US Admiral in Charge of Mideast Quits

Move comes after article depicts him defying Bush on Iran
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2008 3:50 PM CDT
President Bush shakes hands with head of the U.S. Central command, Navy Admiral William J. Fallon before a speech to coalition forces during a visit to the U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The top US military commander for the Middle East resigned today after the publication of a magazine profile that portrayed him as a vocal opponent of the Bush administration's Iran strategy, the AP reports. Adm. William Fallon, head of US Central Command, denied any rift and said he stepped down only because recent press reports created a "distraction at a critical time," ABC News reports.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Fallon quit of his own accord and called suggestions his departure signals a Mideast policy shift "ridiculous." "It isn't the result of any one article or any one issue," he said. The Esquire article said Fallon was “brazenly challenging his commander in chief” and described him as being a lone voice in the administration arguing against the use of military force on Tehran, NBC reports.