White House insists war czar supports escalation.

Yesterday, ThinkProgress noted that President Bush’s new “war czar,” Gen. Douglas Lute, has said that reducing U.S. troop levels would “undercut the perception of occupation in Iraq,” and said “we would like to see a smaller, lighter, less prominent U.S. force structure in Iraq.” The New York Times reports tonight:

A spokesman said General Lute was not available for comment on Tuesday evening. Mr. Hadley said the general had expressed his doubts, but that he now supports the strategy.

“He said to me when he interviewed for this position, ‘Now, you need to understand that I was skeptical of the surge,’ “ Mr. Hadley recalled, using the administration term for the troop buildup in Iraq. He said that General Lute, who helped to develop the strategy, had raised questions about whether “Iraqi security forces would step up and contribute what they were supposed to do,” and whether the Iraqi government was committed to political reconciliation and providing economic resources.

“We developed a strategy that we thought answered those questions,” Mr. Hadley said, adding, “He’s saying that he supports the strategy, very clearly supports the strategy.”