Thursday, April 12, 2007

'Surge' Architect Rejects 'War Czar' Job

The widespread doubts within U.S. military and intelligence circles that George W. Bush’s Iraq War “surge” can succeed were underscored when one of the plan’s architects, retired Army Gen. Jack Keane, was one of three generals to rebuff a White House offer of a new job dubbed “war czar.”

By Robert Parry

"In December, Keane and neoconservative scholar Frederick Kagan promoted the idea of a U.S. military escalation in Iraq as an alternative to the growing consensus in favor of a phased withdrawal of Amercan combat forces.

At the time, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group was advocating a troop drawdown combined with a stronger commitment to training Iraqi forces and renewed talks with Iraq’s neighbors. But Bush bristled at the implied criticism of his work as “war president,” declaring: “This business about graceful exit just simply has no realism to it whatsoever.”

Bush countered the momentum behind the Iraq Study Group’s recommendations by latching onto the Keane-Kagan “surge” idea. When the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the two commanders then overseeing the Iraq War, Generals John Abizaid and George Casey, resisted the “surge,” Bush ousted Abizaid and Casey and overruled the Pentagon brass.......

.....The American people “don’t want politicians in Washington telling our generals how to fight a war,” Bush said at an April 3 press briefing, scolding congressional Democrats for seeking a gradual withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq.

The polite Washington press corps rarely notes that Bush was the politician in Washington “telling our generals how to fight a war,” that he simply removed senior commanders who disagreed with him.

It now appears that Bush is even having trouble finding a retired military leader to become “war czar.” Not even the guy who helped invent the “surge” wants the job."

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