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U.S. commander for Middle East resigns

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"This constant drumbeat of conflict ... is not helpful and not useful," Fallon was quoted as saying during an interview with Al Jazeera television last fall. "I expect that there will be no war, and that is what we ought to be working for. We ought to try to do our utmost to create different conditions."

The Esquire article reads, "What America needs, Fallon says, is a 'combination of strength and willingness to engage.' " The piece was written by Thomas P.M. Barnett, author of a widely read book a few years ago titled "The Pentagon's New Map."

The Washington Post quoted Fallon as saying that the Esquire article is "poison-pen stuff" and "really disrespectful and ugly."

Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced the commander's resignation in a last-minute press conference in the Pentagon Tuesday afternoon. Secretary Gates said the resignation was not the result of any one article, but he did cite the perception that recent reports left.

"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.

Fallon was thought to have disliked Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq. Although some believe the rift between them was exaggerated, most defense officials close to the men say it was clear that the two weren't close.

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