The general needs some help with the business of TV interviews. He is not a good speaker. He was stiff, spoke in a monotone and had a number of verbal tics. Nevertheless, I think it was a good thing for him to be on television. He needs the exposure. On the plus side he spoke with a certain lack of pretense and was straightforward in the way that one would expect. He should keep it up.
He made it clear that his conception of his role is that of the head of a staff planning agency that works out in detail the papers and briefings that support the commander in chief's decisions. This is a classic military notion reflecting a mastery of the art of supported decision making that lies at the heart of much of military staff work. Like the good soldier that he is, Jones can follow as well as lead and he is doing both. Eisenhower's original thinking on the functioning of the National Security Council staff was much like this. Another military man. This means that Jones has no intention of becoming a competitor in the "interagency." He wants to be a colleague to Clinton, Gates and Blair, not their rival. Because of this he does not want the kind of vainglorious public stance that someone like Kissinger loved so much. All of that is to the good.
Then the bad news — We are clearly headed down the primrose path in Afghanistan. See Walter Pincus' piece in the Washington Post today. pl