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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs