Lute, the National Security Council's unofficial "war czar" and the sole active-duty general among the group, is portrayed as among the biggest skeptics of the military's strategy to send a surge of more than 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan in an effort to shift the momentum away from the Taliban.In late November, as the president made the decision to escalate the U.S. commitment to the war, Lute warned him that the approach was unlikely to succeed."Mr. President, you don't have to do this," Woodward quotes Lute as saying.The Army general maintained that the Taliban's ability to exploit Pakistani safe havens, the persistent corruption within the Afghan government and the poor state of the Afghan security forces made it unlikely that the surge of forces would produce major changes in Afghanistan by July 2011.Lute's strident questioning of the military's preferred strategy drew a stern rebuke from Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the military's top officer."The secretary and I believe you weren't always helpful in the course of the review," Mullen is quoted as telling Lute."I hope the president doesn't have the same view," Lute responded.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
This from Greg Jaffe in the Washington Post:
Turns out it didn't much matter what the president thought about Lute, as he'd already made up his mind about what was necessary.