While creating a manager for the war could be a good idea, the choice of Lute reinforces the notion that the problems in Iraq and Afghanistan need military solutions, says Kathleen Hicks, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "It's exactly the wrong message," she says.Over at Opposed Systems Design, the question arises, "Tsar? How about a grand strategy?" They offer this quote from the WSJ:
“The war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq are adrift in the absence of a properly developed grand strategy to integrate military and nonmilitary elements of national power,” said Stephen Biddle, a Council on Foreign Relations scholar who just returned from a monthlong tour advising Gen. David Petraeus...As I often say here, a grand strategy imposes immense political risks and costs on the political decisionmaker. Lincoln would have none of it - neither would Jeff Davis. It takes a politician with immense levels of self-confidence and public support, an FDR comes to mind, to commit to grand strategy and even then there tends to be pay-as-you go mini-strategy, with elements of a grand design approved in phases.
The thing that interests me in this appointment is that this man Lute, like Petraeus, was appointed to a four-star position with three-star rank, bypassing the four-star talent pool. Recall that Pershing was promoted from captain to brigadier general over the heads of (IIRC) 835 senior officers. Likewise, WWWII was fought, MacArthur excepted, by Pershing's young WWI staffers rather than by senior incumbents like Hugh Drum and suchlike.
One of interesting things about Rumsfeld was that he took over the promotion of generals above the rank of major general where previously the generals' club had selected its own. Here, we have two Rumsfeld-selected three-stars receiving appointment - from politicians - to war-fighting positions ... a major throwback to the ACW.
We all hope the results will justify this historic return to the historic.