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White House Seeks War 'Czar'
Associated Press  |  April 12, 2007
WASHINGTON - The White House is considering naming a high-powered official to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and report directly to President Bush and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.

The goal would be to improve the coordination of military and civilian efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan by different parts of the government.

The Washington Post reported that the White House has approached at least three retired four-star generals in recent weeks, but they have declined to be considered for the position.

National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Wednesday the White House has sought advice from a number of people but that no one has been offered the job.

Currently, the most senior White House official responsible exclusively for the wars is Meghan O'Sullivan, a deputy national security adviser who reports to Hadley. She has announced she is leaving, presenting an opportunity for the White House to rethink how it manages the wars.

"The White House is looking into creating a higher profile position that would have the single, full time focus on implementing and executing the recently completed strategic reviews for both Iraq and Afghanistan," Johndroe said. "This position would report directly to the president as well as Steve Hadley and have representatives in the offices of the secretaries of State and Defense in order to speed up and make more efficient the implementation of these strategies."

Presidential spokeswoman Dana Perino refused to say whether anyone had turned down the job.

"I will stress to you that there have been no decisions about any possible change in structure," Perino said. "There has been no list of candidates that's been narrowed down. It's an idea that is one very much in the making, so I don't have any more specifics for you that I can give to you on that."

Democrats poked fun at the White House for searching for an official to oversee the wars.

"Someone needs to tell Steve Hadley that position is filled, it's the commander in chief, unless the decider's become the delegator," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill.

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