White House Denies Quashing Military Dissent

March 13th, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: White House Denies Quashing Military Dissent

March 12, 2008
The Situation Room (CNN), 5:00 PM
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The abrupt resignation of the head of the U.S. military forces in the Middle East is prompting some serious criticism that the Bush administration simply won't tolerate dissent.
Let's go to our senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre. He's watching this story and the fallout. What is the latest over Admiral Fallon, Jamie?
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: That's really the question is will Admiral Fallon's less than voluntary retirement have a chilling effect on other military officers who might not agree with the president? The White House says it shouldn't.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MCINTYRE: Even as Pentagon sources say Admiral Fox Fallon was encouraged to step aside for appearing out of step with President Bush, the White House denied it was quashing dissent from its senior military commanders.
DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: President Bush has always fostered an environment of robust and healthy debate. He's had many people provide independent thoughts that may have dissented from his own views.
MCINTYRE: In fact, Admiral Fallon is far from the only senior adviser who counseled has war with Iran now would be folly. Count among reluctant warriors, Joint Chief's Chairman, Admiral Mike Mullen and their civilian boss, Defense Secretary Robert Gates. But Fallon's problem is he seemed to go one step too far, at times appearing to rule out the military option all together.
In his last television interview before his fall from grace, Fallon told CNN's Barbara Starr he would support the use of force against Iran if diplomacy failed but sounded less than enthusiastic.
ADM. WILLIAM FALLON: U.S. policy will be what it is, the president will decide the hour of the day what he wants to do based on the advice he receives from chain of command.
MCINTYRE: Bush administration critics like former Pentagon Official Lawrence Korb, worried that the best military advice is being ignored.
LAWRENCE KORB, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: President Bush keeps saying I listen to my generals. What he's saying is I only listen to the generals that agree with me.
MCINTYRE: The White House says while private criticism is welcome, public dissent is not.
PERINO: When it comes to foreign policy, it's critical that an administration speak with one voice. If there's a perception that they are not speaking with one voice - (END VIDEOTAPE)
MCINTYRE: And Wolf, Admiral Fallon's departure is more than just about Iran. He's also sending President Bush advice about the speed of withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq which may be different from the advice of General David Petraeus, the ground commander.
The question is, will Admiral Fallon's views carry any weight after he's gone -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jamie, thanks very much.

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