Friday, January 5, 2007

Of All The Admirals With Expertise In Land Warfare, We Get You?

[Updated below]

The so-called president has been meddling in military affairs again, this time putting General John Abizaid to pasture and installing Admiral William Fallon as head of US Central Command (CENTCOM).

As the BBC notes, this will put an admiral in charge of two land wars.

How long do you figure it's been since the last time the so-called president did something this stupid? Fifteen minutes? Twenty?

Not that Admiral Fallon's resume is a light one. Far from it. Excerpts from his biography at Wikipedia:
Adm. Fallon began his Naval Aviation service flying in the RA-5C Vigilante with a combat deployment to Vietnam, transitioning to the A-6 Intruder in 1974. He served in flying assignments with Attack Squadrons and Carrier Air Wings for twenty-four years, deploying to the Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans embarked in USS Saratoga, USS Ranger, USS Nimitz, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and USS Theodore Roosevelt. He has logged more than 1,300 carrier arrested landings and 4,800 flight hours in tactical jet aircraft.

Adm. Fallon commanded Attack Squadron Sixty Five embarked in USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, Medium Attack Wing One at NAS Oceana, Va., and Carrier Air Wing Eight in USS Theodore Roosevelt during a combat deployment to the Persian Gulf for Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Assigned as Commander, Carrier Group Eight in 1995, he deployed to the Mediterranean as Commander, Theodore Roosevelt Battle Group and commanded Battle Force Sixth Fleet (CTF 60) during NATO’s combat Operation Deliberate Force in Bosnia. Adm. Fallon served as Commander, Second Fleet and Commander, Striking Fleet Atlantic from November 1997 to September 2000.

Shore duties included assignment as Aide and Flag Lieutenant to the Commander, Fleet Air Jacksonville, and to the staffs of Commander, Reconnaissance Attack Wing One; Commander, Operational Test Force, and Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. He has served as Deputy Director for Operations, Joint Task Force, Southwest Asia in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and as Deputy Director, Aviation Plans and Requirements on the Staff of the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington, D.C. His first flag officer assignment was with NATO as Assistant Chief of Staff, Plans and Policy for Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic. He was then assigned as Deputy and Chief of Staff, U.S. Atlantic Fleet followed by assignment as Deputy Commander in Chief and Chief of Staff, U.S. Atlantic Command. Adm. Fallon served as the 31st Vice Chief of Naval Operations from October 2000 to August 2003. He was the Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command and U.S. Atlantic Fleet from October 2003 to February 2005.
It would have been reassuring to see something -- anything -- about urban or desert warfare, or even harts and mines. But instead we'll have to rely on his international relations. He's a master:
Adm. Fallon is a graduate of the Naval War College, Newport, R.I., the National War College in Washington, D.C., and has a Master of Arts Degree in International Studies from Old Dominion University.
UPDATE: Jeff Huber has written a much more penetrating analysis, which you can read in its entirety at Larisa Alexandrovna's At-Largely, but here's the crux of the matter:
It seems highly unusual for a navy admiral to take charge of CENTCOM until you consider two interrelated things. First is that Bush needs a senior four-star in the CENTCOM job who hasn't gone on record as opposing additional troops in Iraq. Second is that Fallon's CENTCOM area of responsibility will include Iran.

A conflict with Iran would be a naval and air operation. Fallon is a naval flight officer. He flew combat missions in Vietnam, commanded an A-6 Intruder squadron, a carrier air wing and an aircraft carrier. As a three-star, he commanded Second Fleet and Strike Force Atlantic. He presently heads U.S. Pacific Command. His resume also includes duty in numerous joint and Navy staff billets, including Deputy Director for Operations with Joint Task Force Southwest Asia in Riyahd, Saudi Arabia.

If anybody knows how to run a maritime and air operation against Iran, it's "Fox" Fallon.
... and so on ...
What's even more frightening is that the escalation strategy--that includes more troops in Iraq, an expansion of the military and use of armed force against Iran--comes from the core neoconservative cabal headed by Bill Kristol and supported by Dick Cheney that got us into our Middle East miasma in the first place.

And Admiral William "Fox" Fallon, about to become the top military commander in the Middle East, has been rubbing shoulders and socks with the neocons for a good long time.