Shot across the bow

Telling Mrs. Clinton to mind her business.


Published July 19, 2007 11:10PM (EDT)

I guess the Pentagon is putting the little lady on notice that it doesn't care if it is supposed to be nonpartisan, it's not going to stand for her involving herself in the men's work:

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 ...

"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.

It's almost insubordinate, if you ask me. The Pentagon is not supposed to involve itself in electoral politics and it is supposed to be respectful of Congress, especially the committee that oversees it. To call her out specifically is outrageous. People all over the country are loudly and publicly saying the same thing, including many Republicans and all of the other Democratic candidates. I think the enemy has already sized up the domestic political situation here in the U.S., and if it hasn't, then we really don't have to worry about any enemies because they really are living in caves. Hillary Clinton's rather restrained call to make some contingency plans is hardly going to change the situation on the ground.

The Pentagon may try to claim that her allegedly dangerous statement means something more coming from a member of the Armed Services Committee, but there are a whole bunch of other members of that committee saying it too. No, the Pentagon is injecting itself into the presidential race and the debate in Congress in a thoroughly inappropriate way and it should be reprimanded for that.

(Yes, I know. And people in hell want ice water ...)


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Hillary Rodham Clinton Pentagon War Room