martes, 15 de mayo de 2007

Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute to be 'war czar'

After a protracted search, President Bush has selected an Army lieutenant general to be his war czar in charge of overseeing the strife in Iraq and Afghanistan.

White House officials said Tuesday that Bush tapped Lt. Gen. Douglas E Lute for the new position. The job was created to consolidate authority in one person for coordination of the war efforts and to ease conflicts between the Pentagon, State Department and other agencies involved.

Lute, a three-star general, will have the titles of assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan policy implementation. It was unclear Tuesday whether Lute would report directly to Bush or to National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley.
Lute's selection will take pressure off of Hadley, who had the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts on his plate along with virtually all other pressing foreign issues, such as the nuclear standoffs with North Korea and Iran.

Lute, 54, of Michigan City, Ind., has served as director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff since September. Before that, he was stationed at U.S. Central Command, overseeing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan

He has earned degrees from both West Point and Harvard University and is widely respected in the Pentagon for intellect and understanding of the intricacies of the Middle East. He is unapologetically frank about the situation in Iraq; often willing to point out that operations could fail or that Iraqis may not meet U.S. expectations.
Indeed, in an interview with McClatchy Newspapers last month, Lute said that U.S. officials must make sure that Iraqi forces step up during the surge into Baghdad.
"We are looking for indicators where we can assess the extent to which we are fighting alongside Iraqi security forces, not as a replacement to them," he said during that interview.
Lute's selection ends a long search by the White House for a war czar. Some military officials approached about the job said they weren't interested.

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