It wasn't long ago that the White House couldn't find anyone
to become its "war czar," a brand-new position created in the spring by President Bush to oversee interagency coordination for Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, the war czar has an apparent under-czar
Crack TPMmuckraker intern Tanvir Vahora noticed that President Bush announced today that Brigadier General Terry Wolff, a veteran
(pdf) of the not-going-so-great U.S. training effort for the Iraqi military, will become Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Iraq and Afghanistan Policy Implementation
. This is apparently a deputy position to War Czar Douglas Lute, a low-key figure whose most prominent role so far came when he lobbied the Senate in July to defeat Democratic antiwar amendments to the defense authorization bill. Most recently, Lute went on NPR to muse that it might be time to look at reimplementing the draft
The difference between the two posts? Lute's title is Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan
, and he outranks Wolff by two stars. The substantive difference between the two jobs is anyone's guess: neither actually makes policy on the wars, but implementing decisions made by the White House on the wars is the key responsibility of both positions.
If it turns out that Wolff is in fact Lute's replacement
-- we've got calls out to the White House to see what exactly the story is, and we'll update you when we hear something -- the war czar job is losing prestige after only two months in existence. If not, don't expect many people to understand what Wolff's actual responsibilities will be, as Lute's
aren't entirely clear. In any case, the proliferation of czars will surely lead to a complete turnaround in the war's fortunes.Update
: Just heard from a National Security Council press aide (who wouldn't give his name). Wolff is one of Lute's deputies. Lute hasn't lost his job. And it's still unclear what exactly Wolff's brief is. Late Update
: NSC spokesman Gordon Johndroe explains that Wolff's job will be to make sure that sub-cabinet officials across the interagency process in Washington and Baghdad follow through on Lute's demands to get Gen. David Petraeus and Amb. Ryan Crocker the resources they need.