Yesterday we reported at some length on the departure Adm. William Fallon, commander of Centcom. Then yesterday afternoon a reporter colleague told me that the real issue with Fallon wasn’t Iran but something called “the pause.”
With ‘surges’ and ‘pauses’ and various other bits of jargon floating around, it’s a little hard to keep track. But essentially the ‘pause’ refers to how long we’re going to put off drawing down our forces in Iraq. Fallon wanted a short pause, this colleague told me, and Petraeus wanted a long or (I think more likely) an indefinite one. Now Fred Kaplan at Slate and David Ignatius in the Post bring reports confirming that this was indeed the key issue.
So, not about Iran but Iraq — and specifically whether we stay there indefinitely waiting on the El Dorado of political progress. Fallon wanted to start drawing down. His bosses disagreed. And now he’s gone.