David Sanger, New York Times Analysis reported this morning in his “4 Years On, The Gap Between Iraq Policy and Practice is Wide” that the Bush administration is looking for a Washington point man to focus on implementing the “New Iraq Strategy” in Iraq over the next 22 months.
Logic behind this move seems to make sense. It almost resembles a Gold-Water Nichols approach to coordinating inter-agency operations throughout departments of the government, which is quite obviously needed with the past flailing of US bureaucratic resources over the past six years at complex, multidimensional, operations worldwide. Having a center point in Washington that synchronizes departments and reports directly to the president seems, in bureaucratic theory, to make sense.
But here is the fly in the ointment…why have we waited this long to implement such a mechanism? The National Security Council, in a timid way, has long served this function. Why are we hiring a new official to do a NSC task? Better yet, why have we waited to do it? It seems like Mr. Hadley should have identified that the NSC is inefficient in dealing with the problem and a point man appointed earlier. To wait this long reflects poorly on him and begs a new question.
Is the administration looking for the next scapegoat? Department of Defense Service Secretaries have served the Pentagon well as convenient scapegoats since 1986, why shouldn’t the NSC have one as well? Lacking the legislative mandate to coordinate interagency efforts and having few resources themselves, the new point man will likely be empowered to fail…but will accomplish his true mission….take the blame.