Monday, April 16, 2007

General Won't Serve as Czar

Everyone should read this: a retired Marine Corps general's explanation of why he won't serve as the "White House implementation manager," or War Czar, for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Basically, he refused to take the job because he determined that the Administration has no strategy for winning the war.

I assume Marine Corps generals are not a bunch of bleeding-heart liberals eager to bash the administration. So when one of them says that "that there is no agreed-upon strategic view of the Iraq problem or the region," that "We cannot 'shorthand' this issue with concepts such as the 'democratization of the region' or the constant refrain by a small but powerful group that we are going to 'win,' even as 'victory' is not defined or is frequently redefined," and that "We got it right during the early days of Afghanistan -- and then lost focus. We have never gotten it right in Iraq," it's important to listen.

I have no idea what the solution is in Iraq. Even if one believes that starting the war was an enormous mistake, we can't wave a wand and make it unhappen. Planning for the future has to start with a recognition of where we are now. We may need to accept some sacrifices to marshal the resources that would be needed to succeed. But we're never going to succeed with a strategy that amounts to tinkering at the margins with what we've been doing unsuccessfully for four years in the hope that we can somehow muddle through. The President says that Iraq is the central front in the war on terror -- the most important fight in the world. If he's serious, then it's up to him to make sure we win. When even the generals basically say that he's just muddling through, we have a right to be angry.

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