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17 May 2007


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So, if the faithful did not get what they were looking for in Lute, what does that mean for the future of the war? Do you think having Lute will make ANY difference, or are the Bushies just going to have someone new to blame as things continue to crumble in Iraq? And if Lute doesn't do their bidding, will they just replace him with someone else who probably really doesn't want to be "Czar"?
Also of interest, Petraeus has come out and said that he doesn't expect to have anything definitive to say in Sept., although they will be "indicators" of how things are going on the political side. So, I guess we'll be just sitting in the same swamp we're in now, right, and the admin. will be saying we need another 6 months (another Friedman unit) before we can say whether the surge is working?


My first reaction was "Diffusion of Responsibility", in other words, the "Commander Guy" gets to blame his Czar.

Now I'm not so sure, but the thought of Bush intervening personally in operational matters is chilling.


"Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW), (Wehrmacht High Command, Armed Forces High Command in English), was part of the command structure of the armed forces of Nazi Germany during World War II.

OKW was formed on 4 February 1938 following the Blomberg-Fritsch Affair which led to the dismissal of Werner von Blomberg and the dissolution of the Reichswehrministerium (Reich Ministry of War). The new organization replaced the German War Ministry (Reichskriegsministrerium). The appointments made to the new organization and the motive behind the reorganization are commonly thought to be Führer Adolf Hitler's desire to consolidate control around his position to the detriment of the Wehrmacht High Command."


Just Luter"crious."


Col Lang,

Thank you for your site.

On the Czar...Will he be unofficially, a listening post for the Army about what Bush is doing in the WH?

Thank You


I thought the new position was created to put more space between the President and the two nasty land wars in Asia that appear to be sending his political party into total meltdown. He can just let the "War Czar" handle it, and he's free to watch more American Idol. Only 18 more months and he can wash his hands of this whole sorry mess. You know he's marking the days on his calendar.


As I understand it their stated goal was to have someone to coordinate administration policy amongst the various government agencies that have to carry it out. Which means they've chosen a man who disagrees with their policy to coordinate implementing that policy amongst the various branches of government. It's not quite like sending Bolton to the UN, but it seems close.

If his real job is to make it easier for Bush to personally intervene in day to day military operations... God help us all. One could say that compared to the Administration's other military luminaries such as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld Bush Jr. could hardly fail to shine. I'm somehow not encouraged by that.

Margaret Steinfels

Was LTG Lute under orders to take this job?


Who was the jerk who came up with naming the drug/education/war people czars? Unless they promote LTG Lute...how's he going to coordinate all those 4 stars.
This is truly another ignorant move by this increasingly inept administration.


In 1943 several German generals tried to induce Hitler to restore the office of Commander in Chief of the Army, to serve as a buffer between Hitler, as Commander Guy of the Armed Forces, and the Army. Hitler was trying to micromanage the Army as a part-time job. Both the Air Force and the Navy had CICs, and Hitler left them to do their jobs in peace. Hitler saw their efforts as an assault on his prestige and so the inept tragedy continued.


I am sorry, with the OKW reference I now cannot get this vision of Dubya out of my mind.

He is deep in a CENTCOM bunker bending across a map of Iraq, moving imaginary stop-loss extended battalions and quarter-strenght Iraqi ghost divisions. The generals surround him, nodding and flattering. When one has the temerity to question a judgement of the Decider, the President explodes into a froth-filled tirade about his destiny and the "wonder weapons" that will ensure the success of the "Petraus Offensive."


George Bush has never done anything in his entire life that involved:

a) personal responsibility

b) expertise

c) no political angle

This is about political machinations. It is an approach to the elections in 2008 to "compartmentalize" the war and put the Party one step farther away from it.

I shall paraphrase:

"Yes, the war is going poorly, but we really don't have much to do with that. Ask General Lute."

In sum, it is the Gonzales defense:

"Yes, we lost a dozen highly competent United States attorneys who were prosecuting high level criminals, but, you see, I had nothing to do with it. I had delegated that to my associate. I really don't know what he did."

And, please note, that in a minimalist way, the Gonzales defense in working.


I must have an improper understanding of the OKW. I thought we had an analogous organ in the JCS.

To continue the analogy regarding the Wehrmacht, it seems to me that if COL Lang is correct and Mr Bu$h desires to directly meddle in military strategy and operational planning, we might one day have the extremely bad fortune of experiencing Mr Bu$h's confident appraisal that Army Group Steiner will rectify the situation in Iraq.

The suggestion that LTG Lute is intended to carry the can, along with GEN Petraus, if there is a serious setback does have some value to it.


That a czar has been appointed speaks volumes about the timidity of the Joint Chiefs. The military is now a certified Junior Varsity team.


I add that they already appointed an Admiral to coordinate all military activities in Afghanistan and Iraq, I believe.

That was with a view toward bombing Iran.

This latest appointment almost undoubtedly constitutes an abandonment of the plan to bomb Iran. It's off the table.

So, in a sense, the military has had its way. They had no stomach for bombing Iran, and it is not going to happen.

Secondly, Iraq is now completely radioactive politically. George is looking as hard as he can to get as far away from it as he can as quickly as he can. He realizes that it tarnishes his Presidency more than the fraud, criminality, and corruption that have dogged it in other areas.

And please note the consistency of George's position:

I have always given the military everything they wanted. I have followed their directions to a "T". Everything that has happened in Iraq, has happened because the military told me to do it. This is their problem...oh, and my dog ate my homework."

FB Ali

I thought US military operations around the world were coordinated by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs. And policy was coordinated between the Pentagon and the State Dept by the National Security Adviser. Is this then a vote of no confidence in Pace and Hadley? Sidelining them instead of firing them, something Junior doesn't like to do?

John B

I realized along time ago that certain people think totally different than a regular personality. Accordingly, attempting to comprehend what the idiot prince is thinking is beyond the pale of a normal mind.


that there is now a war czar at the cabinet level does not speak volumes about the General's timidity.

Rather it is proof that in the Bush administration the interagency cooperation process is broken beyond repair. Right now they're working past and against each other. That was clearly visible even before 911 when it needed Powell's full weight to hold back the loonies over that spy plane affair. Right from the start there were two contradicting foreign policies being pursued in parallel and rivalry. And that is still so. The administration in respect of the conduct of the war is caught in disarray and contradiction. The 'commander guy' bears full rersponsibility for allowing his administration to become so disorganised. Why is this so?

The National Security Council (NSC) that once was aimed at producing just that was wrecked by Rumsfeld and Cheney early in the Bush administration to not have their lunacies watered down. And Bush let it happen. Probably he didn't care. The emergence of a War Czar right now indicates to me there is no intent to revive the national security council (because that would indicate having made mistakes) but to get the same result, interagency cooperation, through the backdoor.

It will be Lute's job to try reconcile Defense, State, Whitehouse and the VP's office - without him having a say in their respective realms. Good luck with that.


They appointed an Admiral as head of CENTCOM, who remains in charge. This new chap is meant to go somewhere between NSC, JCS, and God knows where.


The principles of war are tenets used by military organizations to focus the thinking of leaders toward successful prosecution of battles and wars. They are generally attributed to Clausewitz and his book, On War.

Objective:Define a decisive and attainable objective for every military operation.

Offensive: Seize, retain, and exploit the initiative.

Mass: Apply sufficient force to achieve the objective.

Economy of Force: Focus the right amount of force on the key objective, without wasting force on secondary objectives.

Maneuver: Place the enemy in a position of disadvantage through the flexible application of combat power.

Unity of Command: For every objective, there must be a unified effort and one person responsible for command decisions.

Security: Never permit the enemy to acquire an unexpected advantage.

Surprise: Otherwise known as "Audacity"; Strike the enemy at a time and/or place and in a manner for which he is unprepared.

Simplicity: Prepare clear, uncomplicated plans and clear, concise orders.

They are seldom violated on the tactical (units in contact with the enemy) or strategic (policy and national) level without dire consequences. The national Muppet show on Pennsylvania Ave seems to have never heard of them, and the cowed uniform assembly holed up in the nation’s ‘largest five sided adult day care center’ are afraid to insist on their application. The sun goes up, more troops die, the sun goes down. The sun goes up, more troops die, the sun goes down.

John Howley

I agree that the purpose of a position like the one Lute has been appointed to may shift from what it was when originally announced. I.e., it's a moving target and will continue to move.

My reaction when I first heard about it was that Cheney was behind it as the VP's office found itself frozen out by Gates and Rice. The VP needed a new "inter-agency process" that he could muck around with.

Lute will feel the Cheney monkeywrench. Will he absorb and deflect or will he facilitate Cheney mania?


Is the appointment of a 3-star "War Czar" (hate that term almost as much as I hate Homeland Security) to oversee the 4-star Joint Generals and Sec of Def counter to military organization and/or constitutional authority?

W. Patrick Lang

Charlotte Mom

He will be a staff aide to the president and not in the chain of command. pl


Just a few questions from the back row. Does anyone have an opinion as to where LTG Lute would fit in the paradigm described in the article by Lt. Col. Yingling (referrred to at the Athenaeum)? And does anyone in the know have an opinion as to whether he is a member of a corporate managerial class or an "artistic" class whose career is a vocational calling?
And lastly...and I hope this isn't off point...but does anyone know if LTG Lute has an opinion on the viability of dragon skin armour?
If I may speculate...I would not have called this body armour..."dragon skin". As W. Dalrymple makes amply clear in his book "Holy Mountain"...Muslims have a deep veneration for St. George who in art work and the collective memory is known for slaying the dragon. So with that in mind, I'd call the body armour..."St. George's armour"...or something along those lines. Just my opinion.

Cloned Poster

Does that mean ceremonial "aide-de-camp" PL?

Duncan  Kinder

Charlotte Mom

He will be a staff aide to the president and not in the chain of command. pl

This evokes an image from War and Peace where Prince Andrei, who was - as I recall - a major and a staff officer, held a long conversation with some young lieutenant while they kept a general from a socially inferior family cooling his heels until they were done. ( Andrei came from the very heights of Russian society. )

Tolstoy commented that the actual as opposed to the formal lines of authority were quite distinct.

So may I suggest that Lute's appointment perhaps indicates not some very new but rather a quite old meaning to the word, "Czar."

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