Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pentagon slams Hillary Clinton over Iraq.

Iraq: Nice.

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.

Olbermann is outraged! But the left can't have this charge over their heads because this time around unlike Vietnam, their refusal to fight anywhere is going to be used as a hammer against them. Allahpundit points out the reason for this "outrage."

As for the substance of it, he’s pegging off of this jerky bit of demagoguery by the undersecretary of defense, which he doesn’t really care about. What he’s doing, and which some of the nutroots have already done in the past month or so, is getting out in front of the curve of political recriminations that’ll start after the withdrawal begins and America has to face the self-loathing it’ll feel from defeat.

They’re pushing the meme that right-wingers are preparing to blame them for it, i.e., for having “stabbed America in the back,” even though most people understand it was Bush’s own failure to better prepare for the invasion and its aftermath that’s to blame. But even that’s disingenuous: they know they’ve got a political windfall coming from defeat (Harry Reid keeps chirping about it) and that young voters skew overwhelmingly Democratic thanks to Bush, so they’re not sincerely worried about recriminations.

They’re simply trying to place any criticism of themselves out of bounds, be it their Trutherish nutroots fondness for conspiracy theories about the timing and seriousness of terrorist attacks or the transparent ardor with which some of them hope for defeat, the better to use it as a Teachable Moment for the next time some Rethuglican is feeling hubristic. So don’t criticize them. Because you know what happens if you criticize them? Nazism.

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