Martin Sieff has a very interesting essay about the recent nomination of Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute as the "war czar to oversee and coordinate the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan." Mr. Sieff notes,
For all his experience and impressive record, he is taking over a position as a relatively lowly three-star general who had already been turned down by at least four well-qualified four-star commanders. And he will be overseeing four-star rank commanders, like CENTCOM commander Adm. William Fallon and Iraq ground forces commander Gen. David Petraeus.Oh, I see success written all over this appointment.
Also, Gen. Lute will not be reporting to President George W. Bush directly but to national security adviser Stephen Hadley.
This arrangement looks likely to be filled with confusions and ambiguities.
First, wars involving the United States have always been run by the War Department, and then, since 1947, through the integrated Department of Defense. The National Security Council and its chief have never had responsibility for running or even overseeing any war directly in the 60 years since the NSC and the position of national security adviser were created.