Tuesday, May 15, 2007

We Have a War Czar

Well a nominee at least. And I was so skeptical that they White House would be able to find someone for the job. Of course, they weren't able to find anyone very high profile

Lute is a widely respected officer, but is by no means a high-profile player in Washington. Before assuming his position at the Pentagon, he was the director of operations for Central Command while Gen. John Abizaid was the commander.
But for the oversight of the Afghan and Iraqi wars do we really need to worry about getting the best that the Pentagon has to offer?
Filling the position had become a priority for the White House, after a handful of retired generals told the White House they did not want the job. Among them, retired Marine Corps four-star Gen. Jack Sheehan, who proved an embarrassment to the White House after he wrote an op-ed piece in the Washington Post saying there were "huge shortcomings" in the White House view of the strategy in Iraq.
Now of course, he will still need to confirmed by the Senate, so that will be a hurdle. Those Senate Democrats might try and insist that the person in charge of running the war perhaps ought to be the commander-in-chief, but George could still get his man. Then he will be set with someone official to blame for the failures in Iraq and Afghanistan.

To be a bit less flippant, it will be interesting to see if Gen. Lute will have any authority to shape our military policy in Iraq at all. I'm betting that the answer is no. This war czar position is created to provide cover for George Bush and Dick Cheney, they can now point to this guy to blame. Also, the appointment and confirmation process will help drag out for a few more months discussions of bring the war to an end. Well, the White House will try to use it this way. The new Czar won't get to Iraq with his new title until August or September. Yet the White House and Congressional Republicans will be insisting that we give this new Czar six months to can produce success.

I should point out that the White House's political strategy runs directly counter to sound military strategy. The political strategy is to keep dragging out the process. A small build up and new offensive last year before the elections, then a surge early this year, then a bit more surge, then a war Czar and a bit more time. Each step is designed to keep the ball in the air for a bit more time. The thing is that the basics of military strategy are to assemble your maximum forces and one point in time and one place and strike with all your strength at once. Attacking piecemeal is much, much less effective that attacking in force. Yet to try and satisfy the Bush/Rove political calculations, we are following the worst of possible military strategies.



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