Friday, July 20, 2007

Second Dumbest Guy on the Planet

Most of the Cheney crew is gone--Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, famously described by Gen. Tommy Franks as “the dumbest guy on the planet.” But Feith’s replacement as Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Eric S. Edelman, is still there to carry on the tradition.

Yesterday he did his mentors proud with a snippy response to Hillary Clinton, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who had asked about Pentagon planning to bring troops home from Iraq.

In response, Edelman wrote, "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," adding that "such talk understandably unnerves the very same Iraqi allies we are asking to assume enormous personal risks."

Sen. Clinton, who was not thrilled to receive a political lecture in answer to a policy question, plans to take it up with Edelman’s boss, Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The incident may help explain why in 2005 President Bush had to bypass the Senate and use a constitutional power to put Edelman in the job. Rumsfeld had called his predecessor Feith, who masterminded the policy of ignoring the Geneva Conventions that led to Abu Ghraib, "one of the most brilliant individuals in government."

Edelman is right in that mold.

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