Israel is one of the strongest countries in the Middle East and needs to stop giving in to a "fear factor" with regard to the prospect of a nuclear Iran, Adm. (ret.) William Fallon, the former commander of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. In Israel for a regional security conference at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv, Fallon told the Post that he could not understand why Iran would even contemplate using nuclear weapons against Israel unless the country wanted to be destroyed. "Do they wish to go away?" he asked, insinuating that a nuclear attack on Israel would elicit a devastating response. "They are not nearly as strong as their rhetoric indicates," Fallon said of Iran. "They are not particularly strong militarily outside their own internal entity, and they have huge economic issues and political instability. Their nuclear capability might give them something to feel consolation in." Fallon abruptly stepped down from the command of CENTCOM in March after Esquire magazine portrayed him as being opposed to President George W. Bush's Iran policy, describing him as a lone voice against military action aimed at halting the Iranian nuclear program. Today, he is a fellow at the MIT Center for International Studies. Israel, Fallon said, needed to come up with a strategic plan with regard to Iran and other threats. The military was just one tool among many that countries had at their disposal when dealing with a challenge, he said. "The first order is to get our house in order, for sure in the US, and it seems here as well," he said. "This has to do with tasking. If the readiness is good, then you can be tasked. Therefore, you need to have your house in order and then you can take on other challenges." He said the war Israel fought against Hizbullah in 2006 was an example of operating without a plan. "Where was the plan in Lebanon?" he asked. "I didn't see one." He also dismissed Iran's calls to destroy Israel as nothing more than rhetoric. "The Iranians say there is no place for the US in the Gulf and we are here. We are not leaving and Israel is not going away. This is rhetoric and this goes on all the time," he said.