FOUR FRIEDMANS AGO….I was rooting around in my archives earlier today and happened to run across an interview from 2005 with (then) Maj. Gen. Douglas Lute, the guy who was appointed “war czar” back in May. Here’s what he said two years ago:

The US is expected to pull significant numbers of troops out of Iraq in the next 12 months in spite of the continuing violence, according to the general responsible for near-term planning in the country.

….He said: “We believe at some point, in order to break this dependence on the…coalition, you simply have to back off and let the Iraqis step forward.

“You have to undercut the perception of occupation in Iraq. It’s very difficult to do that when you have 150,000-plus, largely western, foreign troops occupying the country.”

…. Last week, Gen Peter Schoomaker, US army chief of staff, said his office was planning for the possibility that troop levels could be maintained until 2009. But Maj Gen Lute said such a worst-case scenario was unlikely.

“I will tell you this, as the operation officer of Centcom, if a year from now I’ve got to call on all those army troops that Gen Schoomaker is prepared to provide, I won’t feel real good about myself,” he said.

Just thought I’d share. I wonder if this explains why he’s not exactly keeping a high profile in his new job?

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