Thursday, March 20, 2008

Admiral Fallon Goes Down With His Ship

Ever since the invasion of Iraq, my opinion of US flag officers in all services is one of disgust; these officers, in the main, put their careers above their integrity. One exception was Army General Shenseki who told Congress that the battle plan for Iraq was seriously flawed; afterwards, his career was quickly ended. Admiral Fallon's recent abrupt resignation was a loss to America, but it restored hope that US military leadership still has elements that prefer integrity to career promotion and survival.

Top US Military leadership is mainly composed of graduates from the national military academy system. Patriotism is imbued into the graduates with a strong allegiance to a chain of command that emanates from the president as commander and chief. It is apparent that during their education process a normal synapse between judgment, duty and loyalty is severed. Otherwise, how can you explain the failure of this leadership corps to raise serious objections to the military fiasco in Iraq as it proceeded. Even an eighth-grade student playing battle checkers knew better. (Failure to prevent widespread looting and secure Saddam's ammo dumps – duh.)

This appalling failure of flag officer professionalism was compounded as many took lucrative work on retirement on the cable and network news shows as military experts. Their main task seemed to justify the military disasters. You do not see them on TV much anymore. The military experts who mainly survived this time are below flag rank and were less politicized.

These talking head generals and admirals were followed by another wave of more flag officers saying mea culpa for following stupid orders blindly. The publishing of two books on the Iraq war, COBRA TWO and FIASCO, no doubt prompted their epiphany. You can find some of them now bobbing their heads on stage with Hillary Clinton at campaign rallies. All blame Rumsfeld for their failures. While on active duty, they conducted themselves as Chihuahuas, but transformed themselves into Doberman Pinchers on retirement.

On March 11th of this year the USS Admiral Fallon hit a political reef and subsequently sank. The admiral went down with his ship. Fallon had consented to interviews in ESQUIRE MAGAZINE that were published on that date. The article was titled MAN BETWEEN WAR AND PEACE; it portrayed Fallon as a man who believed in political engagement as opposed to neocon saber rattling. The article was written by T.P.M. Barnett whose giddy, almost immature piece projected Fallon as the bulwark against more wars promoted by GW Bush's neocons. It further demonstrated that Fallon was a pragmatic, strategic thinker who had no time for the neocon political voodoo, and democratic messianism. This clash of ideology was enough for the White House to have SECDEF Gates fire Fallon. The admiral and his staff bear some responsibility for letting the story get away from them.

With his resignation, Fallon,apparently wanting to salute pro forma, claimed that there were no policy differences between him and the White house; this is nonsense. It is clear that Fallon wanted troop draw downs in Iraq soonest and to be circumspect on Iran; the admiral sat on the Administration's darling General Save US Petraeus who has been muzzled until a few days ago when he popped up in the news after Fallon no longer was his boss at CENTCOM.

Admiral Fallon is a special breed of flag officer seldom found today. He combines moral and physical courage, intellect with sense for action found only in high class leaders. His problem was that he was smarter than the loony tunes leadership in the White House; with the unintended help of the ESQUIRE article, he let GW Bush know it. See you in Valhalla, Admiral – DAMN THE TORPEDOES; FULL SPEED AHEAD. Thank you for your outstanding service. Hope there are more like you wandering around the Pentagon and unified commands. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret.

FYI: Admiral Fallon is a graduate of Villanova University and not a graduate of a service academy. This probably explains his different national sense of duty with the ability to think for himself. He has 1300 carrier-assisted landings and 4800 flight hours. Unlike Bomb Bomb McCain, he has not crashed three aircraft and was not shot down. Also, his father was not an Admiral.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is hard to believe ADM Fallon made it this far. The Navy likes to promote "head nodders", people who agree and do not think.

I think the failure in Iraq, would be a good reason to consider abolishing or restructuring the academies. Why waste all the money to learn, then loose another war, because the Academies train people to "go along and get along". Do not try and create waves or make improvement.

23:21  

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