Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Neocons vs. The Clintons

By Creature

The row between Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman and Senator Hillary Clinton [previous posts here and here] got slightly bigger yesterday as former President Clinton weighed in on Edelman's despicable comments. From ThinkProgress:

Clinton said Undersecretary Eric Edelman was “wrong” to send a letter to his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., criticizing her request for a briefing from Pentagon officials about military plans for a future withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. […]

In an interview with ABC’s Kate Snow in Lusaka, Zambia, Bill Clinton called Edelman “one of the more ideological holdovers” in the Defense Department.

“I think it’s wrong to politicize national security,” he said.

While President Clinton's words could have been stronger, the frame he provides by pointing out Edelman is an "ideological holdover" is very useful. Edelman is a spokesperson for today's Pentagon. Edelman is a neoconservative. Edelman shares the burden--though I doubt he feels any burden at all--for the disaster that is the Iraq war.

I may be harping on this point, but this row between the Pentagon, as represented by Edelman, and the Senate, as represented by Senator Clinton, provides us with a window from which to view the current power structure within the Bush administration 2.0, as represented by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

Yes, it all comes down to Gates.

Gates was sold as the new guard coming in to replace the neocon old. Gates was the president's answer to the 2006 thumpin' by the Democrats. Gates, praised by both sides of the aisle, was to be the sane voice shepherding the president from his preemptive past.

As we wait for a clear comment from Gates regarding his underling's statement, we wait to see who holds sway in the administration today. It could literally mean the difference between war and peace.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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