Is the Lute appointment about the administration shrugging off the legacy of Iraq to the uniformed military? A correspondent writes, "There was this hilarious skit on the Daily Show about exactly this when the czar position was announced. They showed a vin diagram with three overlapping circles, one labeled the White House, the other DoD, and the third the Joint Chiefs -- the 'czar' was supposed to operate at the intersection of the three areas of responsibility. John Stewart asked what that intersection was called, and his 'correspondent' dead-panned: 'The Blame' (which popped up on the screen in bold letters at the intersection of the 3 circles). Brilliant."What is happening is that George W. bush is bringing in an Army three-star General, assigning him a desk in the National Security Council but making him answerable to Bush alone. The National Security Adviser, Stephan Hadley, is out of the loop. Lute will be giving instructions to the Secretary of Defense and to the Secretary of State.
The fiction is that Lute will be answering to President Bush and will be speaking for President Bush to the Departments of Defense and State. But that is a fiction. Bush has no clue how to deal with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and his record shows it. Those wars will belong to Lute.
But not the blame. The fiction is that Bush is responsible, and so Bush cannot blame his telephone for the messages passed to the Secretaries of State and Defense. The fiction is that Lute is a telephone. The reality is that he has to make the decisions.
Once again Bush proves that there is nothing he can get right. His only hope is to pass the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan off to the Democrats in 2008 and set things up so that the Republicans can blame the Democrats. Wait for it. In 2009 the cry will start up "The Democrats lost Iraq to the terrorists!"