Friday, July 27, 2007

Words Can Kill

It was just a week ago that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made headlines with her demand that the Pentagon confirm that it is making plans for a withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.

You may recall that the response from Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman was direct:

Premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda that the United States will abandon its allies.
Which response Ms. Clinton derided as "outrageous and offensive."

Perhaps Edelman should have pointed out that Senator Clinton's political posturing will cost lives, both American and Iraqi. According to a report by Ed Morrissey, the American commander tasked with bringing peace to Ninevah province has confirmed that
the highly-publicized demands to retreat from Iraq have damaged his command's ability to get good intel from the local populace. It has left them distrustful of the Americans, and fearful of a takeover by the terrorists in the wake of our departure.
Col. Stephen Twitty's answer, when he was asked whether political words in D.C. have damaged his capacity to work with local Iraqis in order to get intelligence on the enemy, was "Absolutely."

The loss is significant.

But, hey, political posturing is important, too.

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