Calls are growing on Admiral William Fallon and other senior military officers to make a public stand against the Bush administration’s alleged plans to attack Iran. Admiral Fallon’s resignation last week from his position as head of the US Central Command is seen as a blow for those seeking a diplomatic resolution to the current standoff with Iran. His resignation has drawn demands that he “come clean” as to his reasons for stepping down and expose the true extent of the Bush administration’s plans for military intervention.
Today the Westminster Committee on Iran claimed that Mr Fallon and other key military and political insiders had a “moral duty” to make public their private reservations and to make a stand against the push for attacks on Iran. This call comes in the wake of the British Commons foreign affairs committee report which, this month, warned that “military strikes against Iran are unlikely to succeed and could provoke a violent backlash across the region”. It is known that many senior military figures in both America and Britain, including some of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have serious reservations about US plans for military intervention against Iran. Mr Fallon reportedly made his opposition to a strike known to the White House early on in his tenure and is believed to have resigned due to pressure from within the Bush administration.
An open letter sent today to senior military and political officials states:
“It is no longer conscionable for these people to remain silent. Tendering a resignation may be an honorable thing to do on a personal level, but cannot absolve individuals from their personal responsibilities to blow the whistle on an action that they know to be misguided and illegitimate. An engineer who knows the design for a passenger aircraft is fatally flawed has a duty to make public his concerns. If he chooses to remain silent the resultant deaths will be on his conscience.
The five years since the invasion of Iraq have seen politicians and military officials queuing up to distance themselves from the strategy to attack Baghdad. Many claim that they had privately disagreed with the invasion all along. It is imperative that political and military experts who oppose attacks on Iran speak up now rather than coming out of the shadows only after another disastrous military adventure in the Middle East.
Writing in the Washington Times on 15th March the Chair of the Committee, said:
“As head of Central Command, Admiral Fallon controlled all ground, air, and naval military access to the region and could have made it very difficult for the Bush administration to carry out such a strike. His removal greatly increases the chances of pre-emptive military intervention against Iran. This issue is of such importance that it transcends allegiance to political party or administration. It is essential that parliamentarians, political analysts and military officials make clear their opposition to military intervention against Iran. If they fail to do so they will not be forgiven by their electorates nor by history.”
1) The Westminster Committee on Iran is not a campaigning organisation per se nor is it an official parliamentary body or All Party Parliamentary Group. Instead it aims to fill the space between these two types of bodies in order to increase dialogue, understanding and trust between parliamentarians in London, Tehran and the rest of the world.
2) On 25th January 2008, Anders B. Johnsson, General Secretary of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Geneva wrote a letter stating that “…the objectives of the Westminster Committee on Iran coincide with those of the IPU, which promotes dialogue to foster understanding and avoid conflict.”
3) The Commons foreign affairs committee is appointed by the House of Commons and made up to reflect the membership of the House as a whole. Its March report states:
“We remain of the view that such a military strike would be unlikely to succeed and could provoke an extremely violent backlash across the region…We recommend that the Government urges Washington to consider offering a credible security guarantee to Iran if the Iranian government in turn will offer an equally credible and verifiable guarantee that it will not enter into a nuclear weapons programme and improves its co-operation with the international community in other areas”.
The members of the Commons Committee were:
Mike Gapes (Chairman) MP, Rt Hon Sir Menzies Campbell QC MP, Mr Fabian Hamilton MP, Rt Hon David Heathcoat-Amory MP, Mr John Horam MP, Mr Eric Illsley MP, Mr Paul Keetch MP, Andrew Mackinlay MP, Mr Malcolm Moss MP, Sandra Osborne MP, Mr Greg Pope MP, Mr Ken Purchase MP, Rt Hon Sir John Stanley MP, Ms Gisela Stuart MP .
4) Washington Times — 15/3/08 http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080315/EDITORIAL/172100791/&template=nextpage
5) Visit the Westminster Committee on Iran’s discussion forum on http://westminstercommitteeiran.ning.com/
Westminster Committee on Iran