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No takers for White House war czar position April 11 WaPo - The White House wants to appoint a high-powered czar to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with authority to issue directions to the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies, but it has had trouble finding anyone able and willing to take the job, according to people close to the situation. At least three retired four-star generals approached by the White House in recent weeks have declined to be considered for the position, the sources said, underscoring the administration's difficulty in enlisting its top recruits to join the team after five years of warfare that have taxed the United States and its military. "The very fundamental issue is, they don't know where the hell they're going," said retired Marine Gen. John J. "Jack" Sheehan, a former top NATO commander who was among those rejecting the job. Sheehan said he believes that Vice President Cheney and his hawkish allies remain more powerful within the administration than pragmatists looking for a way out of Iraq. "So rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, 'No, thanks,' " he said. neophyte April 11, 2007 - 11:41am
Politics Collide With Iraq Realities Thomas Ricks | April 8 Washington Post - There are two Iraq wars being waged, according to military officers on the ground and defense experts: the one fought in the streets of Baghdad, and the war as it is perceived in Washington. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, who took over as the top U.S. commander in Iraq in February, cited the disparity last week. "The Washington clock is moving more rapidly than the Baghdad clock," he said in a television interview. "So we're obviously trying to speed up the Baghdad clock a bit and to produce some progress on the ground that can, perhaps . . . put a little more time on the Washington clock." While Washington appears headed toward a political endgame on Iraq, with the White House and Congress sparring over benchmarks and pullout dates, the war on the ground is at an ebb tide. All sides -- including U.S. military strategists and Iraqi sectarian leaders and insurgents, as well as regional players such as Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Turkey -- are waiting to see whether the new U.S. approach to make the Iraqi capital safer will work. Soldiers on the ground tend to see the Washington debate as irrelevant, and the perspective of many politicians in Washington is that the military schedule is simply too slow. "Political Islam is a dream or a nightmare, but not a sociological reality." - Olivier Roy, Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Ummah JustPlainDave April 8, 2007 - 10:01am login or register to post comments
How Bogus Letter Became a Case for War Intelligence Failures Surrounded Inquiry on Iraq-Niger Uranium Claim By Peter Eisner Washington Post Tuesday, April 3 It was 3 a.m. in Italy on Jan. 29, 2003, when President Bush in Washington began reading his State of the Union address that included the now famous -- later retracted -- 16 words: "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." Like most Europeans, Elisabetta Burba, an investigative reporter for the Italian newsweekly Panorama, waited until the next day to read the newspaper accounts of Bush's remarks. But when she came to the 16 words, she recalled, she got a sudden sinking feeling in her stomach. She wondered: How could the American president have mentioned a uranium sale from Africa? Burba felt uneasy because more than three months earlier, she had turned over to the U.S. Embassy in Rome documents about an alleged uranium sale by the central African nation of Niger. And she knew now that the documents were fraudulent and the 16 words wrong. Nonetheless, the uranium claim would become a crucial justification for the invasion of Iraq that began less than two months later. When occupying troops found no nuclear program, the 16 words and how they came to be in the speech became a focus for critics in Washington and foreign capitals to press the case that the White House manipulated facts to take the United States to war. Continued at link adrena April 3, 2007 - 4:08am login or register to post comments
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