President Bush's appointment of Army Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute to serve as a new White House "war czar" overseeing the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan was all over the news media this week.
Yet in few if any places, did I find an explanation for just what a war czar does, and why it is deemed necessary. OK, there were the usual 'nut graphs' in the news stories - that being a boiled down explanation of the story - that said he is supposed to be a liaison between the military, the civilian bureaucrats and the White House, but still, just what is this person supposed to do?
The Washington Post reported that "Bush hopes an empowered aide working in the White House and answering directly to him will be able to cut through bureaucracy that has hindered efforts in Iraq.
Ah hah! I see! Well maybe. I wasn't aware that we had bureaucratic inefficiencies hindering our war efforts in Iraq. According to Congress, our military can't get the job done and lost the war long ago. From what I have seen in the international media the Iraqi government itself is none to excited about asserting its independence from America in any meaningful way, such as taking over its own security so our troops can come home, so how does that relate to the bureaucracy?
Yes, I'm being sarcastic, and No, I don't believe these pessimistic or simplistic explanations of the situation in Iraq or the War on Terror in general. But that is the impression you get from the international media combined with non-stop news conferences in Washington. So where did this impasse come from that suddenly requires a 'czar' to resolve?
The appointment has not been met with a whole bunch of support from the military community, nor, and maybe especially from the retired military community. Of special note is that the job was offered to several higher ranking officers first, before Lt. Gen. Lute accepted it.
The Post also reported, "The selection capped a difficult recruitment process for the White House, as its initial candidates rejected the job. At least five retired four-star generals approached by the White House or intermediaries refused to be considered. Lute, a three-star general now serving as chief operations officer on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in effect will jump over many superiors as he moves to the West Wing and assumes authority to deal directly with Cabinet secretaries and top commanders."
I received an email from a retired officer whose views I respect highly, noting that it will be difficult if not impossible for a three star general to tell a four-star general or for that matter five-star generals and admirals, what to do. He can always run to the president and complain that the bigger kids won't let him play in their games, but that won't go a long way toward resolving major issues either.
Another friend, who also is a retired officer, told me he has about a 30 percent understanding of what Lt. Gen. Lute is supposed to do, and how, and about 70 percent questions. This from a man who has a solid understanding of the military, Washington politics and the situation in Iraq.
If he has 70 percent questions about this appointment it doesn't bode well for understanding the issue by the general populace.
Again, from the Post "Until Bush decided this spring to create the position, the highest-ranking White House official working exclusively on Iraq and Afghanistan was a deputy national security adviser reporting to Hadley. Lute, by contrast, will have the rank of assistant to the president, just as Hadley does, and report directly to Bush, while also holding the title of deputy national security adviser.
The new war czar will consult with generals and diplomats in the field each morning, then join Hadley in briefing Bush and spend the rest of the day talking with officials ..."
Well, I sure hope all that planned talking accomplishes something.
The problem I have with all of this is fairly simple. In World War II we were fighting major enemies on two fronts. I am not ignoring the major differences in wars fought against discernible enemies with geographic boundaries, versus terrorists fighting a borderless ideological conflict, but there is a concept here that works regardless of what kind of war we are fighting.
But back then we had Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower in charge in Europe. Adm. Chester Nimitz was Commander of naval operations, and Gen. Douglas MacArthur was in charge of army forces in the Pacific. They were backed by some very reliable subordinates of course, but the fact is, they were the go-to guys. They had the authority and they also shouldered the responsibility when things didn't go right.
So, why, all these years later, considering all the war fighting we've done since, do we now need a man to act as a liaison between two much smaller war zones, and the Washington bureaucracy, and the President?
Some say that Lt. Gen. Lute is taking a mission that others don't want, because the mission itself is so poorly defined that there is no way to tell if it is being accomplished. If you listen to the non-stop press conferences out of Washington, you'd think that there has been zero advancement on the political, and economic fronts in Iraq, and that our troops are taking a horrendous beating.
I don't agree. There has been progress politically and economically, it just doesn't get reported. That's not to say the political situation in Iraq is resolved, far from it, but there has been progress.
On the military front our troops are hammering terrorists at a 10 to 1 rate. Nonetheless, most of the advancements in Iraq have been accomplished by the military, and many critics, skeptics and observers believe that the military has been forced into a job that the State Department should be doing, but either can't or won't.
I have a solution. It may sound simplistic, but hey, I have a reputation for cutting through the B.S. and getting to the heart of issues, show why should today be any different?
Since we are nearing completion of the buildup the media has called the 'surge' in Iraq, and the purpose of this offensive is to knock the terrorists and the warring factions in Iraq into next year, why not use this as a springboard to accomplishing all of our goals at once?
How do we do that? First, we unleash the full power of our military as it exists in Iraq, with no Rules of Engagement, and no hand-wringing over our international image or 'Moral Standing.' We are in Iraq, we are fighting a war, the people who disagree with us do so in many cases because we interrupted the flow of bribe money to their pockets, they aren't going to like us no matter what we do, so let's just ignore them for the sake of preserving our own country.
The military knocks the living crap out of the various factions that are fighting in Iraq, including the terrorists, and for once there is no one on the other side to synchronize bombings, assassinations and ambushes. In the meantime, we tell the Iraqi government in no uncertain terms that when the 'surge' is finished, we are too.
We stabilize, have a nice transfer of power ceremony, then pack our gear and head down the road to Iran, which we're going to have to do anyway. Simple? Maybe, but I bet it works.
Then the War Czar can be promoted, and say with honesty that he did the job he was asked to do, he did it successfully, and if Iraq later deteriorates into anarchy it sure as hell won't be his fault, or our fault, or the president's fault. It will be their fault, and they can deal with it.
Immigration Policy or Outright Fraud?
There is no need for this to be long or involved. The Senate passed a compromise immigration bill yesterday, and now senators from both parties are scrambling all over each other to convince the public that it isn't what we think it is - a sellout.
It is a sellout. It is nonsense. No one with half a brain is buying it, and people with full brains are labelling it as a total crock.
Plenty of commentators with far more time and space than I have are dissecting it on a line by line basis, so I won't do it here.
But the fact is, we have about 12 million people in this country illegally, without benefit of the usual controls that regulate immigration. We are told we need these people to do jobs that other Americans won't do. Nonsense.
When a poultry processing plant in the mid-west was raided this spring and a bunch of illegal workers were apprehended and deported, the line of legal workers applying for the suddenly vacant positions was huge! Maybe legal Americans know better than to work for slave wages, but that doesn't mean that the jobs go begging.
The jobs go begging if they don't have reasonable wages and working conditions attached to them.
I see two reasons why the Democrats and Republicans are joining forces on this. Since most of the illegal immigrants are Mexicans, and many of them are Roman Catholics, the Republicans believe they are getting a bunch of new allies in the anti-abortion fight.
On the other hand, since most will be working in lower level, unskilled jobs, the Democrats think they can sign them up in unions, which traditionally are pro-Democrat and lean heavily toward a socialist form of government. More voters for the Democrats in that scenario.
The reason why both parties are looking for a 'surge' in enrollments is because neither party is truly representing the majority of Americans any longer, if they ever did. The vast majority of eligible voters are non-affiliated, and many simply refuse to vote in national elections because they don't like either candidate from the major parties.
That is why most elections are so close, percentage wise, and why no American president in the last two decades has been approved by much more than one-quarter of eligible voters.
There may be elements of truth to each side's point of view, but the overall truth is that we have been invaded by a foreign army that is 12 million strong, and is attempting to dictate a new concept of America and liberty to the 300 million who got here by birth or following established immigration policy.
Both parties have copped out. Both parties have sold out. Neither party deserves respect or support on this issue.
All I can say is I sure hope Fred Thompson is watching this closely. If he wants to walk a red carpet right into the White House all he has to do is denounce this fraud for what it is, campaign against it and point out at every opportunity that the front-running candidates from both sides supported it.
Friday, May 18, 2007