WHY THE WAR CZAR BALKED….General John Sheehan, who was recruited recently for the post of “war czar,” explains today why he turned it down. The problem, he says, is that the Bush administration needs not only a short-term battle plan, but also a long-term plan for dealing with the entire Middle East. Unfortunately, after asking around, he discovered that all it has are platitudes:

We cannot “shorthand” this issue with concepts such as the “democratization of the region” or the constant refrain by a small but powerful group that we are going to “win,” even as “victory” is not defined or is frequently redefined.

….We got it right during the early days of Afghanistan — and then lost focus. We have never gotten it right in Iraq. For these reasons, I asked not to be considered for this important White House position. These huge shortcomings are not going to be resolved by the assignment of an additional individual to the White House staff. They need to be addressed before an implementation manager is brought on board.

Smart man.