Tuesday, January 30, 2007

He'll Get Around To It

AP:
Stabilizing Iraq will require "new and different actions" to improve security and political reconciliation, the Navy admiral poised to lead American forces in the Middle East said Tuesday.

Adm. William Fallon, at his confirmation hearing, also told the Senate Armed Services Committee that it may be time to "redefine the goals" in Iraq. He also said he believes Iran would like to limit America's influence in the region.

"I believe the situation in Iraq can be turned around, but time is short," he said.

Fallon, 62, who currently is commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, said he saw a need for a comprehensive approach to Iraq, including economic and political actions to resolve a problem that requires more than military force.

"What we have been doing has not been working," he said. "We have got to be doing, it seems to me, something different."

Asked by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, chairman of the committee, whether the flow of additional U.S. troops would be tied to progress by the Iraqis on political and other commitments they made to Bush, Fallon said he had not yet studied the plans in detail, given his continuing responsibilities as Pacific Command chief.

"I'm surprised you don't have that understanding going in, frankly," Levin said.
Indeed. Asked a basic question about Augmentation/Plus Up, the incoming leader of all U.S. military forces in the Middle East says he's been too busy on the "Pacific Front" to get up to speed on the pesky details. Is it too early to say he's either a dissembler or unfit for the job? I don't see a third option.

16 Comments:

Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

When did the WH tell Fallon about his new job? Shouldn't he at least have a clue about Iraq now? Or he is just another toady who will do whatever Smirk wants?

1/30/2007 9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He does not need to read about Iraq. He is there for the War on Iran.

1/30/2007 10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I keep hoping Fallon was chosen for his decorous silence skills, that he's just the latest four-star courtier. I really don't buy the notion floating around, that his background as a naval aviator in itself is especially convincing evidence that Operation 1979 Revenge is on.

Still, compliance isn't a skill that I'd like to see in a guy in his position, and this "Golly, I haven't had time to read up on the new job" schtick isn't what I'd call a hopeful sign. Gotta say, though, that whatever Fallon's background and character mean, it's truly vital that the Congressional Dems get ahead of events, and ram through an explicit and binding measure that ANY Iranian adventures require nothing less than a formal declaration of war. It might be that the only thing standing between us and a civilization-changing disaster is some field grade officer's interpretation of the Constitution and the separation of powers.
-- sglover

1/30/2007 11:00 PM  
Blogger Rueful said...

Is it too early to say he's either a dissembler or unfit for the job? I don't see a third option.

Well, a possible third option is that the surge plans are not yet ready. The DoD is still cutting and pasting from some old Rumsfeld PowerPoint presentations. Fallon fell on his anchor (or whatever naval guys do) to spare Bush embarrassment. But that would just bring us back to your first option.

1/31/2007 1:41 AM  
Blogger wendyo said...

"fell on his anchor"

hahahahaha!

1/31/2007 9:39 AM  
Anonymous Thomas Daulton said...

I might have said, TCR, that you were not giving Fallon the benefit of the doubt... were it not for the last, oh, 600 or 700 Bush appointees who turned out (after perfectly civilized and reasonable confirmation hearings) to be dissemblers and/or unfit for the job. Y'know, around 200 or 300 toadies into the term, I was still hopeful that somebody competent might accidentally sneak in there, but by now it's too late.

(I think we're working on an entirely new timescale here: A "Friedman" is a period of six months, while a "toady" is a time scale much more useful for everyday calendars, roughly equivalent to three days.)

1/31/2007 12:00 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Why should he worry about that plan? He's there for the carrier strikes on Iran.

1/31/2007 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What sglover said. An immediate review and amendment of the War Powers Act is clearly in order.

1/31/2007 5:43 PM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

A Friedman...that is hilarious. I can't read anything Friedman writes without my brain turning to mush.

2/01/2007 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a follow-up to my own comment, here's a stomach-turning tidbit from U.S. News, which Dan Froomkin's WaPo column brought to my attention (emphasis added):

The US News Political Bulletin has learned Democrats on Capitol Hill are increasingly concerned that President Bush will order air strikes against targets in Iran in the next few months or even weeks. They cite as evidence the tough warnings from senior Administration officials, including the Commander in Chief, that Iranian help for insurgents in Iraq is leading to the deaths of US troops and Iraqi civilians. Democratic insiders tell the Political Bulletin that they suspect Bush will order the bombing of Iranian supply routes, camps, training facilities, and other sites that Administration officials say contribute to American losses in Iraq. Under this scenario, Bush would not invade Iran with ground forces or zero in on Iranian nuclear facilities. But under the limited-bombing scenario, Bush could ask for a congressional vote of support, Democratic insiders predict, which many Democrats would feel obliged to endorse or risk looking like they weren't supportive of the troops. Bombing Iran would also take attention away from the troubled situation in Iraq and cause a rally-round-the-president reaction among Americans, at least for a while. But Democrats add that an attack on Iran would probably be condemned around the world and would precipitate an Iranian response that could dramatically worsen Mideast turmoil and have unforeseen consequences that could be extremely damaging to the United States.

This is precisely the scenario that the Dems need to get ahead of. So if ever there was a time to phone, write, cajole and harass your Congresscreature, this is really it. Doing the right thing isn't an instinct with them -- they need to be pushed. And if you've got neighbors who are nervous about how all this is unfolding, it might be a good idea to dragoon them into exerting some pressure, too.
-- sglover

2/01/2007 5:10 PM  
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