Four years after the fall of Baghdad, the White House is once again struggling to solve an old problem: Who is in charge of carrying out policy in Iraq?All 3 generals who have been approached about the job have turned it down.
Once again President Bush and his top aides are searching for a high-level coordinator capable of cutting through military, political and reconstruction strategies that have never operated in sync, in Washington or in Baghdad.
Once again Mr. Bush is publicly declaring that his administration has settled on a strategy for victory — this time, a troop increase that is supposed to open political space for Sunnis and Shiites to live and govern together — even while his top aides acknowledge that the White House has never gotten the execution right.
“We’re trying to learn from our experience,” Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser, said in an interview on Wednesday. Confirming a report that first appeared in The Washington Post, Mr. Hadley said he had been sounding out retired military commanders to assess their interest in a job where they would report directly to President Bush.
Most administrations have a name for the guy who is in charge. It's called the President. Bush makes the Presidency sound like a night manager at Denny's who's having trouble filling all of his shifts.