Wednesday, April 11, 2007

War Czar?

Great, the White House is now considering appointing a War Czar to oversee the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, but can't find anyone who will take the job. The Washington Post reports
The White House wants to appoint a high-powered czar to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with authority to issue directions to the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies, but it has had trouble finding anyone able and willing to take the job, according to people close to the situation.
The idea of someone overseeing the wars has been promoted to the White House by several outside advisers. "It would be definitely a good idea," said Frederick W. Kagan, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. "Hope they do it, and hope they do it soon. And I hope they pick the right guy. It's a real problem that we don't have a single individual back here who is really capable of coordinating the effort."

Which, of course open up the obvious comments along the lines of "Don't we already have such a person, gets elected every four year, has title Commander-in-Chief?" But then one does have to see the point in saying that "The White House doesn't have a single individual who is really capable of coordinating the effort." So they do have a point.

But I find the issue even more pathetic than the above suggests. Because if you read the article there are a few more points, that ley you know why they can't find an outsider to take the position. For example there is this
The very fundamental issue is, they don't know where the hell they're going," said retired Marine Gen. John J. "Jack" Sheehan, a former top NATO commander who was among those rejecting the job. Sheehan said he believes that Vice President Cheney and his hawkish allies remain more powerful within the administration than pragmatists looking for a way out of Iraq.
and this
In the course of the discussions, Sheehan said, he called around to get a better feel for the administration landscape.

"There's the residue of the Cheney view -- 'We're going to win, al-Qaeda's there' -- that justifies anything we did," he said. "And then there's the pragmatist view -- how the hell do we get out of Dodge and survive? Unfortunately, the people with the former view are still in the positions of most influence." Sheehan said he wrote a note March 27 declining interest.
It seems pretty clear from these comments, and this administration's history, that no one put into this position will have the authority to make actual, substantive decisions. It will continue to be "stay the course" and run things as the President (or Vice President) wishes. In short this is not a position to coordinate the military and civilian operations of these conflicts, but rather a position to take the blame for the President's failure to coordinate the military and civilian operations of these conflicts.

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