Eric Edelman – Arch NeoCon

From Informed Comment.

The Last Neocon Attacks Hillary

You might gather from a cursory examination of the wire services that “the Pentagon” has attacked Senator Hillary Clinton for requesting a briefing for her committee from the Department of Defense on contingency plans for withdrawal from Iraq.

But as Fred Kaplan of Slate pointed out, it was a specific bureaucrat who criticized her, undersecretary of defense for planning Eric Edelman. Edelman wrote to Senator Clinton (text at Talkingpointsmemo):

‘ 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. … Such talk understandably unnerves the very same Iraqi allies we are asking to assume enormous personal risk in order to achieve compromises of national reconciliation. ‘

Edelman moved into government in the Reagan era, as RightWeb explains. He was close to Richard Perle, among the inventors of the warmongering Neoconservative ideology. In 1992 he was part of the Neoconservative team (which included Paul Wolfowitz) that co-authored a security doctrine for the United States that aimed at perpetual hegemony and implied perpetual aggression to prevent the emergence of “peer” powers.

He served as Dick Cheney’s national security adviser in the early zeroes and, along with convicted felon Irv Lewis Libby, was heavily involved in getting up the fraudulent and illegal Iraq War.

He was then sent as ambassador to Turkey to shore up that front in the war effort, after the Turkish parliament denied the US military permission to march through Anatolia into neighboring Iraq. He was denounced by Turkish commentators for behaving in Ankara like a colonial viceroy rather than like an ambassador. And then when arch-Neocon and then deputy secretary of defense Doug Feith was forced out under a cloud after one of his subordinates was caught spying for Israel, Edelman was installed as his successor. In other words, Cheney arranged for one Neoconservative to replace another.

Lest anyone doubt Edelman’s conversion to the Neoconservative cause, it should be remembered that when the Government Accounting Office lambasted Feith’s open interference in intelligence analysis and his practice of actually briefing his superiors on intelligence (which is forbidden to and probably illegal for defense department bureaucrats), Edelman wrote a long defense of Feith’s corrupt practices and forced the GAO to drop actual policy recommendations for ensuring they did not recur.

In my view, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates should have fired Edelman on the spot, since his subordinate was basically announcing his commitment to the kind of shady and illegitimate practices that Feith (whom then Secretary of State Colin Powell called ‘a card-carrying member of the [Israeli] Likud [Party]’) and his allies such as Cheney used to drag the United States into an Iraq War.

So, Hillary was not criticized by a military officer. No evidence Edelman knows one end of an M-16 from another. She was not criticized by a Defense Department veteran. Edelman is just a recently installed understudy to Feith.

Who was she criticized by? Just one of the last Neoconservatives who hasn’t yet been forced out of office because he abused the public trust or who hasn’t yet slid into a criminality fostered by sublime arrogance.

By implying that Clinton is a traitor, Edelman inserted himself into a presidential campaign on the Republican side. That is not a legitimate role for the third man in charge of the Pentagon.

Edelman knows the score and knew exactly what he was doing. Gates now has a second opportunity to do the right thing and fire Edelman. Otherwise, his already difficult task of restoring morale to the Pentagon will be complicated by the realization on the part of many DoD employees and military personnel that the Pentagon is once again being deployed for petty partisan purposes that leech out the meaning and morale of their institution.

As a civil servant, Edelman is supposed to be working for you and me. We pay his salary. Instead, he is working for some narrow partisan interest. He has forfeited his right to his taxpayer-supported office.


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