Friday, June 08, 2007

New Iraq War Czar: "I am SOOOO depressed"

General Lute at confirmation hearings: "Oh, maaaan... this Iraq shit is bringing me dooown...(sobs)" (continued)

I got this “war czar” quote from a British journal, but the NYT is running it, too:

Fresh calls for Iraq withdrawal as British death toll reaches 150WILLIAM TINNING
The Herald
June 08 2007

…The calls for a swift (British withdrawal from Iraq) came as the Army general picked by US President George W Bush to become his war adviser said he has serious misgivings about the Iraqi government's ability to take control of the country, no matter how much pressure is applied.

"The question in my mind is not to what extent can we force them or lever them to a particular outcome but rather to what degree do they actually have the capacity themselves to produce that outcome," Lt Gen Douglas Lute said during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"And if produced or if pressed too hard will we, in turn, end up with an outcome that isn't really worth the paper it's written on?"

This is not inspiring, General Lute. In fact, it’s more depressing than a goddamn Leonard Cohen song. “An outcome not worth the paper it’s printed on?” And this is the guy they put IN CHARGE? I feel kind of sorry for him. “We’ve struck an iceberg! The ship is filling with water. Here, take this hat, sailor, put it on--you’re the captain from now on, congratulations! We’re off to write our self-exculpatory memoirs, we’ll wave to you from the lifeboat. Good night and good luck!”

Here’s more from General Droopy, via the Washington Post:

Nominee to Coordinate War Offers Grim Forecast on Iraq
General's Appraisal Echoes Secret Intelligence Findings

By Peter Baker and Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, June 8, 2007; Page A01

President Bush's nominee to be war czar said yesterday that conditions in Iraq have not improved significantly despite the influx of U.S. troops in recent months and predicted that, absent major political reform, violence will continue to rage over the next year.

Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, tapped by Bush to serve as a new high-powered White House coordinator of the war, told senators at a confirmation hearing that Iraqi factions "have shown so far very little progress" toward the reconciliation necessary to stem the bloodshed. If that does not change, he said, "we're not likely to see much difference in the security situation" a year from now.

You should read the whole article. It turns out practically everybody in Washington with a steady job is now saying that Bush’s Iraq project is almost certainly doomed to failure. (Which anyone with any knowledge of the region could have told them--*did* tell them—four years ago.) More from Lute, who sounds like he’s really down about the whole thing, these days:

… he expressed doubt about whether the Iraqis have the ability to change and whether the United States has the ability to force them to do so. "I have reservations about just how much leverage we can apply on a system that is not very capable right now," he said.

“Put pressure on the Iraq government we installed? That’s like asking me to put pressure on a pile of shit, all it’s gonna do is mess up the shine on my boots, man.”

And after that, he sounds kind of disoriented:

"Where are we today?" he asked. "Not where any of us would like."

Let’s see—Zoloft, Citalopram, Xanax… what the hell, give him a handful of each…

...But (Lute) sounded open to other ideas if the troop buildup does not succeed, telling Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, that withdrawing some U.S. forces should be considered. Lute agreed that a large presence in Iraq could reinforce a "dependency syndrome."

“Oh, yeah. "Dependency syndrome", right, thanks for reminding me, thanks a million. We shoulda got the fuck out of there a long time ago, but it’s not up to me. (shouts) I just work here, man! Okay? (puts head in hands, sobs)”

...Even a leading Republican pressed Lute for more progress, citing the deaths of U.S. soldiers and rejecting the argument that the Iraqi government has been in place for only a year. "Wake up," said Sen. John W. Warner (Va.). "We're paying a heavy price for them to establish this government."

“WAKE UP, goddammit, Lute! Get your head up off the table! This shit is serious, we’re getting MAIL about this!”

Lute: “Huh? Where am I? Oh yeah, confirmation hearings, right... did I get the job?...uh…What is it you want me to do again? Oh God… fuckin’ Army…”

Lute would serve as an assistant to the president who would brief Bush every day and manage the U.S. government's civilian and military efforts in Iraq. Democrats said that is proof that national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley is not doing his job.

"He should be fired, because, frankly, if he's not capable of being the individual responsible for those duties and they pass it on to someone else, then why is he there?" Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said.

“He makes good fuckin’ coffee, alright? the morning...Steve brings in a cup of the coffee...he puts it in my feels feels warm. It stops my hands from hands are cold, so very cold... I love Steve! He stays! Deal with it! Or fire him, I don’t fuckin’ care, do what you want, I got my own problems. Look, do I get the job or not?”

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) also questioned Lute about Vice President Cheney's role. Lute responded that Cheney is "an important participant in policy development.”

“He says we’ve turned a corner, it’s just a few dead enders. I don’t know what they got him on, heart medication, horse tranquilizers or something. Maybe they’ll give me some of that. I hope so. Listen, guys—I really gotta lie down. Right now…Wake me up when you guys decide if I’m hired or not, okay?”



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