"This constant drum beat of conflict is what strikes me which is not helpful and not useful," Adm. William Fallon said in an interview with Al-Jazeera television, which made a partial transcript available Sunday.
"I expect that there will be no war and that is what we ought to be working for," said Fallon during the Friday interview at Al-Jazeera's headquarters in Qatar. "We should find ways through which we can bring countries to work together for the benefit of all .... It is not a good idea to be in a state of war. We ought to try and to do our utmost to create different conditions."
Fallon's more diplomatic tone seems consistent with reports over the years that the military leadership opposes a military confrontation with Iran. In fact, earlier this year General Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said there was "zero" chance that there would be a war with Iran. The statement is also consistent with earlier reports that Fallon opposes military action. As Inter Press Service's (IPS) Gareth Porter reported back in May:
"Admiral William Fallon, then [February '07] President George W. Bush’s nominee to head the Central Command (CENTCOM), expressed strong opposition in February to an administration plan to increase the number of carrier strike groups in the Persian Gulf from two to three and vowed privately there would be no war against Iran as long as he was chief of CENTCOM."
Fallon's presence at CENTCOM could be a sign that rumors of a war with Iran may just be an attempt to compel countries like Russian and China to go along with another round of economic sanctions against Iran. It could also signal that Vice President Cheney's influence is on the decline, and that President Bush may instead be listening to Admiral Fallon and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.