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Speculation persists about Admiral Fallon's departure from Pentagon

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The perception that Fallon's departure could be a precursor to a conflict with Iran was put forward in an article titled "The Man Between War and Peace" from the April issue of Esquire. The article, published before the admiral stepped down, described Fallon as "the good cop on Iran," the lone voice in the Bush administration opposing military force against Iran, and indicated Bush "may have had enough."

Well-placed observers now say that it will come as no surprise if Fallon is relieved of his command before his time is up next spring, maybe as early as this summer, in favor of a commander the White House considers to be more pliable. If that were to happen, it may well mean that the president and vice-president intend to take military action against Iran before the end of this year and don't want a commander standing in their way.

The article prompted a flurry of subsequent media reports, which Fallon cited as the reason for his retirement. Some reports speculated that the Esquire article might prophesy a possible escalation in Iran.

For example, US News and World Report blogger Terry Atlas offers "six developments that may have Iran as a common thread. And, if it comes to war, they may be seen as clues as to what was planned." In addition to Fallon's departure, Mr. Atlas also cites Vice President Dick Cheney's Middle East visit, the presence of US warships near Lebanon, and Israeli military action against Hizbullah and Syria in the past few years. Atlas notes however that all of the events he cites have possible explanations that are independent of Iran.

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