News

    Army General Joins White House Staff as War Coordinator

    A U.S. Army general is joining the White House staff as the top war policy coordinator.   VOA's Paula Wolfson reports the choice of Lieutenant General Douglas Lute followed a lengthy search for a new manager to oversee war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The White House describes General Lute's role as that of an "action officer."   But outside the executive mansion, many are already referring to him as the president's "war czar."

    His job will be to make sure all government departments involved in the war effort, from the Defense Department to the Department of Agriculture, are operating in a coordinated fashion.

    White House Spokesman Tony Snow says Lute will report directly to the president, and will be charged with making sure war policy is implemented efficiently.

    "How many times have people been in the field where somebody says, 'Here is a problem we have, I write notes and it never gets up to the top.' Well, part of his job is to cut through that and to make sure that people in the field are getting the kind of support and resources they need to get the job done," he said.

    There are indications Lute was not the first choice for the job, and that the White House originally wanted to offer the post to a retired military officer who is well known in Washington.

    Reports indicate as many as five retired generals were approached and turned down the job. Some said they were at odds with parts of the president's war strategy, and would be uncomfortable serving in the post.

    In General Lute, the president opted for an active duty officer with extensive managerial experience behind the scenes.  Described by many as "low-key," Lute raised objections in private during the policy review late last year that led to the current U.S. troop surge in Iraq.

    When asked about the criticism, Snow said conditions on the ground in Iraq have changed, and Lute's position has evolved to reflect that change.

    "And General Lute not only supports the way forward, but he also thinks we are making progress," he added.
           
    The appointment comes at a time of growing public discontent with the conduct of the war, and in the midst of a battle with the Democratic Party-controlled Congress over funding.

    The choice of General Lute could create another opportunity for Senate debate on the president's war strategy.

    White House staff members, unlike Cabinet secretaries and other top officials in the executive branch of government, do not normally require congressional confirmation.   However, General Lute will need Senate approval to serve because he is an active-duty officer in the military.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora