Skip to comments.Clinton Strikes Back at Pentagon Aide
Posted on 07/21/2007 2:24:49 PM PDT by Baladas
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday accused the Pentagon of impugning her patriotism simply because she raised questions about U.S. planning for the eventual withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
The politically heated back-and-forth began Thursday with a sharply worded missive from Eric Edelman, undersecretary of defense for policy, to Clinton warning that such questions boost enemy propaganda.
Clinton pressed Edelman's boss, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, on Friday, asking if he agreed with his aide's charge. The New York senator said in a statement that Edelman had ducked her questions and "instead made spurious arguments to avoid addressing contingency planning."
Later in the day, in a conference call with reporters, Clinton called Edelman's argument "offensive and totally inappropriate," and said it was more evidence that smart military planning is being subverted by misguided White House strategies.
"I don't want to wake up and be surprised once again that what any of us would have assumed was absolutely accepted has been derailed or stonewalled by the White House because it doesn't fit the ideological or political agenda," she said.
She was joined in the conference call by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., the 2004 Democratic nominee. The two plan legislation forcing the Pentagon to report to Congress about withdrawal plans.
Clinton said she and Kerry were "shocked by the timeworn tactic of once again impugning the patriotism of any of us who raise serious questions" about the Iraq war. Kerry accused the Bush administration of making "planning a dirty word and an alien concept."
Clinton first raised the issue of troop withdrawal planning in May, pointing out that whenever U.S. forces leave, it will be no simple task to transport the people, equipment and vehicles out of Iraq, possibly through hostile territory.
Edelman's tough response in a letter dated July 16 and obtained Thursday by The Associated Press was surprising in part because it came in correspondence with a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which has oversight of the Pentagon.
"Premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda that the United States will abandon its allies in Iraq, much as we are perceived to have done in Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia," Edelman wrote Clinton.
His letter does indicate the Pentagon might be planning how to withdraw, saying: "We are always evaluating and planning for possible contingencies. As you know, it is long-standing departmental policy that operational plans, including contingency plans, are not released outside of the department."
As she runs for president, Clinton has ratcheted up her criticism of the Bush administration's war effort, answering critics of her 2002 vote to authorize the Iraq invasion by saying she would end the war if elected president.
Edelman, the undersecretary for policy at the Pentagon, is a former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, and a public feud between him and Clinton may win her points among anti-war voters and liberal Democrats, a critical constituency in primary voting.
Among her top Democratic rivals, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois has argued that he opposed the war from the start when he was serving in the Illinois legislature. John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator, has disavowed his 2002 vote giving President Bush the authority to oust Saddam Hussein's regime.
Her response to Edelman also suggests Democrats are still smarting from what they claim were rough Republican tactics during the 2004 presidential race. Democrats also directed some of their ire at then-nominee Kerry, contending that he did not respond quickly or forcefully enough to broadsides such as the unsubstantiated allegations from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
"A long time ago I learned what happens when you stand up to powerful people in a time of war," said Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran who later protested the war. If Clinton ultimately wins the White House, she may find herself overseeing a troop withdrawal from Iraq, but others have also raised the issue, including Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana.
Apparently Evita Rodham Clinton doesn’t know the difference between withdrawal(after victory) and retreat under fire.
She assumes we are going to suddenly leave under fire.
She is not a patriot........
It stood out as bold text in my eyes. The MSM dare never ever mention Somalia.
Kudos to Edelman.
Edelman isn’t the “powerful person,” Senator Kerry. Shrillary is.
Whoops, someone at the AP is about to be fired, can't use the Rodham name with Mrs. Clinton anymore. One must not be connected to Tony Rodham, you know.
I’m waiting for Gates to admit that Hillary’s hated truth-teller was out of line and will be looking for a new job. I was shocked, in fact, not to read in the above article that it had already happened.
Heh, AP’s bias isn’t too subtle, is it?
AP doesn’t for “Associated(with terrorists) Press” for nothing.
Hillary Clawes again!!!!....
“Im waiting for Gates to admit that Hillarys hated truth-teller was out of line and will be looking for a new job. I was shocked, in fact, not to read in the above article that it had already happened.”
No there will be a couple of mealy-mouthed excuses and apologies by Gates and/or Bush and then they will throw him under the bus.
This is so typical of coward, Hillary that is, going around Eric and to the head. She can’t even tell him straight on. I know several people like that. Instead of talking directly to the person; they want to show they stuff and complain to the boss.
I don’t know why anyone would vote for her. She is a sneaky coward.
A) If the tactic is so "time-worn" why are you so shocked by it?
B) When the allies stormed the beaches at Normandy, did we call it the French war?
If Bush has any guts, he will stand up for you and confront Hillary himself.
OF COURSE HE GETS BRIEFS ON ALL CONTINGENCIES, Hillary, YOU IDIOT.
THIS ALL POLITICAL, and Edelman was right to snuff it out, because he was right.
And what does Obama know, more than any used car salesman.
Unnamed democrat: "You're questioning my patriotism!"
Unnamed republican: "...No, I'm not questioning your patriotism, you are completely un-patriotic, no question about it."
Or, umm, leak them!
Hillary has NO patriotism!
Hillary has no input on the domain of the executive on national security. She can no more order plans from the Pentagon than you or I.
This was merely pointed out to her and that her demand although useless as an exercise domestically only serves the propaganda purposes of the enemy.
She wanted to use this as a political tool to move to the Left, but she’s merely highlighted her cynical maniacal ambition which is both feckless and boundless.
Playing with fire
I checked and saw this excellent article on the evil Clinton duo hadn’t been posted, so I posted it.