Pentagon to Hillary: Don't State Your Anti-war Views on Iraq


Here's more evidence of the anti-democratic nature of the Bush administration that views itself as a regime that the people and its representatives ought not to question.

The Pentagon told U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton that voicing her views on withdrawing from Iraq is enemy "propaganda".

So, as the Bush administration implausibly vows that its latest mission is the formation of a democracy in Iraq to stop the 9/11 terrorists from leaving Iraq and coming to the United States (an outrageous lie), it has the nerve to call for halting domestic discussion of American foreign policy.

Make no mistake, the Bush administration is the enemy of democracy in the United States, and all measures ought to be considered to oust this out-of-control regime.

From the and A.P.:

By DEVLIN BARRETT Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - 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.

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.

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.

Update: Clinton Responds: 

July 19, 2007

The Honorable Robert M. Gates
Secretary of Defense
The United States Department of Defense
The Pentagon
Suite 319
Washington, D.C. 20301

Dear Mr. Secretary:

On May 22, 2007, I wrote to you to request that you provide the appropriate oversight committees in Congress - including the Senate Armed Services Committee - with briefings on what current contingency plans exist for the future withdrawal of United States forces from Iraq. Alternatively, if no such plans exist, I asked for an explanation for the decision not to engage in such planning.

I am in receipt of a letter from Eric Edelman, the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy who wrote that he was responding on your behalf. Under Secretary Edelman’s response did not address the issues raised in my letter and instead made spurious arguments to avoid addressing contingency planning for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.

As I noted in my original letter, “the seeds of many problems that continue to plague our troops and mission in Iraq were planted in the failure to adequately plan for the conflict and properly equip our men and women in uniform. Congress must be sure that we are prepared to withdraw our forces without any unnecessary danger.”

Rather than offer to brief the congressional oversight committees on this critical issue, Under Secretary Edelman - writing on your behalf - instead claims that congressional oversight emboldens our enemies. Under Secretary Edelman has his priorities backward. Open and honest debate and congressional oversight strengthens our nation and supports our military. His suggestion to the contrary is outrageous and dangerous. Indeed, you acknowledged the importance of Congress in our Iraq policy at a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee in March, when you stated, “I believe that the debate here on the Hill and the issues that have been raised have been helpful in bringing pressure to bear on the Maliki government and on the Iraqis in knowing that there is a very real limit to American patience in this entire enterprise.”

Redeploying out of Iraq will be difficult and requires careful planning. I continue to call on the Bush Administration to immediately provide a redeployment strategy that will keep our brave men and women safe as they leave Iraq - instead of adhering to a political strategy to attack those who rightfully question their competence and preparedness after years of mistakes and misjudgments.

Other members of this Administration have not engaged in political attacks when the prospect of withdrawal planning has been raised. At the June 7 Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing on Lieutenant General Douglas Lute, I asked General Lute “what level of planning has taken place” and “whether the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs have been briefed about the level of planning.” I also asked General Lute to determine “what kind of timeline would exist if a decision for either military or political reasons were taken to begin withdrawal” and if he considered this kind of planning to be part of his responsibilities.

General Lute replied, “Thank you Senator. I do think such an adaptation, if the conditions on the ground call for it, will be part of this position.”

I renew my request for a briefing, classified if necessary, on current plans for the future withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq or an explanation for the decision not to engage in such planning. I also renew my concern that our troops will be placed in unnecessary danger if the Bush Administration fails to plan for the withdrawal of U.S. Forces. Finally, I request that you describe whether Under Secretary Edelman’s letter accurately characterizes your views as Secretary of Defense.

I would appreciate the courtesy of a prompt response directly from you. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely yours,

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Update II:

- via

Defense Secretary Roberts Gates Distances Himself from Hillary Attack

“I have long been a staunch advocate of Congressional oversight, first at the CIA and now at the Defense Department. I have said on several occasions in recent months that I believe that congressional debate on Iraq has been constructive and appropriate. I had not seen Senator Clinton’s reply to Ambassador Edelman’s letter until today. I am looking into the issues she raised and will respond to them early next week.”

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Published

July 20, 2007 - 6:02am

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