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21 July 2007


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this current admin. at the helm of the executive branch, couldn't find water if it were sprinkling on its face.

sen. clinton needs to stomp a mississippi mudhole right in the middle of edelman, and not be gentle about it. the senate armed services committee membership needs to request that dod terminate mr. edelman's employment as soon as possible. i'm sure that edelman could find a job sweeping floors somewhere else.


I am afraid that this relationship between the executive and senate will persist until congress demonstrates that it has the will and the ability to push back. Unfortunately the executive is driven by an adolescent view of the world and they will continue to flex their muscles until someone delivers that punch to the jaw. What they will do then is anyone's guess.


Col. Lang,
I am convinced now more than ever it will be those who served in VN, such as yourself, Webb, Zinni, Hagel or Clark that will lead our country to a solution in Iraq.
Well done, sir.


I dimly recall that Rumsfeld, a few months prior to his departure from the Pentagon, got similarly snippy when a foolish journalist posed the same question.

My guess - and it really is just a speculative punt - is that there have been orders from "on high" that specifically ban the military from indulging in any concrete withdrawal planning.

David W

On the eve of the start of the Iraq war, my comment was, 'Winning the 'war' is just the start--they had better have a plan worked out for governing Iraq.' It took about a day to figure out this wasn't the case.

Given that this is the same bunch of partisan hacks, it's no suprise that there is no contingency planning for the pullout--the only thing these clowns know how to plan are political PR events.

Wayne White

It is difficult for me to believe that the Pentagon--especially under the relatively more sensible Bob Gates--hasn't engaged in some such planning, but is likely stonewalling in order not to admit that it might actually consider such action--something that it fears could undermine current strategy. But bearing in mind the track record of this Administration, one certainly cannot make that assumption.

In fact, the Pentagon's response in this instance probably is part of a disturbing pattern in which anything that might smack of withdrawal or raise the prospects of same cannot be either done or admitted.

The disgraceful and tragic dirth of U.S. assistance for millions of displaced Iraqis--a result of our intervention in Iraq--almost certainly is based on the assumption that if appropriate amounts of humanitarian aid were provided, many more would follow, further undermining the current strategy. If I am correct regarding the rationale behind our treatment of the refugee issue, what a cruel and calculated posture this would represent--yet another new low in the U.S.-Iraq saga since 2003.

Cloned Poster

Gates shouldn't fire him yet. Let the guy stay in the headlights for a while.

In a column for the newspaper Yeni Safak, Karagul wrote: “Considering the range of his activities, his statements which violate the decorum of democracy, and his interest in Turkey's internal affairs, Eric Edelman acts more like a colonial governor than an ambassador. Edelman's actions have exceeded his diplomatic mission. His ‘interest' in nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the Turkish media, and ethnic minorities make him go beyond his role as an ambassador. His presence here has never contributed to Turkish-American relations, and it never will. If we want to address the reasons for anti-Americanism, Edelman must be issue one. As long as Edelman stays in Turkey, the chill wind disturbing bilateral relations will last.”

W. Patrick Lang


I agree that he should be allowed to "turn slowly in the wind" for a while yet.


She seems to have asked when told that the armed forces were not being allowed to do such planning in secret. pl

W. Patrick Lang


Yes. pl

Leila A.

I just signed my name to a statement swearing to uphold and protect the US Constitution against all enemies, foreign or domestic. This is in preparation to teach freshman English at the local community college.

Seems to me that I have a duty, under this oath, to discover how much my students understand about our government, and then fill them in on the separation of powers, checks and balances, and so forth. I used to be suspicious of discussing "current events" in Freshman Comp. Now I see it is my obligation. The course outline adopted by the college insists that I foster their critical thinking. Between that charge and the vow to uphold the Constitution, it seems I have no choice but to bring up these matters in class.

This business worries me. I really don't know how many Americans "get" the problem here, and how many actually care.

Where is the Congress? Why aren't they pushing back?


I say Edelman should be fired and Gates should apologize to Senator Clinton.

webley webster

"I am afraid that this relationship between the executive and senate will persist until congress demonstrates that it has the will and the ability to push back."

I'm frustrated too, but can' think of many things that might be possible.

What kind of (legal) actions do you think they should try?

The best I've ben able to come up with is suspend the WH budget and the salaries of all no civil services ex branch employees.

frank durkee

The reason the congress is not "pushing back" is that on any 'push back legislation the Republican cacaus is threatening a filibuster. That means that such actions need 60 votes not a simple majority of 51. it's all legal. The mainstream press hasn't made this clear so the Democrats get the blame for being unable to act. this is clearl political strategy played out before our eyes by the Republican cacaus. So the pressure belongs on the republicans to shift their stance.
Only in the direct investigative functions can the Democratic party control the direction of inquirey. Even here the increasingly broad and unprecedented claims of " executive privilige" are used to stonewall these investigations. The Republicans and this administration clearly have much to hide. they are usong the instruments available to them as powerfully as they can. Much of it is traditional, but not all. What is clear ablut this administration is that they are willing to stonewall, partially because they have things to hide and partially because they are seeking to increase the strength of the executive branch. Here in addition to Franklin's comment, Lord Acton, the great 19th Century English historian's comment is apro pro "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely". Bush et al seek inso far as they can absolute power mostly under the War Powers Act. Actons is perhaps a cliche and yet clearly it was the experience of the abuses of both 'absolute power' by kings and parlimentary power over colonies that led to the checks on power in our "Republican experiment". whether they said it or not they understood the reality that Acton pointed to very clearly and sought to avoid itt's occurrence and clearly understood the possibility of losing both the 'Republic' and freedom. they were after all trained in the classics and knew the downfall of representative government in both Greece and Rome from the forces of personal ambition, institutional drift and the 'playing on the emotions of the demos by demagagues. clearly all three are at work in our present situation.
It may simply be the nostalgia of age [74] but we could use the understanding, orientation, and awareness of limits of people like Truman, Vandenburg, and General Marshal very badly at this juncture of our history.


col Lang, Thank you so very much for this analysis which helps me understand so very myuch more. I read here often, but rarely comment, as I am clearly in a group of people I should listen to, instead of speaking what is only my opinion...

I come here today thanks to link on No Quarter, and I just have to say, the knowledge that Edelman has a 'interest' or 'principle interest' in Plamegate, should have been disclosed, and he should have recused himself, IMHO. but as you say above: " We live in an age in which the forces of anti-republicanism and anti-constitutionalism are strong.

Franklin was right. We can have a republic if we are strong enough to keep it." pl

Where are those Patriots in our Congress and SENATE who are willing to stand up to these (#$%$@#@^%)(fill in the blank) people who have silently and willingly destroyed so much that which all of us hold dear??? Where are they who will stand up with Joe and Val, all the VIPS, and more importantly, to the OATH they SWORE to Take??? I want to Stand with Them...

Thanks for all your great work Col... I learned alot from some of the lectures on Islam that you have kindly shared thru the University... God Speed.

John Howley

If Bush is allowed to hand power to his successor without a serious challenge from Congress to his violations of the Constitution, then it will amount to a de facto ratification of Caesarism by the legislative branch.

Conservative attorney Bruce Fein made this point strongly on 13 July edition of Bill Moyers.



I don't believe you'll get your country back short of
impeachment and revolution.

The presidential election is a meaningless orgy of fundraising and deal making, fixed when necessary with increasing guile and subtlety. No future President no matter how wise and virtuous, is going to be allowed to willingly cede any of the vast power allegedly enjoyed by the executive branch. The suitably reconstituted Supremes will defend against backsliding.

Your legislatures are gerrymandered to virtually guarantee incumbent majorities. A change in majorities can be meaningless, as we've seen - an intentional result. Legislation itself requires special majorities further impeding accountability let alone change. Partisanship screams treason to cover its crimes and reduce patriots. Corruption and intrigue abound in a miasma of 'national security' imposed by a reserve army of interchangeable and expendable minions of Power who follow an Orwellianly scripted secret program of domestic oppression, financial flimfammery and international expansion.

Foreign powers great and small command the fealty of your military industrial complex and manipulate the national neuroses, as they acquire ever more of your citizen's treasure.

Religious Fundamentalism becomes a prerequisite to White House internships while powerful Fundamentalists seek to employ government to achieve their appallingly apocalyptic version of Heaven on Earth - with the approval of a huge % of the population. Government itself wages war on science and human nature, and on the idea of Government itself, ever seeking to widen the hidden ambit of private Power while reducing the liberty of the private Citizen.

No, until there is either a legislature that pushes back, or a Red White and Blue people's revolution - during which those parts of FEMA and Homeland Secuirty that were MEANT to function in an "emergency" will be rolled out - America is really in a crisis. A crisis which can only get worse and worse, politically, socially, financially, security-wise, because the imperative of private, secret government unfettered by outside correction now has a gigantic, fantastically profitable momentum of its own. A situation which assures that the financial architecture that supports your non-legislatures under a veneer of legality remains robustly in place, indeed, growing ever larger and stronger. That imperative by its very nature, no matter what fantastic feats it impels, can only make bigger mistakes with more disastrous consequences until, well, until the shite REALLY hits the fan.

Because that imperative only stops when its thrusting knife hits steel Stalin's metaphor goes - and to mangle another one even more, American steel, I recall, has either been bankrupted, sold abroad, or cowers behind the tariff skirts of the world's biggest debtor and free trade advocate.

It seems powerless to resist Power


The Busheviks seem to think that the U.S. Senate is merely a debate club that exists to sign blank checks and bestow Godhood upon dead emperors. Edelman is obviously one of those dodgy "recess appointments," like the rabid John Bolton, who was never confirmed by said Senate--can't think why.

The Washington Post article, "Exit Strategies," insists that there have been war games conducted with various scenearios. One fact that emerged is that Al Qaeda in Iraq will be roadkill in any post-occupation scenario.


July 20 was the anniversary of the 1944 bomb plot against Hitler by German Army officers, which demonstrated how the "Fuhrer Principle" can destroy a nation without democratic constraints. There is of course much self-congratulation in Germany about the failed plot. But there was a great take on this in the old "Hogan's Heroes" comedy series. Col. Hogan is handing the bomb to an aristocratic German officer who makes disparaging remarks about Hitler.

"Don't worry Colonel," the officer assures him, "we will remove that Bohemian Corporal from office."

"You'd better," Hogan replies with withering contempt. "You're the same ones who put him IN office."

This is very true. The last chance to save Democracy in Germany came in 1934 when the Army foreswore their oath to defend the Weimar Constitution and took an oath of obedience to Hitler, who had combined the offices of President and Chancellor in a blatant breach of that Constitution. The soldiers took the new oath because their officers told them to. And now some of those officers were suffering buyer's remorse.


Mr. Edelman, of course, should be dismissed. He is a recess apppointment beholden to Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rumsfeld and their network, to whom he almost certainly communicates daily.

Mr. Gates is dancing on a trip wire; Mr. Cheney, no doubt, aggressively resents his presence. Even at the risk of further alienating Cheney, were that possible, it seems unwise for Mr. Gates to allow Edelman to remain. His presence must make it harder for Gates to establish relationships with his flag officers and top staff, and lead his troops without Edelman and company constantly working at cross purposes.

Separately, Congress and the American people have an urgent need to understand that adequate plans are in place. Details can be left to the appropriate Congressional committees and the Pentagon. But the outlines are essential for many reasons, including the November 2008 election.

Among other things, I bet 20:1 that none of Bush's prior requests for funds includes a dime for withdrawal. So, Congress will need to know what these plans are and have estimates of their costs.

No doubt, Mr. Bush intends never to use such plans - assuming there are any; he didn't want plans for what to do when he got there, so why should he plan for how to leave? And even should he contemplate withdrawal, his style would be to force his plans down Congress' throat via an emergency supplemental, denying it adequate time to review either the plans themselves or their cost.

Equally without doubt, Bush would not want disclosed how these plans deal with residual forces, including most glaringly, the 180,000 odd mercenaries and other contractors now in Iraq. Plans that exclude them would be wholly inadequate. But then those forces have been contracted and accounted for separately - hiding their scale and cost - and Bush would not want either aggregated with the process and cost for dealing with acknowledged troop levels.

All in, Mrs. Clinton has hit on a hot button that exposes strategic, tactical or political weaknesses of the White House. Not to mention possibly contentious, inadequate or catastrophic plans.

I also bet 20:1 that Edelman got direction or sign off on the tenor of that response to Mrs. Clinton from Big Dick. Given its tenor, it seems unlikely Gates saw it at all. Did he see Clinton's original?


Juan Cole today has a long account of Edelmann's thuggeries and illegalities:


Dave of Maryland

So far as our dear Prez is concerned, and as much as I know about his life, it seems to me that he has lived it one day at a time, ever since he was a boy. He won yesterday. He wins today, he will win tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that. It's not that he hasn't any plans, but that he's always had the same plan: To dare you to stop him. To date, no one ever has. Will he leave Iraq, will he leave office in January, 2009, or will he gamble on yet another dare? Is the answer not increasingly clear?

(So far as hanging around beyond his January end date, decapitation of the newly elected leadership, hours ahead of the inauguration, is all that would be necessary. We must suffer Caesar's whim.)

Yes, petulant, bratty, self-centered, all of that. As are his adoring friends, of which he has many. The reason he cannot remember making a mistake, is that, for his entire life, he's never lost. If he's never lost, then by definition he's never made a single mistake.

George W. Bush smirks for a reason. If I were him, I would, too.

michael savoca

In his July `12 press conference the president lies to the amereican people saying that in iraq we are fighting alqaeda when the numbers show that less than 1/2 of 1% (135) of the captured insurgency are foreigners, and in fact we are fighting Iraqis for control of their own country.


Paul Craig Roberts the undersecretary of the treasury under President Ronald Reagan warns us that it appears this president Bush is moving toward seizing control of the government with extra constitutional powers and the time left to save our government is fast running out.

(must read last two paragraphs)

Representative Peter DeFazio, a member of the house committee on homeland security was denied access by president Bush to a document that authorizes how the government will operate in the event of the next terrorist attack.


You must contact your US congressional representative now and demand impeachment or risk loosing our representative form of government.

Babak Makkinejad


I think you guys are reading too much into this - I doubt that the Constitutional Order in the United States is in any grave danger now. Was not US in more danger in that regard under LBJ? Or Lincoln? Or Jackson?


What we have is an Administration that is out of control and has no respect for the Constitution, the law, Congress or tradition. They are willing to flout all norms and laws and challenge anyone to stand up to them. They have demonstrated that they will take actions that are extreme and state they are above the law and no one can force them to do anything.

The Administration has made it clear that will not respond to any subpoena issued by Congress which is a co-equal branch under our Constitution. They have further stated that they will order the DoJ to not prosecute any contempt citation voted by Congress. So effectively this Administration has stated that Congress cannot enforce any actions.

So what will they do next? Will they just order the treasury to pay bills for which Congress has not appropriated funds? Who will prevent that from happening if the Treasury chose to obey Bush's orders? Who will the military listen to - the Commander Guy or Congress? Is this what a coup looks like? Does America care?


david shuster reported on msnbc friday night that it was 'very likely and almost probable' that gates read and signed off on edelman's letter.

so, in light of the comments that the pentagon is being restricted in its contingency planning, is it possible that gates gave edelman just enough rope to hang himself with -- presuming the response to the letter would be outrage and condemnation leading to edelman's ouster. result being the removal of a significant cheneyite from the pentagon.

have we really reached thaat level of intrigue, or is it just too late on a saturday nite...

Martin K

Sir, you write: "She seems to have asked when told that the armed forces were not being allowed to do such planning in secret."

How is that possible? Who has the formal power to deny paths of contigency-planning? How is that technically possible, who has that power? Because, if real, that is a really remarkable decision wich makes it hard not to draw conclusions to other small corporals who decided that there would be no retreat on the eastern front, and damn the generals... How did that power get into politics, that politicans have the power to determine what the army is allowed to plan for?

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