Hey, We Have a War Czar!

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Sorry, sorry, the Bush Administration doesn’t like the title “War Czar.” The official title of the man named to personally oversee the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan on behalf of the president is “assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan policy and implementation.” Sure, much easier than “War Czar.”

The guy’s name is Douglas Lute, and he’s a three star general — as the guy in charge of making Iraq go right, he may have the hardest job in America. My question: what does the Secretary of Defense do all day, play tiddlywinks?

Update: Looks like Lute advocated partial withdrawal in 2005, saying “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.” Man, the White House must have had a real hard time finding someone to take this job — they couldn’t even get someone who supports the central tenets of their war policy!

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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