A czar-y state of affairs: John J. Sheehan, a retired Marine Corps general, explains on the op-ed page of The Washington Post why he doesn’t want to be the nation’s “war czar.” Sheehan writes:

It would have been a great honor to serve this nation again. But after thoughtful discussions with people both in and outside of this administration, I concluded that the current Washington decision-making process lacks a linkage to a broader view of the region and how the parts fit together strategically. We got it right during the early days of Afghanistan — and then lost focus. We have never gotten it right in Iraq. For these reasons, I asked not to be considered for this important White House position. These huge shortcomings are not going to be resolved by the assignment of an additional individual to the White House staff. They need to be addressed before an implementation manager is brought on board.

The Bush administration has “no agreed-upon strategic view of the Iraq problem or the region,” Sheehan writes. He adds, “We cannot ‘shorthand’ this issue with concepts such as the ‘democratization of the region’ or the constant refrain by a small but powerful group that we are going to ‘win,’ even as ‘victory’ is not defined or is frequently redefined.”

A brave and intelligent choice Gen. Sheehan...

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