Admiral Fallon's disputes with White House decision-making have not been limited to military and diplomatic policy regarding Iran. When the Bush Administration appointed General David Petraeus to head military operations in Iraq, his first meeting with Admiral Fallon in Baghdad turned ugly when Petraeus, having attempted to ingratiate himself to the CENTCOM head, received a sharp rebuke. Although, in the Esquire article, the Admiral denies this exchange transpired, sources familiar with the incident report that Fallon called Petraeus "an ass-kissing little chickenshit" and went on to add, "I hate people like that." The disconnect between Fallon's view of Petraeus and that of members of Congress was stark. When Petraeus testified on the Hill, congressional representatives fawned shamelessly over him; and the U.S. House of Representative went so far as to overwhelmingly pass a resolution condemning the anti-war group MoveOn.org for having mocked Petraeus' name in an advertisement opposing the Bush Administration's plan to send a "surge" of troops to Iraq, a plan Petraeus had been installed, at least in part, to promote.
A permanent replacement for Admiral Fallon has not been named, but it seems certain that the choice will be governed not by the need for top-notch command-level leadership, but instead by the ideologically driven imperative of White House officials to empower only those who are certain not to deviate in words or actions from Bush Administration war-making policies, guided as they are by neo-conservatives like Vice President Dick Cheney who have never served in the armed forces. Concern is being expressed in some quarters that the resignation of Admiral Fallon has removed one significant remaining barrier to a pre-emptive attack on Iran that would not only solidify Bush's legacy as a war President, but also embroil his successor, whoever ends up being elected, in three simultaneous wars. Because such a scenario now looms considerably more feasible in the wake of Adm. Fallon's resignation, the candidates running for President might very well find their unwillingness to take war with Iran off the table a moot point.