After Many Refusals, Bush Finally Gets A "War Czar"
May 16 (EIRNS)--On May 15, the White House announced that it had selected Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to be the so-called "war czar," a position turned down by at least five retired four-star officers to whom it was offered. Officially, Lute is going to be assistant to the President and deputy to National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, and will brief the President every morning on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
According to several retired military officers who spoke to EIR, the selection of Lute is "quite likely" something encouraged by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to have somebody who is not an enthusiast for the Bush-Cheney surge in Iraq at the White House. One military critic of the Iraq "surge" told EIR that it is fairly "obvious" that the White House had "gone through" all the retired three-star and four-star generals, who refused the job, and also through all the "four-stars" who are still active.
The suggestion that Lute will be a voice reflecting the Joint Chiefs of Staff view tends to be corroborated by coverage in the Washington Post and the New York Times. The Post reports that Lute was a key internal voice of dissent on the troop increase in Iraq, and argued that an increase in forces would do little good without an equally large effort in the political and economic realms. Lute reportedly told the Financial Times in an interview in August of 2005, in which he was arguing for a reduction in U.S. troop levels, that, "You simply have to back off and let the Iraqis step forward. You have to undercut the perception of occupation in Iraq."
Before taking his present position, Lute spent two years as director of operations at U.S. Central Command, overseeing the two wars.
EIR has previously pointed out that the Joint Chiefs were adamantly opposed to the creation of the "war czar" post, as an infringement of their constitutional role, and would seriously damage and muddy the "chain of command." Under the National Security Act of 1947, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the sole principle military advisor to the President.