Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A War Czar

Bush selects Pentagon official as 'war czar'

President Bush has chosen Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, the Pentagon's director of operations, to oversee the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan as a "war czar" after a long search for new leadership, administration officials said Tuesday.

It was a difficult job to fill, given the unpopularity of the war, now in its fifth year, and uncertainty about the clout the war coordinator would have.

I'm certain it was also a difficult job to fill because this new 'czar' has to advice a President who has stubbornly rejected the advice of commanders before, and who has created a disasterous situation on the ground in Iraq that my well now be unfixable in any meaningful sense of the word. How will this new Czar fix a war that never should have been started?

I received an interesting email on this topic:

Sad to hear of the appointment of the first "US War Tsar". What is your take on the naming of the "ruler of war". What kind of resume does one need for that job? Is there ever going to be a "peace tsar"? S ad state of affairs when we elevate war to a task that glorifies now a "tsar".... I wonder how the Russians feel about us using their language to justify such an obnoxious title.

I've commented a bit on the "War Czar" previously- that the job should not be necessary given that we have a President who is commander in Chief, a Joint Chiefs of Staff w/ a Chairman, a Defense Secretary, and commanders in each theater of operation. How much of a "War Government" do we really want in the US?

Further, I think there will never be a "Peace Czar (or Tsar)". Americans seem to want to make war on everything. War on Terror. War on Poverty. War on Drugs. Notice this- none of these wars has worked.

It's time to make Peace on some of our problems- to look to deal with important societal issues with compassion and human understanding.

Can't work?

Tell Gandhi that. Or Martin Luther King, Jr. Or how about Boris Yeltsin who stood atop the tank. Or the mothers who danced in Argentina for the missing.

Nonviolent resistance may not always work quickly, but it does work.

Just War theory in Christianity requires that a people resort to war as a last resort. Our tendency in this country to declar war on everything suggests we turn to it as a 'first resort.' It certainly was not the 'last resort' in Iraq.

We could certainly use a 'Peace Czar.' At least then someone could remind us that there is another path. We can try another way. We can stop making enemies faster than we can kill them.

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