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Rep. Waters Troubled by Resignation of Admiral Fallon

July 30, 2009
Press Release

Today, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced the early resignation of Admiral William J. Fallon, the commander of American Forces in the Middle East.  Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35) issued the following statement in response:

"I would like to first thank Admiral Fallon for his 41 years of service and commitment to our country.  Admiral Fallon, a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War and a former vice chief of naval operations, became the first four-star Navy Admiral named to Central Command when he was confirmed by the Senate last year.  It was said that Admiral Fallon's appointment to this position reflected the need for an experienced leader to oversee tensions with Iran and existing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"Unfortunately, Admiral Fallon has been at odds with the Bush Administration for his dissenting views on regional policy. It seems that Admiral Fallon's resignation was directly influenced by his advocacy for increased troop withdrawals from Iraq, diplomacy with Iran instead of military intervention, and for suggesting that the War in Iraq was distracting the U.S. from more important concerns.

"His retirement is yet another example of the Administration's inability to stomach expert opinion that differs from its own views.  Admiral Fallon's dissent seemed to have touched a nerve with the President's unwillingness to accept disagreement.  The fundamental flaw in the President's vision of the Middle East, which Admiral Fallon seems to have suggested, is his inability to recognize that there is no military solution to the problems of Iraq or Iran.

"The truth is that the President is more interested in protecting his own legacy than in a policy that actually addresses our national security interests.  After almost five years of occupation, nearly 4,000 Americans killed, and hundreds of billions of dollars spent, we know that it is time for this Administration to accept a new direction in Iraq.  Opening up a new front with a war against Iran is a dangerous proposition that must be avoided.  It is time to end the President's militaristic policies toward the Middle East and bring our troops home."