Sunday, May 06, 2007

Iraq: YOU Might Be The Next Iraq "War Czar"!

By William Prendergast

They’re still lookin', so why not go for it?:

White House Searches for War Czar
May 6, 12:21 PM EDT


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Now that the White House is searching for a "war czar," it begs the question of who has been coordinating U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan the past four years.

A team of West Wing players led by national security adviser Stephen Hadley has tried to keep turf-conscious agencies marching in the same direction on military, political and reconstruction fronts. A few Bush aides say privately, however, that the White House probably should have recruited someone to oversee the war effort a year ago.

I already did this one right after Rumsfeld got canned—it was a reality TV show called “America’s Next Top War Czar” or something, with a bunch of war czar wannabes living in an apartment together, participating in photo shoots, and surviving elimination challenges. (eg, one week they all had to placate a Shi’ite militia while walking down the runway with a bowl of fruit balanced on their heads.)

But that won’t work anymore because they waited too long and now no one wants to be Rumsfeld’s replacement. There are no more “war czar” wannabes, which indicates that the general consensus in the American military insider establishment is that the war really is unwinnable and in fact counter-productive. It produces more enemy combatants than it eliminates and weakens America politically, which results in weakening America militarily—and Pentagon insiders don’t like that, they don’t wanna play that. Look at this, from April 11th of this year:

3 Generals Spurn the Position of War Czar
Bush Seeks Overseer For Iraq, Afghanistan

By Peter Baker and Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, April 11, 2007; A01

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.

They’re patriots, those guys--so they don’t want to help fuck up their country and get the kids killed just so the Bush admin and the GOP can avoid admission of failure. So they’re not lining up to volunteer their name and figurehead leadership skills for administration disaster.

To get a war czar, the President will have to ignore the traditional military channels (seniority, brilliance in the field, administrative achievement) and find a willing newcomer or outsider. He’s gone eight months now with no one officially in charge, if he doesn’t find someone soon, his remaining supporters are going to start blaming *him* for the way things are going over there. So:

Scene: An Army Recruiting Station in a strip mall in Stillwater, Minnesota. Signs outside read “Army” “Navy” “Air Force” “Marines”. A kid comes through the front door, simultaneously setting off a little bell that jingles, waking up a recruiter--a Sergeant Bilko type who’s snoozing away behind his desk.

Recruiter: Holy cow, kid, you scared the heck out of me. What do you want?
Kid: I want to join up, sir. I just turned eighteen and my older sister is already serving over there, and I believe in the war, and it’s kind of a family tradition with us to go into the service, so—
Recruiter: (leaps out of chair) Is this a put-on? Did the Navy guys send you over here, just to pull my leg again, kid?
Kid: (stares, then) No, I’m serious, I want to sign up—
Recruiter: (leaps over desk, gives the kid a big kiss) Don’t move! Stay right there! (calls into back room) Doberman! Doberman, get out here, on the double HAR! HAR! HAR! on the double!
(Private Doberman stumbles out of the back room with a half-finished sandwich from Subway in his hand and mouth.)
Doberman: What’s up, Sarge?
Recruiter: We gotta volunteer! (pinches kid’s cheek) Oh, you wonderful boy, you marverlous—stay right where you are—Don’t take your eyes off him Doberman, lock the door.
Kid: But I’m not leaving, Sergeant, I *want* to sign up—
Recruiter: (grabbing paperwork, stops suddenly) Y’hear that, Doberman? Did you hear that? (places fist over his heart) Right here, that’s where it gets you, right here—(to kid)
Look at him, look at those bright blue American eyes sparkling—What’s your name kid?
Kid: Why—Anders Anderson—
Recruiter: Anders Anderson—Y’hear that, Doberman? Does it get anymore Americana than that? What are you waiting for Doberman, what are ya, a statue or something, get him the suit, get him the suit HAR HAR HAR, on the double—
Doberman: (hustling into back room) Right, Sarge—
Kid: Gee, I didn’t know I get a uniform so fast, I—
Recruiter: Uniform? (laughs deprecatingly, pats kid’s cheeks in a friendly manner) Uniform, this kid’s so sweet—for the job we have for you, you don’t *wear* a uniform, you little genius, you! You wear a suit, a two thousand dollar Brooks Brothers navy blue suit, with a red tie, a power tie like the Vice President (raises a finger, wags it impressively, then yells back) DOBERMAN!
Doberman: (running back in with the suit) Got it, Sarge!
Recruiter: Ah, here it is, look at that fabric, it screams “Authority!” “Command!”—here get this on—(rips off kid’s cap) You don’t want to wear a baseball cap, that’s kid’s stuff, that “baseball cap backwards” stuff—hmm… we’ll have to thin the hair a little, maybe give you a bald spot, too—Doberman, run in the back, get the clippers--that “gravitas” thing, for the press conferences, “gravitas”—hold your head up, boy, hold your head high—look proud, commanding—
Kid: (tries, then looks at Sergeant) Are you sure I’m in the right place—
Recruiter: The right place? (pinches his cheek) Trust me, boy, you’re the square peg in a square hole, that’s what you are son—sign here, here and here—but keep that chin up! Up up up! Authority—get the jacket on him, Doberman, we’ve got to get a picture for his security clearance—(gets on walkie-talkie) Come in, Pentagon! This is “Northern Fox” calling “Halliburton Chromedome”! “Northern Fox” to “Chromedome,” do you read me? Top priority! We have a “pigeon” in the “coop”, do you read me? “The pigeon is in the coop.” Over.—
Kid: (as Doberman shaves a bald spot on the back of his head) I don’t understand what’s going on here, I just want to sign up and join the Army—
Recruiter: (chuckles) Join the Army, join the Army—isn’t that beautiful, Doberman? I tell ya it gets me right here (fist over heart, wipes tear from eye, sniffs then) Listen, kid—in twenty minutes, you’ll BE the Army. (back to work) Now come on, they’re sending an F-16 for you right now, it’ll be here any second, c’mon get the pants on him Doberman, the pants the pants the pants—(holds up camera, prepares to take kid’s photo) This is for the press release, so don’t smile! No smiling! Get out of the shot, Doberman, ya dummy—the pants, Doberman, hold up the pants--
(Flash goes off, temporarily blinding the kid)
Recruiter: Beautiful, just beautiful. A new face,--do you believe this face, Doberman, whatta face—
Doberman: He’s gotta nice face, Sarge.
Kid: But what, what—
Recruiter: (big grin, pats him on the cheek) Questions, questions, all the time questions, what are you, on “Jeopardy,” kid? But he’s a bright boy, he thinks! Inquisitive! They’ll like that in Washington—now just pee in this cup, son, that’s for the medical—
Doberman: But I haven’t got the pants all the way on him yet, Sarge—
Recruiter: What are you saying Doberman, you think he’s stupid? You think the kid can’t walk and chew gum at the same time? So we’ll let the pants out a little, it’ll give him some class, some gravitas, nice—a nice slimming effect, you know—here kid, pee in the cup, c’mon, the plane’s on it’s way, and keep your chin up, high, that’s it, c’mon now, pee in the cup, pee proudly, you’re the war czar now, on the double HAR HAR HAR!



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