of theexisting force very quickly, while keeping the remainder there.” Thestrategy will involve unwinding the still large U.S. presence in bigforward operation bases and putting smaller teams in outposts. “Thereis interest at senior levels [of the Pentagon] in getting alternativeviews” to Petraeus, the official said. Among others, Centcom commanderAdmiral William Fallon is known to want to draw down faster thanPetraeus.

I have a suggestion for John Warner (who can get away with anything, now that he has announced his retirement). Invite Admiral Fallon to answer your question. Hell, while you’re at it, have General Pace, head of the Joint Chiefs, answer it too. Invite them in to the SFRC tomorrow, before Ed Gillespie’s PR elves get to them to give them a script.

I have a feeling both Fallon and Pace have a clearer idea whether winning in Iraq–with the financial and troop commitments it would demand–would make us safer.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Different institutional interests. Set aside whether he’s correct: Petreus sees an opportunity to â€win†if he has enough troops. Fallon (and possibly Pace) see that the resources Petreus says he needs don’t exist.

    This is what happens when you let a neo-con nitwit with no background in military or Middle East affairs come up with your grand strategy.

  2. emptywheel says:


    Yup–but that’s part of the logic for it. Fallon (and possibly Pace–I agree he’s less likely) are going to weigh first and foremost the imminent breaking point of our military. That’s not Petraeus’ gig.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Whoever these commendable chaps in the Pentagon are, their families are already planning the extra time they will be spending with them very, very soon.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I wouldn’t get your hopes too high for any bold moves from Warner. He has a bit more freedom, but he still wants to get his chosen successor, Tom Davis, elected, so he doesn’t want to rile up the wingnuts too much.

  5. emptywheel says:

    Pace, for his part, isn’t all that commendable. He just has a history of accidentally telling the truth from time to time, most notably on whether Iran is arming the Sunni insurgents.

  6. Wasfi Abdo says:

    A letter to Mr. President George W. Push

    Arab Israeli Conflict

    As far as the United States protects Israel’s Terrorism at the Security Council by voting Veto against any blame to Israel’s terrorism, exactly as it was practicing since Fifty Years, this caused the Middle East Conflict to intensify, extended and complicated.

    Since Palestinians and even the whole world do not know exactly how the US foreign Policy works; we wonder if the US will continue protecting and supporting Israel’s terrorism and up to what extent this support will continue. Now let’s view the US support for terrorism, stimulated in the US approach to breeds and implant the Israel’s terrorism, in the meantime United States policy requesting Palestinian President to prevent any legal attacks against Israel. Oh my God Mr. President, how this could be happen, who is the terrorist? Now it seems that you discover a new definition for terrorism and it is only understood by US Policy makers.

    Now as to Palestinians, it seems that the United States and the UK are misspelling the word terrorism, because they change the roles and names and they call the Victims as Terrorists, and the Terrorists as Victims.

    However, since Palestinians will never accept these misleading approaches and standards by the United States. Let me tell you Mr. President a little story, I know a Palestinian who never talk politics at home, he have got a B1+B2 Visa to the United States, but he never used it to travel to the United States, he have a child of 11 years old, when he saw the World Trade Towers Explosions on TVs he became very happy, and frankly his father was too, as the case to many millions of the people around the world, who where harmed by the US Foreign Policy since world war II.

    When this Palestinian asked his child why he became happy? the child said â€because the Americans always killing the Palestinians, now it is a time that somebody kills themâ€, why the child wants Americans feel and suffer a time for being Killed.

    Now, we may came to raise this question, why is that…?, why this child’s opinion was so aggressive to the US?. It is really because he was harmed by US policy. To answer the question of why this harm, might be your responsibility Mr. President, and a Personal Responsibility of the US Foreign Policy Makers.

    I guess that you have got to acknowledge the meanings which I am trying to convey to you Mr. PRESIDENT. Now let me say it in another way Mr. President, an American Story:

    What the Americans will feel if a Palestinian, has been visiting the White House, then, when he likes a room at that house, so he spread his sleeping bag and trying to use the white house facilities including saloons, bedrooms, bathrooms and so on, and even doing changes in it, and might destroy it, the next day when the white house Americans came, the Palestinian stopped them and prevent them from moving around the rooms, just in order not to be disturbed..? You Mr. President can imagine how this situation is so funny, of course, they will be (all Americans citizens), surprised and will ask the Palestinian what he is doing there, then, instead of talking to them, the Palestinian start shooting them by a Russian or even a Palestinian Gun, (How funny is that), this funny case will lead to raise another question Mr. president, that is:

    What The Palestinian’s action who occupied the White House, in Washington DC. could be called, and this is what I am willing to ask you Mr. President, and Mr. Foreign Secretary, and even Israeli’s prime Minister and his Government.

    Now to stop this misunderstanding, Mr. President, please let me as a Palestinian know your interpretation for the word terrorism, and for the word of rights. Does that means to repel Palestinians from their homes and lands and import Russian, Indian and Ethiopian Jews instead…what a funny case…what a funny situation..!

    For me, I do not care for your special miss-spells Mr. President, but I care for the meanings of the two words, and care for its effect on me.

    For me as a Palestinian: I understand the terrorism exactly as you understand it, when somebody attacks your home, it is terrorism. Accordingly, Mr. President, when the Israelis attack my home, I will understand terrorism exactly as you understand it when somebody attacks your family’s home, or land. I will feel exactly, as you feel when somebody shoots one of your family members, son or daughter in the street with Automatic Gun, using a Palestinian or Russian or Bin Laden made Gun, and even doing that just for nothing, except killing your family members because they are Americans.. I am a human being as you are, I feel exactly as you feel, I have the same dignity that you have Mr. President.

    Now we came to know how it is funny to call you a Terrorist just because you are an American Citizen, or when you fight the above mentioned virtual Palestinian who attack your White House, your Home, your Land, and even shoot your Children.

    Americans may understand these meanings of terrorism and fighting for self-defense, exactly in the same way as the Palestinians understand it.

    Please Mr. President, do not shoot my sons, my children, by your weapons and Guns, since I cause no harm to you, Please Mr. President take me or help me to go back to my Home. Your Government Mr. President has kept me and prevented me from going back to my homeland for more than fifty years through US massive and continuous unlimited support to Israel. Many Palestinian children were shot by Israeli solders caring American made Guns, and covered with American sponsorship and support.

    I would like to visit you and talk to you about this issue in person. It is not wise to listen to a Nazis Zionist terrorist, such as Israeli leaders and their gangs and clans, it is always healthy to hear from both sides of the story, then you must hear from the Palestinians.

    All Palestinians, Moslems, Christians, and Palestinian Jews, lived in harmony and peace for centuries in Palestine before the British Mandates, that brings these Zion’s Gangs to attack Palestinian’s Homes, Land and Trees. Israeli’s and the Zionists gangs may live in Palestine, in peace, but with Palestinians, and not without Palestinians, for if a Palestinian may Immigrate to your Country (United States), and Live in peace as you live, but if this Palestinian will never live in Peace, If he start to shoot Americans, kill children, threat them and theft their homes, land and properties, and even stop them from moving around to support their lives, it is sure Mr. President You personally in that case will Shoot shot.(This is what Palestinians will do for sure), why you are requesting Palestinians to do the same of what you will do..!

    This is Mr. President the Dilemma.

    Thank you Mr. President for your valuable time, that you spend reading these words, but I am sure, it will be useful to you, and to your country Mr. President.

    I know Mr. President, You do not intend to kill the Palestinians, even you might not accept the idea of being a killer, you might want to help the Israelis to live, but living does not necessary means killing others, theft their properties and destroying their trees just for fun.

    Now how we can come out of this dilemma, You need one simple thing, that is to be FAIR with your self, with your kids, with the Palestinians and with the Israelis, and thus fair to American citizens.

    A Terrorist must be called terrorists, champions must be called champions, great people must be pledged for their works, from where ever they come, and from whom ever they are, Americans, Palestinians, or Israelis.

    Wasfi M. Abdo,(DBA).

    (Published in Article base)

    Related Link:

    Can Peres Be the Mind of Israel..?…..l#comments

  7. knut wicksell says:

    The senior defense official has got to be Gates and his aides, who want to get us out of that briar patch before we become a third-rate power. Gates was put in there via Poppy’s crew, and Poppy’s crew do not want to see the whole house of cards collapse in Saudi Arabia, which it surely will if the troops lose their lifeline to Kuwait. They are now terribly exposed. I interpret this as Bush Sr versus Cheney. Which leads to the obvious question: when will Cheney’s pacemaker short-circuit?

  8. orionATL says:

    great idea.

    let fallon have his public say.

    and while the congress is at it,

    maybe they can ask the admiral why it is that he, who is petraeus’ superior, felt the need to argue so strenuously with pedestrians about petraeus’ â€analysisâ€.

    and then this question, since we are assured that the prez is listening to the generals:

    why did the prez not consult with his centcom commander (fallon) rather than that commander’s subordinate.

    put differently,

    does bush listen to his military commanders?

    or does he pick the commanders he chooses to listen to say?

    well, of course, we all know the answer to this silly question.

    and then ask admiral fallon:

    why the defense dept has an entirely different and opposing analysis of the â€speed of troop draw down†issue.

    is secdef gates not behind this? of course he is. it’s a sane policy to protect the u.s. military.

    what might the military’s preferred strategy for withdrawal be?

    hint: michael ledeen’s war cry (see answer below).

    answ: â€faster, pleaseâ€

    p.s. was it admiral fallon who said, some months previously, that there would be no attack on IRAN on his watch?

  9. der says:

    Listening to Claire McCaskill question those 2 today makes me wish I lived in Missouri…at least for the time it takes to drink a beer…we need 10 no 15 no … more like her …. wishin’ an’ hopin’ an’ prayin’. Show me the money!

  10. sojourner says:

    I got slapped in the face with some reality today…

    It is no longer about â€winning†in Iraq. For that matter, it never has been.

    We have it in for the Bushies and Big Dicks, and are more and more upset with how the Democratic leadership is doing nothing to stop this idiocy. Yet, each and every one of us is equally complicit in what is going on because we are all gluttons for OIL.

    According to the US Energy Information Administration,

    Iraq has the world’s third largest proven petroleum reserves and some of the lowest extraction costs, although just a fraction of its known fields are in development. According to the March 2007, review by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in 2006, crude oil export revenues represented around 60 percent of GDP and 89 percent of government revenues. In 2006, the U.S Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that Iraq was the world’s 15th biggest oil producer and Iraq meets approximately 94 percent of its energy needs with petroleum. Iraq’s use of abundant natural gas resources and hydropower is limited. According to the findings of the December 2006, Iraq Study Group (ISG), led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker and former Congressman Lee H. Hamilton, the stabilization of Iraq is highly correlated with Iraq’s economic success or failure, which in the medium-term is highly dependent on its hydrocarbons industry.†(My bold)

    Iraq’s economic success or failure is irrelevant. It is merely a cover for the US taking Iraq’s oil. Taking out Saddam Hussein under the pretense of WMD was an excuse for us going in to do what we wanted to do: Locking down oil reserves. Our noble cause was just cover for taking over Iraq’s reserves.

    If Iraq could form a stable government, so much the better! We could point to it with pride as an accomplishment. We would not appear to be doing what we actually are: taking what does not belong to us in the name of spreading â€democracy.â€

    But, Iraq has not been able to form that government (read: the US has failed to impose its own form of government). There is NO security in the area, which means the oil reserves and the infrastructure for producing it all are at great risk.

    For that reason, we will not leave Iraq. We cannot… Or else, the US way of life is going to go down the tubes — and no politician wants to be in office or up for reelection if that happens. The economic dislocation, with the way we live, would be too great. Our reliance on cars and gasoline help to run our economy. If that went away, or was seriously disrupted, the pain would be enormous.

    I suspect that is why we will not be leaving any time soon, no matter what good reasons we come up with…

  11. Neil says:

    why did the prez not consult with his centcom commander (fallon) rather than that commander’s subordinate.
    Posted by: orionATL | September 11, 2007 at 20:02

    For the same reason he consulted with Yoo and Addington rather than OLC and AG?

  12. Davis X. Machina says:

    I have a feeling both Fallon and Pace have a clearer idea whether winning in Iraq–with the financial and troop commitments it would demand–would make us safer.

    Fallon and Pace probably have a different definition of ’safer’, one not predicated on Democratic control of both Houses of Congress and the White House being an existential threat to the Republic.

  13. Neil says:

    Posted by: sojourner | September 11, 2007 at 21:11

    Bush’s legacy will be the BIG GAMBLE: Masquerading as a pre-emptive strike to secure nuclear bombs, the USA invades Iraq, captures Saddam, and secures the oils reserves for extraction and marketing by BIG OIL. In so doing, BIG OIL breaks the OPEC cartel.

    Reflecting on this day six years after 9/11, do you think the people who died on 9/11 and in Iraq since would agree with Bush that the BIG GAMBLE was worth their lives?

    This is my friend. I don’t know how she felt about the Iraq conflict. She was in Tikrit on a morale boosting mission. We worked together as volunteers for an international non-profit professional development organization for the advancement of technology-use in law firms, corporate and government legal departments.

    At Swartworth’s funeral, a sea of dark green Army uniforms surrounded the graveside and flowed down the cemetery’s long road. Men and women in dark dress Navy uniforms peppered the crowd as well; Swartworth’s husband, William, is a Navy Captain stationed in Hawaii. Near him stood the couple’s 8-year-old son, William III. Swartworth was posthumously given the Distinguished Service Medal during the ceremony.

    Swartworth, 43, was the JAG Corps’ top warrant officer. She was killed along with Command Sergeant Major Cornell W. Gilmore, the corps’ top enlisted man, while visiting some of the 400 JAG Corps soldiers stationed in Iraq. Four members of the 101st Airborne Division also were killed in the crash.

    Swartworth and Gilmore had traveled the world on similar trips with Major General Thomas J. Romig, the judge advocate general, guiding and boosting the morale of the soldiers responsible for administering military justice.

  14. sojourner says:

    Neil, I am sorry for your loss… I lost someone very dear to me in Osama’s attack on the US Embassy in Nairobi. While she was not affected by Iraq, she was on her own mission to help people. And, she died an innocent victim. It is all so senseless…

    And yes, Bush’s Big Gamble is just that. I do not condone what he has done. If anything, I believe he has made us less safe because we continue to rely on hydrocarbons for fuel — and we have also stuck our hands into a buzz saw. I think our fingers are starting to come off, but it does not hurt enough yet.

    The gamble is that we can continue as we are for a few more years, or we can get smart and invest in the necessary research to get off of our addiction to oil. It is easier said than done — but no politician is brave enough to do it.

  15. mighty mouse says:

    Oh, Neil, that GWB gambled with the life of such a good friend and such a good woman–and the lives of thousands of others–there are not words. And to read Operation Iraqi Freedom on the tombstone. I am saddened for you and her family (how is her son?) and enraged for this country and its despicable occupation….

  16. orionATL says:

    neil and sojourner,

    political affiliation aside,

    violent death of a loved one or friend generates a web, a network, of profound loss.

    for everyone of the 3700+ killed so far in iraq,

    or the 3000 killed in new york and washington on sept 11, 2001,

    there are 4 or 8 or 12 or 27 family and friends who will never forget their loss – for years, for decades.

    now consider the 45K deaths per year from autos in the u.s. and the 25K deaths per years from guns

    and you have a sense of the hundreds of thousands like you who have lost someone very dear in their lives.

    this tragedy of loss is repeated year after year, decade after decade.

    how does a society function effectively when millions of its members have suffered such grievous loss?

    for me, the strangest thing is,
    that, as a species, we tolerate all those conditions leading to violent death so willingly.

    this is a big puzzle about human behavior.

    i am sorry for each of your losses,

    and for each in that network of others who also lost those same beloved individuals.

  17. Jodi says:

    The military is always working on alterntive plans.

    I am sure that Admiral Fallon will stand behind General Petraeus’s report. Neither is stupid enough to disagree with the other publically. They will only say that different angles were being explored.

    emptywheel as I said earlier General Petraeus would admit he didn’t know something when he didn’t.

    In fact despite the rather obvious large number of opinions about the safety of the USA, I don’t believe anyone knows.

    And for this day Sept 11, 2007, I would like to say:

    God bless the United States of America!

  18. Neil says:

    And for this day Sept 11, 2007, I would like to say…
    Posted by: Jodi | September 12, 2007 at 00:03

    You’re a day late and a dollar short.

  19. katie Jensen says:


    I totally agree with your assessment of why we are there. I believe this is why so many big corporate types are pro bush. No one will speak the real reason out loud in any public forum. No one will admit that our purpose was absolutely to break the oil cartel.

    In this there is some validity in the argument. It is the oil cartel that fuels a majority of the terrorism in the middle east. It has given the middle east power in legitimate ways and then the not so legitimate ways.

    I don’t know whether the american people truly are ready to pay the price of leaving. I have been thinking this question through for a long time and believe that america will be stronger, safer and smarter if they work on getting out of the oil business and oil dependence. This is the solution in my mind. However, there will be a lag time. There will undoubtable be some desperate years if this is the path taken. Bush took the power and control path. We need to control the oil to be safe.

    And this is in part why global warming is not discussed by this administration in any valid way. Because to do so validates the plan to move away from big oil. If he had taken this path, it would have pissed off a lot of his friends, colleagues and family. It was not an option for him.

    For americans, this is the wise mind solution. It works within the reality of global warming. It makes the most of american ingenuity. But it will cost us.

    Now Bush has so bankrupted our economy that to take this path, will cause, in my humble opinion, a near economic collapse at least in the short term. I cannot see how this goal can be met without experiencing some major economic pain.

    Today’s leadership must have a big picture vision. A vision of an america that can weather the storm and give up first place willingly to gain it back again once we put our monies into solving the â€oil†problem.

    I think there is reason to hope. I think America is the country who could make this shift in the world, who could lead in this regard. But we need someone of the vision to do this. I still have not heard a single candidate with this sweeping vision. This visionary would have to make clear the sacrifice. It will be painful to make the shift, but like a saving account that is painful to make payments into, will be our strength in the end.

    Gore has the vision…but not the will.

  20. sojourner says:

    Katie, I also hope that there is reason to hope. Sometimes things turn out so much better than we can ever envision on a personal level. I just have not seen anyone with any true vision that is not clouded by our current circumstances who can rise above the fray and the incessant idiotic questions.

    Thanks for your comments!

  21. Alyx says:

    orion,,I have the same thoughts as you. Everyday I watch on how terrible society can be continously…like the hundreds of wars waged over time has never been a learning lesson. I know that un-educated folk and extremism is one part of the problem, but for those folks who do have the not see that the biggest soloution is to bring everyone up to standard will be the end soloution is amazing…all the more to help nations grow and build…but the proper way..not taking them over and not by ignoring them. We are a world community and yes we are all related under the skin by DNA…can we stop and smell the roses…and realise that we are all human and we must get along…or is the Ego and the almighty $ too strong…and Armegedon will be the final chapter? It’s too bad that in the 60’s when this radical stuff started happening…we did not wise up and start placing the Middle East gently under our wing and slowly bring them up to speed…imagine how much farther along in the human struggle if we did that?

  22. Neil says:

    well only 3 seconds. Maybe it was jet lag.
    Posted by: Jodi | September 12, 2007 at 07:24

    Maybe it was the bolding.

  23. Anonymous says:

    What does Admiral Fallon think about General Patreaus??

    From Think Progress

    Fallon told Petraeus [in March] that he considered him to be “an ass-kissing little chickensh*t†and added, “I hate people like thatâ€, the sources say. That remark reportedly came after Petraeus began the meeting by making remarks that Fallon interpreted as trying to ingratiate himself with a superior.

  24. Neil says:

    sojourner, mighty mouse, Thank you for your kind words. I don’t have much information about Sharon’s son and husband. They had sold their home outside DC and relocated to Hawaii. He was a doctor in the navy and had just taken an assignment there. She was within a month or two from retiring from the army and joining her son and husband in Hawaii. I was at home on a Sunday morning watching This Week when they rolled the names of the fallen in Iraq and Afganistan. She was a smart, can-do person of high character, an excellent leader and a great friend.

  25. Wasfi M. Abdo says:

    Middle East, another peace conference..!

    The evolution of peace awareness in the world and in the Middle East and among the elite’s became of great impact which might frame out the future of the Middle East, now what are the most important, is that the parties have to recognize the basic elements of the peace, it is Justice, whenever there are a just, there will be a respect for conventions and agreements, all parties must recognize that power without just is nothing, thus the [parties role must concentrates on:

    Firstly: The Americans, the Americans have a bad experience in the Middle East policy, and understanding, thus it is recommended that:
    1-Must recognize that just is the basic element of peace, without just any party will not come to an agreement.
    2-That just sometime does not satisfy the aggressive power.
    3-Terrorism is performed by the aggressive that overtook the belongings of others, if I kill a Jew who overtook my belongings in Palestine or his Family, this is not terrorism, but if I kill another Jew in Paris or New York this is terrorism.
    4-All technologies of power implementation and usage could be overcomes with simple techniques and the right well, and the supreme power is never going to be so in the long run.
    5-Now for more than 50 years , Israel never be familiarized with the people of the areas, because they are aggressive, they cheat, thefts, dont respect their word and, and sometimes the Human beings capabilities become limited to selfish horizon, after which the victim become careless about his life and other’s life, and this is what case the September 11 crises.

    Secondly: The Israeli’s, must understand in clear words and voice that they are aliens in the area. They are stealing all the belongings of the Palestinians, having all the power of American’s modern guns do not mean that they are justified, nor they are accepted, and their welfare and well-being’s are those theft from Palestinians.
    Accordingly, If they need to progress and develop their country, they must understands:
    1-Palestinians rights are the same as those for the original Palestinian’s Jews.
    2-The Israeli’s Zionist’s have spent a half century, but with bad-faith and bad neighborhood for all the residents in the Area.
    3-They are discriminating between the Israeli’s Jewish and Israeli’s Arabs.
    4-What they pretend about the Holocaust in Germany, is not a license to do it for other nations.
    5-The Jewish were living in Palestine in Peace until the New Nazi’s Zionist’s came.
    6- They are destroying their dream state if they don’t catch with the Arab peace initiatives.
    7- The will no Palestinian, now or in the future who could sign a peace treaty with these mentalities of the New Nazi’s Zionist’s.
    8-Each Palestinian feel and have the right to kill any Israeli’s living in Palestine, unless they got their rights according to International law.
    9-The Israeli’s Zionist’s acts of wielding extra power using American support will never protect the Israeli’s.
    10-The Israeli’s now, at a crossroad, they can protect their dream state or destroy it forever.
    11-Palestinian’s and Arabs have come now to the lowest possible limit of rights against Israel existence.
    12-Without good neighborhood and neighbor’s cooperation there will be no Israel’s in the long run.
    13-They must qualify the Palestinian Refugees to return to their home land if the requested to, according to International law. The Israeli’s well-fare must not be paid by the Palestinians.

    Thirdly: The Palestinians, they have to understand, although there was suffering during the last century, but you need to understand:
    1-The necessity of build a democratic state.
    2-The necessity of build a stable economy and progressive country.
    3-The necessity of build self-reliance and self-dependence.
    4-Although they have learn a lot, but they still need to learn a little more about the game of democracy.

    I am writing these in sincere and good faith, since I am of the middle stream line of people who need to live in peace, but will not accept any unjust for the future of the Area, I feel, and if some of my point of views might not be accepted by some Americans, Israelis and Palestinians, but I feel that because they are the bad ones, and my role is to flag and warn all for their responsibilities.

    Wasfi M. Abdo