Thursday, April 12, 2007

A War Czar?

The Latest BIG IDEA in the progressing, incremental, self-impeachment of George W. Bush!

Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said the White House had sought advice from a number of people about the warlord job but insisted it had not been offered to anyone.
The White House is looking into creating a higher profile position that would have the single, full-time focus on implementing and executing the recently completed strategic reviews for both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Where did this BIG IDEA come from? It may have been a brain spurt from Frederick W. Kagan, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute:
It would be definitely a good idea. 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.
Deputy White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino, confirmed yesterday that George Bush was considering restructuring the administration to create a new post, dubbed the "War Czar" by US media. It would involve coordinating the work of the Defense, State and other departments at what she described as a critical stage in the wars we are currently waging.

Excuse me? Isn't this the job of the National Security Council? What does Stephen Hadley do that keeps him too busy to manage the war$ of George W. Bush?

What does this mean? A "War Czar"? We've had our energy, our drug, and our intelligence czars so we shouldn't suspect that we are undergoing "Russification" here. (Right!)

Modern usage of the term "czar" informally implies assignment of an expert who will be in charge of implementing policy in such a manner that it is insulated from the vagaries of media and political agitation. An alternative gimmick is to assign a commission to study a problem. But we've already had that. The Iraq Study Group has met, reported and published. And been ignored. So now Bush wants a Czar? Not that he admits it, but the war-starter needs help being a war-time president because it's "hard work".

We do know that three retired four-star generals approached by the White House in recent weeks have declined to be considered for the position: Marine Gen. John J. "Jack" Sheehan, Army Gen. Jack Keane, and Air Force Gen. Joseph W. Ralston.

Gen. Sheehan has disclosed his reasons for demurring: he believes that Vice President Cheney and his hawkish allies remain more powerful within the administration than the pragmatists looking for a way out of Iraq.
I've never agreed on the basis of the war, and I'm still skeptical. Not only did we not plan properly for the war, we grossly underestimated the effect of sanctions and Saddam Hussein on the Iraqi people.

The very fundamental issue is, they don't know where the hell they're going. So rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, 'No, thanks,'
Their negative response should be enough to give the lie to Bush's optimism about his surge turning the tide in Iraq: the lame duck president's war & occupation project is itself a lame duck. The Generals know it, the people know it. Only Congress appears to be confused.

This is Bush's attempt to put his ruinous, un-provoked, unnecessary, illegal, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (RUUILUIUOI) on cruise control, automatic pilot, insulated from politics. This war he started is too much for him, now that he has lost his best-of-all-time lightning rod, Don Rumsfeld. (Rummy's ego-centric direction of the RUUILUIUOI is what is credited by some as ruining the NSC system.) The Commander-In-Chief doesn't want this Iraq-nam in his face every morning when he gets up. Dick Cheney, the real "Decider", can't stand actual sunlight and prefers taking sanctuary in his "secure location".

So, who can we find to micro-manage this misbegotten war until Chickenhawk is relieved of his "hard work" burdens 648 days from now?

27 Moderated Comments:

Blogger Messenger said...

Jack Murtha, U.S.M.C., Ret.

4/12/2007 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

The only people off hand that I think would be the combination of crazy and stupid enough to take the bait on this one would be McCain or Lieberman. Chief assitant and butt kisser to the war czar could be South Carolina's own senator Graham.

4/12/2007 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/12/2007 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Stella said...

Well, beach bum won the toss on this one. McCain was demented and brainless enough to accept the position. I wonder if, like Shrub said in 1999, that McCain is crazy: or did he become crazy from the malevolence and prevarication that is this administration? I think none of us are completely exempt from the national disease.

4/12/2007 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger M.D. said...


Wait a minute! Where did that "R" come from?

This war czar thing is a new low.

Hell, they probably want to outsource every last bit of the occupation and let Halliburton/Blackwater operate the whole thing. If they could just figure out how to sell that idea to the American people...

4/12/2007 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

Stella, did you by chance read the David Brook's column about McCain and his slowly sinking campaign? I will not undercut his previous service and sacrifice to the country in Vietnam or his honest time in the senate whether I agree with his positions now or not but yes, his Ahab like obsession on Iraq has driven him off the deep end.
Wizard's comments from Vigil's last post have stayed with me because to some extent I think McCain's position, beyond the political, to some degree is the same. That if we leave the more than metaphorical gates of hell may open in the region drawing many more into it than just the chaos we are directly responsible for in Iraq. The conundrum that Bush has us in is that our forces aren't just at the breaking point, they are broke. With 20 of just 43 army brigades in Iraq and combat tours now pushed up to 15 months we have nothing left and like any machine run for too long without maintenance it will fall apart. No matter McCain's desire, or anyone else's, to see this through and do the right thing its over and nothing can change that, we just don't have the people, will, or equipment to continue for much longer.

4/12/2007 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Ziem said...

What's the matter? No one wants to play scapegoat with gw anymore??

4/12/2007 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

I'll just say that I hope everyone will follow Stella's and M.D.'s links to appreciate SwiftSpeak's treatment of this latest example of Bushwhackery. They always are spot-on, with flair!

Everyone can see how natural it would be for McCain to become War Czar (Warlord?), because he's too old to be Prez, and his campaign is swirling down the basin faster than can say "Joshua fit the battle of the green zone." But the thing with McCant is that it's all about him, his ego, and wanting to be President. Otherwise, he would follow his cant, sacrifice himself and throw his shoulders behind Bush's wheels of war. Not going to happen: he's going to play wheel of fortune instead.

And now, I'll just add that I think the 'warlord' (let's just call it that instead of 'czar') post is a still-born concept: no one can fit in it because Rumsfeld invented and fashioned itself for him to fill. No one could or can do it as well as Rummy. (Certainly not McCain, who has to read his lines.) And no one wants his own career identified with this American atrocity, especially having to go out of his way to get it.

4/12/2007 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

How about a brain czar for political hacks. This site is loaded with those.
Don`t you people ever quit blaming, moralizing and preaching, and
actually try to figure out what is going on ?
The system is only acting out its nature. Cogs. Victims and their Tormentors.

4/12/2007 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger Messenger said...

Sievert, T’est nulle mais tu restes.

4/12/2007 11:03:00 PM  
Blogger Boris said...

Will all of you permit me to nominate Field Marshall Von Rumsfeld's ex-protege, Paul Wolfowitz for the position of Wehrmeister? Wolfie's bony ass may become available for re-assignment, having been caught promoting his girl friend to a lucrative position at the World Bank.

4/13/2007 02:42:00 AM  
Blogger HILLBLOGGER said...


Re Marine Gen. John J. "Jack" Sheehan, Army Gen. Jack Keane, and Air Force Gen. Joseph W. Ralston refusal to do Bush's Iraq thinggy.

Aside from the war's moral backbone or lack thereof, these generals have realized that the war IS LOST. They are not pillocks. End of story.

4/13/2007 03:46:00 AM  
Blogger DB Cooper said...

Isn't it true that in February 2005, President George W. Bush named Negroponte as the first Director of National Intelligence, (DNI)? Isn't it also true that this position was called the "Intelligence Czar", a cabinet-level position charged with coordinating the nation’s Intelligence Community? Isn't it also true that Negroponte lasted only two years in this no-wheres post, when he opted out to become Under Secretary of State under Condi Rice, where he could have some impact on policy?

4/13/2007 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Good one, Boris! Yeah, why wouldn't we expect Wolfowitz to return to the scene of his crime?

4/13/2007 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

The next question should be if old Wolfy will bring his girlfriend from the World Bank to be his Czarina?

4/13/2007 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Stella said...

Haven't read David Brook's column, beach bum, but I'll look around for it. Thanks for the suggestion.

Like you, I admire McCain's previous service in Viet Nam. You are right to remind us of McCain's past integrity. Sadly, this McCain is a changed, fallen man, which makes his increasing and overweaning fawning over Shrubshit even more disgraceful. I think there's an increasingly strong masochistic streak in McCain and we can all name the sadistic, psychopathic sadist-in-chief.

Your Ahab analogy is dead on. It's horrifying to see a person degenerate so. And, in thinking about that, how many more of our soldiers will come back from Iraq slowly losing their sanity from PTSD?

Wolfie. OMG, that's a nascient rant ready to explode...

4/13/2007 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger Mariamariacuchita said...

We should outsource our wars to the Phillippines...get other countries to fight our wars for us while we watch it on TV and eat transfat popcorn...wait, I am confusing reality with a book that was almost written by the late Kurt Vonnegut called Slaughterhouse Iraq.

4/13/2007 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger Messenger said...

More on Wolfowitz:

The question also arises as to why Bush nominated Wolfowitz to the World Bank. By some accounts, he hasn't accomplished much there that demonstrates any competence for his assignment. Much of what he has demonstrated is a proficiency in creating controversy. Could Bush's nomination be explained in terms of one more appointment made in the face of an utter lack of qualifications? Or was Bush trying just to get him out of the spotlight? To make him disappear?

4/13/2007 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger Boris said...

Stella, McCain is running behind Fred Thompson, who hasn't announced his candidacy yet, but has disclosed he has cancer.

4/14/2007 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger Messenger said...

Wolfowitz’s Apology: Don’t Hate Me Because I Helped Launch The Iraq War

4/14/2007 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger Boris said...

OK, OK, I rescind my nomination of Paullie. Obviously he won't do. Instead I second Beach Bum's nomination of MomentumJoeLieberman as War-Lord!

4/14/2007 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger DB Cooper said...

Messenger: Wolfowitz has apologized to the World Bank (sort of) but has he ever apologized for his part in the invasion of Iraq?

4/15/2007 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Indicted Plagiarist said...


You missed retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste, who commanded the Army's 1st Infantry Division in Iraq:

Standing up a war czar is just throwing in another layer of bureaucracy. Excuse me -- we have a chain of command already and it's time for our leaders to step up and take charge.

Peter Baker & Thomas Ricks (Washington Post)

4/15/2007 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger TomCat said...

Bush-speak Dictionary
War Czar = Someone ELSE to take the blame for failure

4/15/2007 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Indicted Plagiarist said...

According to a CBS poll released two days ago, American people would prefer a C.I.C. Pelosi to a AWOL Bush, 57% to 29%.

4/15/2007 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Retired Marine General John J. Sheehan today explains why he has turned down the job of "War Lord" in the Washington Post, Why I Declined To Serve. Below are his concluding paragraphs. I have added my boldfacing:

The day-to-day work of the White House implementation manager overseeing Iraq and Afghanistan would require a great deal of emotional and intellectual energy resolving critical resource issues in a bureaucracy that, to date, has not functioned well. Activities such as the current surge operations should fit into an overall strategic framework. There has to be linkage between short-term operations and strategic objectives that represent long-term U.S. and regional interests, such as assured access to energy resources and support for stable, Western-oriented countries. These interests will require a serious dialogue and partnership with countries that live in an increasingly dangerous neighborhood. We cannot "shorthand" this issue with concepts such as the "democratization of the region" or the constant refrain by a small but powerful group that we are going to "win," even as "victory" is not defined or is frequently redefined.

It would have been a great honor to serve this nation again. But after thoughtful discussions with people both in and outside of this administration, I concluded that the current Washington decision-making process lacks a linkage to a broader view of the region and how the parts fit together strategically. We got it right during the early days of Afghanistan -- and then lost focus. We have never gotten it right in Iraq. For these reasons, I asked not to be considered for this important White House position. These huge shortcomings are not going to be resolved by the assignment of an additional individual to the White House staff. They need to be addressed before an implementation manager is brought on board.

4/16/2007 07:35:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Beach may have a point about McCain taking the position of War Lord. He's burnt toast as far as a presidential candidacy is concerned: read The Fall of John McCain

4/23/2007 09:00:00 AM  

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