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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-07-07 04:47 PM
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US senators dubious about Bush's new war czar post
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US senators dubious about Bush's new war czar post
07 Jun 2007 20:04:17 GMT
Source: Reuters

By Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON, June 7 (Reuters) - U.S. senators expressed deep skepticism on Thursday at President Bush's nomination of a "war czar" for Iraq and Afghanistan, saying it muddled the White House chain of command but likely signaled no strategy change.

"I'm afraid that your position will be someone who's there to take the blame," Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Jack Reed told Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute at a confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Bush nominated Lute in May to oversee policy and execute strategy for Iraq and Afghanistan, reporting directly to the president. His appointment comes amid an ongoing struggle between the White House and Congress over the unpopular Iraq war.

But with Lute known to have been a skeptic about Bush's current increase in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, his views about the war appeared to worry Democratic senators less on Thursday than whether he would have enough authority in a White House floundering over the direction of the conflict.

"I am very concerned that this is not going to work. It's just another political, public relations ploy rather than a significant change of strategy," Reed, who joined others in praising Lute's service record, told the three-star general.

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