Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A “War Czar” has been chosen

The White House today announced the appointment of Lt. General Douglas Lute to the position of Director of Operations for the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lt. General Lute was a featured speaker at a breakfast hosted by the Association of the United States Army Institute of Land Warfare breakfast earlier in the week. Some of the things he said make way too much sense for a Bush appointment.

You be the judge. (From the AUSA Website).

AUSA Hosts Several key Committee Staffers

AUSA hosted several key congressional staff members at the Institute of Land Warfare breakfast this week. Addressing the group was LTG Douglas Lute, the director for operations, J-3, for the Joint Staff.

LTG Lute described the U.S. military and the global war on terror by saying, “We have a hammer but the problem is not a series of nails.” He also said that al Qaeda fights by using loosely connected cells around the world and educating its followers on the internet to achieve its goal of reestablishing the Caliphate—a geographic area under Muslim rule and governed by Islamic law.
The enemy has found a safe haven on the internet, which, according to Lute, they use “better than we do.” Instructions can be found on the internet o n how to build bomb vests and how to cross Syria into Iraq. All these things can be found “on the internet today. It is the greatest safe haven they use against us.”

Some of the lessons learned, Lute explained are that joint warfighting is one of the keys to winning. Fighting with allies and local people and understanding their culture and language are powerful weapons. In addition, firepower and maneuver are not as important as timing and precision. “We have the world’s best Army,” Lute explained, “but we don’t have ‘find and fix.’” The enemy, he said, has excellent intelligence gathering while the United States relies on intelligence almost solely from prisoners.

The war on terror, Lute warned, could last fifteen to sixteen years. Nor would it be a decisive victory. “We’re not going to see the win in the newspapers, there will be no V-J (Japan) Day.” Instead, he explain ed, the ideology we fight can be suppressed but not eradicated. Also, the military alone cannot deliver victory and, in the end, countries around the world will not offer us gratitude, but respect.

I am not of the opinion that adding another level to the metric will change anything or salvage the unsalvageable, but I am at least not mortified by their choice, which is frankly far and away better than I expected. He sure is saying the right things.

For the record, I will never be a fan of Bob Gates, but I think I see his fingerprints on this choice, and if so, he’s making it hard to maintain the level of loathing for him that I have had for at least 20 freakin’ years.

Also, it does not escape my notice that this transpired while Dick "use the Military to open a soda" Cheney was out of the country.

[Cross-posted from Blue Girl, Red State]