Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Head of Centcom Resigns

FOXNews - Admiral William Fallon, the head of U.S. Central Command, which leads U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, is stepping down, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Tuesday.

Fallon claimed ongoing misperceptions about differences between his ideas and U.S. policy are making it too difficult for him to operate, Gates said, agreeing. He added that the differences are not extreme, but the misperception had become too great.

"I don't know whether he was misinterpreted or whether people attributed views to him that were not his views, but clearly there was a concern," Gates said.

The misperceptions relate to an article published last week in Esquire magazine that portrayed Fallon as opposed to President Bush's Iran policy. It described Fallon as a lone voice against taking military action to stop the Iranian nuclear program.

"I think this is a cumulative kind of thing," Gates countered. "It isn't the result of any one article or any one issue."

Fallon has had a 41-year Navy career. He took the Central Command post on March 16, 2007, succeeding Army Gen. John Abizaid, who retired. Fallon previously served as commander of U.S. Pacific Command.

It was often reported that he and Gen. David Petraeus butt heads about troop levels in Iraq, which the two denied, but was an ongoing dispute that simmered below the surface within the Pentagon. Fallon is responsible for not only Iraq and Afghanistan. The article noted that the troop numbers were so taxed in Iraq that it was hurting operations in Afghanistan.

Centcom's second-in-command Gen. Martin Dempsey will now take over Fallon's post.