Pentagon claims Hillary helps the enemy

The Pentagon told Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton that her questions about how the U.S. plans to eventually withdraw from Iraq boosts enemy propaganda.

In a stinging rebuke to a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman responded to questions Clinton raised in May in which she urged the Pentagon to start planning now for the withdrawal of American forces.

A copy of Edelman’s response, dated July 16, was obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.

“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.

He added that “such talk understandably unnerves the very same Iraqi allies we are asking to assume enormous personal risks.”

Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines called Edelman’s answer “at once outrageous and dangerous,” and said the senator would respond to his boss, Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Clinton has privately and publicly pushed Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace two months ago to begin drafting the plans for what she said will be a complicated withdrawal of troops, trucks and equipment.

“If we’re not planning for it, it will be difficult to execute it in a safe and efficacious way,” she said then.

The strong wording of the response is unusual, particularly for a missive to a member of the Senate committee with oversight of the Defense Department and its budget.

Clinton aides said the letter ignored important military matters and focuses instead on political payback.

“Redeploying out of Iraq with the same combination of arrogance and incompetence with which the Bush administration deployed our young men and women into Iraq is completely unacceptable, and our troops deserve far better,” said Reines, who said military leaders should offer a withdrawal plan rather than “a political plan to attack those who question them.”

As she runs for president, the New York senator 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.

If she wins, Clinton may find herself overseeing such a withdrawal policy, but she is hardly alone in raising the issue.

Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana warned Thursday at a hearing that if U.S. military leaders and Congress “are not prepared for these contingencies, they may be executed poorly, especially in an atmosphere in which public demands for troop withdrawals could compel action on a political timetable.”

Edelman’s letter does offer a passing indication the Pentagon might, in fact, 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.”

Edelman is the Undersecretary of defense for policy. He is also a former U.S. ambassador and one-time aide to Vice President Dick Cheney. During the 2004 campaign, Cheney told Iowa voters that electing the Democratic ticket of John Kerry and John Edwards would risk another terrorist attack.

Kerry jumped to Clinton’s defense, deriding what he called smear tactics by the administration.

“They will say anything, do anything, and twist any truth to avoid accountability,” said the Massachusetts senator.


Associated Press Writer Anne Flaherty contributed to this report.


  1. Electric Bill

    Whatever you think of Hillary Clinton, is there any doubt that Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman’s response was crafted by the Republican lie machine, or maybe by the secret White House in Dick Cheney’s alternate universe. This is just another glaring example of how Bush/Cheney/Rove have corrupted and politicized the Pentagon and made it into another branch of the Republican National Committee. Of all the disgusting things Bush has done to this nation, including the thousands of dead and wounded in Iraq, the way the Pentagon has been politicized and corrupted stands as a glaring example of the absolute depths of depravity in Bu$hco. At one time I actually believed the American military was our bulwark against a dictatorial regime such as Bush/Cheney. I still believe in the integrity of most officers and enlisted personnel, but we have been shown a new underbelly of the American military, the political general. While these aren’t new, consider Westmoreland and others in Vietnam, I have never seen so many high ranking officers who are willing to flush their integrity and honor down the toilet for another star. With Pentagon officials like Eric Edelman continuing to carry the Rumsfield flame it’s not hard to see how that corruption has infested the higher levels of our military.

  2. bryan mcclellan

    You skinned the cat perfectly E- Bill,they are for the most part for sale for nothing more than tiny tin baubles and no doubt an oil stock portfolio.

  3. adamrussell

    The pentagon has no business trying to do politics. They should stick to doing their job, which should be trying to figure a way out of this mess.

  4. Carl Nemo

    Eric S. Edelman is a professional apparatchik;ie., member of the Council of Foreign Relations an organization that’s involved with the launching of the New World Order! I’ll supply a link to Edelman’s bio. Edelman’s education and background indicates he was born, educated, and groomed to “serve”.

    It is interesting that they would turn on Hillary, and bust her chops in such a public fashion. Hillary is the NWO’s favorite choice for the presidency, maybe there’s been a sea-change and they realize she’s not a slam dunk and have some other ideas as to who will be a better choice for the Dems. Their main focus is being able to control both sides of the game by having their players in place representing both parties; i.e, maintaining a “republicrat” paradigm. People need to get it in their heads there is no genuine two-party system in this country at this point in history. Politically and financially everything associated with the U.S. is nothing but smoke and mirrors… 😐

    Carl Nemo **==

  5. gene

    “People need to get it in their heads there is no genuine two-party system in this country at this point in history.”

    Nailed it again Carl as you usually do. Their is a party though, a party of evil men setting the stage for the NWO. Its been in busines for hundres of years and now is exposing itself but most do not see it for what it really is.

  6. dakine01

    Somehow, I don’t think Mr Edelman has much of a grip on reality. Of course, given his boss, that’s not a wonder either. But since he’s another person filling a role for which he was not confirmed by the Senate AND insulting a Senator sitting on the appropriations committee who, even in demented Bush land, has control over the purse strings, I reckon he just wanted to go back to whatever wingnut welfare job he has lined up.

  7. Donnat

    He better watch out, he may be reporting to her some time in the future, though undoubtedly, this smear tactic was designed to help keep her from it.

    Lies and smear tactics are all the GOP has left.


  8. SEAL

    Having been a career military officer at a level 2-3 steps under these Admirals and Generals Bush appoints to run the Iraq show, it has been interesting to watch each of them matriculate in identical fashion. It would be almost impossible for any 2-3-4 star general to turn down being promoted to commander of the whole she-bang. That is the final step of their military career. Reaching the goal all officers dream of. Ego is involved. They believe they can straighten the mess out. And the extra star that goes with it makes a difference of how much they will be paid in retirement.

    I know damn well they are lied to when they are offered the job. No officer would accept it if they were told that Bush would be making the military decisions. They find that out as they go along and the longer they are there, the more they have to put up with Bush interference and being ordered to do that which is wrong. They can take only so much and begin to argue with Bush who, as we know, will not tolerate being told he is wrong. This is the point where they are replaced. It has taken about one year in every case.

    The bottom line for all these generals is what should or shoud not be done to win a war. That is what they are all about. If they are not allowed to run the war properly, they cannot stay. They may be sucked in to the politics for a little while but, to their credit, what and who they are comes through in the end. When that happens, they are gone.

  9. mary cali

    There they go again!!! The GOP seems to have a permanent place for McCarthy style tactics in their bag of dirty tricks.