Given the Administration’s abysmal track record for poor planning and ignoring consequences, we should be grateful that at least someone is thinking through the consequences of Iraq withdrawal scenarios. But since Ambassador Crocker claims he hasn’t heard about any real plans, even though in a country “gripped with fear” we might need them, it would seem appropriate for a member of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee to ask about this.
Apparently, however, if the member’s name is Hillary Clinton, she’s not only not entitled to ask about such essential contingency planning, she’s in for an insulting and publicly leaked rebuke from the Pentagon, written by an incompetent, dishonorable neocon hack whose nomination the Senate never approved. On the other hand, if you’re a Republican and your name is Richard Lugar, you can raise the same issue and not only are you not rebuked but everyone assumes you’re a wise, serious, and responsible person.
Of course, planning for a withdrawal contingency probably seems unnecessary for someone like General Petraeus, who was gung-ho about the chances for success for every plan the White House neocons wanted. But it’s telling that, while Petraeus tells Hugh Hewitt how well the surge is working, he and Odierno are telling Congress that they can’t possibly make an assessment until November.
While no one ever accused Eric Edelman of being the brightest bulb, it doesn’t seem to have occurred to his Pentagon superiors that it is probably not a good idea to insult a respected Senator who sits on your budget committee and who is doing the job the American people expect of her [h/t Biodun for Digby link] in watching out for the welfare of America’s armed forces. And then there’s that interesting scenario in which she just might become the Commander in Chief. It’s called contingency planning.
Just in case you missed KO’s special commentary on all this . . .
DoD Photo of Under Secretary of Defense, Eric Edelman