Wednesday, April 11, 2007

"No Thanks"

The Washington Post reports that President Bush is looking for someone to oversee America's involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. But the paper says three retired generals have already refused to be Mr Bush's "war czar" which is a bit embarrassing for the administration to say the least.

The fact they want someone to come in to handle the operations shows the Bush team have realised they're on the wrong track, and are pretty much out of new ideas. But a remark from one of the men to have turned the job down indicates most people in Washington believe an outsider wouldn't be able to sway those hardline members of the administration (led by Vice President Dick Cheney) who apparently still wield the real power. Retired Marine General Jack Sheehan is quoted by the Post: "Rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, 'No, thanks,'"

Unless Cheney and his mates release their grip on policymaking, in favour of the more pragmatic Defence Secretary Bob Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, it seems "no thanks" is the only answer Bush will get. Gates and Rice don't have all the answers to help solve the crises in Afghanistan and Iraq, but they'll find it easier to bring together people who might have a better inkling. Cheney's refusal to admit he was wrong on Iraq, and Bush's unwillingness to overrule him now, stands in the way of progress both there and in Afghanistan.

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