Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton hoping to calm a politically stoked exchange between the Pentagon and the Democratic presidential front-runner over planning for the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq.
In the three-page letter, obtained by The Associated Press Thursday, Gates sought to both agree with Clinton that congressional oversight of military planning is needed and at the same time defend his undersecretary of policy, Eric Edelman.
"I truly regret that this important discussion went astray and I also regret any misunderstanding of intention," Gates wrote.
"I agree with you that planning concerning the future of US forces in Iraq - including the drawdown of those forces at the right time - is not only appropriate but essential," Gates wrote, adding that Edelman also agrees with that point.
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