Thursday, July 26, 2007

The apology was nice and all, now make with firing Edelman already

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates sent a nice letter to Hillary Clinton on Wednesday, apologizing for the accusation by Eric Edelman that “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.” by asking about Pentagon plans to withdraw from Iraq.

Gates' letter, dated Wednesday, insisted that was not the point of Edelman's missive.

"I emphatically assure you that we do not claim, suggest, or otherwise believe that congressional oversight emboldens our enemies, nor do we question anyone's motives in this regard," Gates wrote.

The Defense secretary both agreed with Clinton that congressional oversight of military planning is needed and at the same time defended Edelman.

"I truly regret that this important discussion went astray and I also regret any misunderstanding of intention," Gates wrote.

"I agree with you that planning concerning the future of U.S. forces in Iraq — including the drawdown of those forces at the right time — is not only appropriate but essential," Gates wrote, adding that Edelman also agrees with that point.

"You may rest assured that such planning is indeed taking place with my active involvement," he wrote in the letter.

Of course, the apology was rather blunted by the bit about Edelman being "a valued member” who provides "wise counsel and years of experience (that) are critically important to the many pressing policy issues facing the military."

He is not irreplaceable, and Gates should fire him. His bio, afterall, is not impressive in the least. He is perceived by the Turks to have been the worst ambassador to Turkey ever, in fact, the Turks practically threw a tickertape parade when the feckless fool left the post.

Oh – and lest anyone forget - he was installed as Undersecretary of Defense by a recess appointment. He was such a poor nominee that his nomination stalled in the Republican Rubber Stamp Senate in the 109th Congress.