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Mr. Bush finally finds his military "Czar".

In mid-April, National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley announced the Bush administration's intention to appoint a high-level military official who would take over the management of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Hadley offered the post to retired Marine Corps General John J. "Jack" Sheehan. With no hesitation, the former NATO commander turned it down. About his refusal, he commented, "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.'"

The post, widely dubbed "War Czar," is designed to grant authority to an official who could issue orders to the Pentagon, the State Department, and other government agencies. The stated goal is to achieve better direction of the war efforts. But isn't this job supposed to be the responsibility of the president of the United States? Doesn't the Constitution designate him as "the commander in chief" of the military? Is it possible that this new position has been created as a way to shift blame for a failing White House policy to someone else?

Perhaps General Sheehan figured this out and decided against being the administration's patsy. Two other retired generals, Jack Keane of the Army and Joseph Ralston of the Air Force, may have reached the same conclusion before they subsequently declined Hadley's offer. Military personnel don't acquire a general's stars by being stupid.

Hadley said of the post he was trying to fill, "It's something I would like to have done yesterday, and if yesterday wasn't available, the day before." After racking up three refusals in three tries, he even declared a willingness to give the post to a civilian. As he was wondering where he and Mr. Bush would find someone to take the post, the senior White House official responsible for the two wars, Hadley's deputy Meghan O' Sullivan, announced her intention to vacate her post.

All of this occurred in mid-April. On May 15, however, the White House announced that the search was over. Lieutenant General Douglas E. Lute, the Pentagon's top operations officer, accepted the job after meeting with the president the day before. Mr. Bush said the appointee who will report directly to him daily is "a tremendously accomplished military leader who understands war and government and knows how to get things done." He added that General Lute had already "played an integral role in implementing combat operation plans in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Opponents of the two wars were quick to point out that General Lute had publicly criticized the Iraq effort. A group calling itself Americans Against Escalation in Iraq pointed to comments by Lute that appeared in the Financial Times during August 2005. In an interview with the newspaper's officials, Lute stated: "You simply have to back off and let the Iraqis step forward. You have to undercut the perception of occupation in Iraq." That assessment made sense then, and it is at least as sensible today.

When announcing Mr. Bush's choice, Hadley told reporters that the general made sure his past doubts were known by the president. But Lute said he was now pleased with the conduct of operations in Iraq because of the creation of the new "surge" strategy. Hadley added that Lute helped to develop the plan, which has increased troop levels in Iraq by 20,000. According to the national security adviser, the general's questions about the new strategy's worthiness had been satisfactorily answered. Hadley stated, "We needed to get the right concept, the right man or woman, and we have."

A very curious element related to the Lute appointment is that his wife, Jane Holl Lute, serves as an assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping operations at the United Nations. She is also--along with Hadley, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Rice, and hundreds more government officials--a member of the globalist Council on Foreign Relations. Always a champion of the UN, the CFR can be counted on to place the interests of the world body and its desire for global governance above any support for the interests of an independent United States.

The affiliations of a man's wife don't necessarily influence the decisions he makes in his own professional career. But, inasmuch as the entire Iraq operation has from its outset derived authorization, not from the U.S. Congress using its constitutional authority to declare war, but from UN Security Council resolutions, the close relationship of the general to a senior UN official can't be ignored.

All Americans, especially the families of those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, hope that General Lute can bring an honorable and successful closure to these wars. His performance in this assignment, however, should be closely monitored.
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Title Annotation:THE LAST WORD
Author:McManus, John F.
Publication:The New American
Date:Jun 11, 2007
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