Malkin on Clinton-Edelman exchange: "Wasn't this a case of Hillary ... playing armchair general?"

››› ››› SARAH PAVLUS

On the July 20 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, guest host Michelle Malkin led a discussion of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) request in May that the Pentagon brief Congress on what contingency plans, if any, it has for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq -- a request that Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman said "reinforces enemy propaganda." Malkin asked Fox News contributor Juan Williams, "Wasn't this a case of Hillary putting on her little imaginary four stars on her sleeve and playing armchair general? Isn't that perhaps what got the Pentagon so ticked off, Juan?"

Williams replied, "I don't think that she's playing four-star general. I think we have people on the Senate Armed Services Committee who are there to act in such a way as to oversee the activities of the Pentagon and to make sure that they are ready for any possible contingency. And obviously, we've been in this war now five years. And you've got to have some planning for exactly how we move forward, including how we possibly pull that hundred and, now, I guess, sixty thousand Americans out of Iraq."

From the July 20 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

MALKIN: Juan, what's so wrong with warning any public official that they should be careful what they say because it might have an impact on how the war is being waged?

WILLIAMS: Well, it's intended to, I think, chill the political discussion and debate over the war. And I think that's anti-Democratic.

Michelle, if you look at what -- the way you just introduced the topic, you said Edelman fired back at her and said to her, listen: Your demand for some sort of explanation of how U.S. troops might be withdrawn could give the enemy some reason to feel encouraged.

And, you know, that's the kind of talk that leads you to say, "You know what? You shouldn't say anything. You shouldn't be asking the Pentagon" -- which didn't do such a good job of preparing us to get into this war, which didn't properly equip the military, which is what Mrs. Clinton said in her letter -- it's saying, "We don't want to share with you any information we have." And the question then becomes, "You mean you have no planning, no strategy for how we could extricate American troops safely from Iraq?" If that's the case, that would be negligence.

MALKIN: Wasn't this a case of Hillary putting on her little imaginary four stars on her sleeve and playing armchair general? Isn't that perhaps what got the Pentagon so ticked off, Juan?

WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know. I don't think that she's playing four-star general. I think we have people on the Senate Armed Services Committee who are there to act in such a way as to oversee the activities of the Pentagon and to make sure that they are ready for any possible contingency. And obviously, we've been in this war now five years. And you've got to have some planning for exactly how we move forward, including how we possibly pull that hundred and, now, I guess, sixty thousand Americans out of Iraq.

MALKIN: You don't think that the Bush administration or the Pentagon at any time should warn either private citizens, public officials, public entities that they may say things or reveal things, for example, classified secrets that are splashed on the front page of The New York Times, that that could have an impact that undermines our safety and undermines the war?

What you're saying is that any time the Bush administration even contemplates saying these things, that they will be accused of having a chilling effect on the free speech of Americans who disagree with them.

WILLIAMS: Well, Michelle, Michelle, what secret did Hillary Clinton reveal? There's no secret there. It was about discussion. It was about, are plans being made? Are we prepared? And that's something that you would ask a child getting ready to cross the street in traffic, much less ask the United States military. They should be asked that question. It has nothing to do -- you know these kind of scare tactics, "Oh, you're revealing classified information. Oh, you're not being patriotic." That stuff has worked to shut people up for five years who have legitimate questions about how we're going into this war, weapons of mass destruction, all the rest.

And people have been intimidated. So I think Hillary Clinton is operating in a legitimate way as an American politician. And that's what Americans should do. We should have discussions.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Michelle Malkin
Show/Publication
The O'Reilly Factor
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.