Passing the Buck, and Hurting the War Effort

30 Apr

You have to look carefully in the newspapers to see it.  An enigmatic
title that evokes memories of the "Drug Czar" position from
administrations past.  The new phrase is "War Czar," and the first I
saw it, the news stories were saying that the Bush Administration was
having trouble finding anyone who would take the job.

So, what
is a "War Czar" to do, if one is ever found?  As envisioned by Stephen
Hadley, the National Security Adviser, the person who takes this job
will be responsible for briefing the president every day regarding the
ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  This person would also have the
authority to tell the various members of the president’s Cabinet what
to do. 

The problem is, no one seems to want the job.  At
least three retired 4-star generals have turned down the offer of a job
managing the wars.  Comments have been made that Hadley, the National
Security Director, is farming out an important part of his job,
possibly to pass any failures of policy off to the new person.  Maybe.
Other comments criticize the president for farming out HIS job.
Maybe.  As I see it, the biggest failure (among the individuals
involved), is that of the retired military officers who turned the job

Retired or not, they made a career of serving their
nation, and now, when their Commander-in-Chief calls on them to help
direct the wars against our enemies, the wars in which our servicemen
and women are dying almost daily, the wars which, if we fail, could
expand into more dangerous regional conflicts, they just said "no
I think those generals have turned their backs on their
country.  It is true that the president has not done a good job of
inducing a sense of national sacrifice or ownership of the wars, as FDR
did in World War Two, but these generals should know better. 

they cannot stand up and show the nation what is needed to win these
wars, (because the president sure can’t do that), then who will?  Would
Patton, or Eisenhower, or Marshall, or Bradley, or MacArthur turn down
a similar request from their president?  Hell no!


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