The Washington Post is reporting that the White House is trying to create a new powerful position to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but they are having trouble finding anyone who is competent and also willing to take the job. Thus far, three retired four star generals have turned down the post. One of those generals, Marine Gen. John J. “Jack” Sheehan explained to the newspaper why he turned down the job. “The very fundamental issue is, they don’t know where the hell they’re going,” Sheehan said.

He also feels that there is a lack of pragmatism in the administration’s view of the war, “There’s the residue of the Cheney view, ‘We’re going to win, al-Qaeda’s there’, that justifies anything we did,” he said. “And then there’s the pragmatist view, how the hell do we get out of Dodge and survive? Unfortunately, the people with the former view are still in the positions of most influence.” Sheehan said.  “So rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, ‘No, thanks.’” To me, this speaks volumes about how deeply an irrational view of this war has penetrated the administration. When military lifers, who love their country, like Sheehan turn down an offer such as this, things must really be bad, not only on the ground, but also in the civilian management of this war.

There is also the idea that the administration has dug them selves in so deep, that a “war czar” doesn’t stand much of a chance at being successful at this stage of the conflict. I think that the White House wants this czar position more for political reasons, than to signal any real change in strategy. If a war czar is added, then it looks like the administration is changing strategy in an attempt to win, or end, this war.

The reality is that the decision makers have no intention of changing their war policy, and if the war keeps going badly, the czar would be there take all the blame and be the fall guy. Frankly this war is so mucked up, that I don’t know why any competent general would want the job. Greater organization, planning, and coordination were all needed in 2002-2003. Now it is 2007, and now, over four years into a conflict, is too late to decide that they had better get organized.

Full Washington Post Article

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at
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