Insiders say if you want to know why Adm. William "Fox" Fallon was eased out as the top brass in the Middle East, look toward Iraq, not Iran. Much analysis of his hasty retirement centered on his comments in Esquire opposing war with Iran. But the real issue that rankled the White House was Fallon's opposition to Iraq policy and the surge of 30,000 U.S. troops. An insider tells Whispers that Fallon felt the surge would fail because of a lack of political progress in Baghdad. And he demanded that the staff of Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq, produce reams of analysis and troop reduction options to push for a faster troop withdrawal plan. The irony is that by March, Fallon was starting to come around to Petraeus's position as the surge worked. But then the Esquire article appeared detailing his older positions as new, and his fate was sealed.