By now, we know that the George Bush administration doesn't have a great understanding of, nor respect for, the Constitution of the United States. However, given his penchant for war, the last part of the Constitution I would expect him to ignore was his role as Commander in Chief. Yet, that's what he's done.
If you've followed the story, then you know that Bush reached out to no less than FIVE four-star Generals to fill this newly created role. All promptly turned him down. So, he's finally found a three-star General by the name of Douglas Lute to take on the moniker of "War Czar" and move into the West Wing. His job? To handle the day to day details of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Is it me or don't we already have a Commander in Chief, Secretary of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Security Council, National Security Adviser, and a cadre of military commanders that should have been doing this for the past four years? There are many problems with this.
The president of the United States is our Commander in Chief. It is his duty to oversee the day to day operations of the military. Especially when he has made his so-called "Global War on Terror" the center-piece of his presidency. I've said it before: Bush can't walk and chew gum at the same time.
Here is Tony Snow's response to a question about this during today's press briefing at the White House:
Q Back on Lute. Why did it take so long, now into the fifth year of the war, to come up with somebody of his seniority and stature?
MR. SNOW: I don't know. I think what happened is, again, as you're taking a review, it became clear to us that this -- as you develop -- as you move into a new phase of the war -- keep in mind, we are still in the process of deploying people in this new way forward, as the President called it, and therefore, it seems proper at a time like this also to task somebody with the job of keeping an eye on all the different players who are involved in it.
What we do have is a different set of policies governing what's going on in Iraq. It is something that is government-wide in its scope, and therefore, it is appropriate to have somebody coming in, in a new position, in support of a new philosophy and a new way forward in Iraq, not only to monitor progress, but to do everything possible to assist those on the ground to help them succeed.
Q So you think this is a new need and you did not need someone to do this for the previous four years?
MR. SNOW: Well, again, I'm not going to try -- I don't know. I don't have an answer for you. I'm telling you that's what he's here to do now.
This is further evidence that the president and his advisers inadequately planned for this war. They were negligent and it has cost us nearly 3500 American lives and over 20,000 injured soldiers.
Lute will assume the official titles of Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser. However, his military rank is still that of a Lt. General while he is in a position to be directing four-star Generals, Cabinet Secretaries, and senior White House staff. Given that extensive and complicated protocols are well established that govern the uber craziness of the flow-chart that is the Military bureacracy, this appointment may only complicate things. From the same Washington Post article linked above:
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.
I can't believe this is coming out of the White House and that anyone would take it seriously. How many times have we heard Bush assert his authority? Now, he justifies giving away Constitutional authority as a means to cut through bureaucracy. If the president of the United States can't cut through his own bureaucracy, we can't expect a three-star General to do it.
This action and all of these reasons are further evidence that we need a change in course immediately. It is time for the Senate to adopt the legislation recently passed by the House of Representatives. It is also time for Republicans to get on board with holding this Administration accountable for its failure in Iraq. Failure to do so will only result in more deaths of our soldiers. Get with it!