Capn Jack's Flying Squirrels

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Fun at the Senate Gates Hearings

I try to limit my news intake to The Daily Show. However, I was in the car without my iPod the other day, and NPR was carrying the confirmation hearings for Robert Gates. Here are a couple observations.

It seemed during the hearing and the commentary afterward that Gates is seen as a an excellent nominee because when asked whether the war in Iraq was going well, he said no. I'm pretty sure that challenging question would only have tripped up about eleven people in the world--ten of them work at the White House, Tony Blair is the other.

I also enjoyed a pretty grueling line of questioning from one of the Republican senators that boiled down to this: "We want to spend more money on expensive defense programs. As Secretary, are you committed to spending more money?" I am not making that up.

I think the Rumsfeld legacy, which is really the Bush legacy, is that our standard for holding a cabinet post has become, "Does this individual have at least the intellectual capacity of a healthy chimpanzee and the moral integrity of a car salesman?"

Here is the most informative thing I got from my 15 minutes of paying attention. When asked whether he thought the Bush administration would act with urgency, Gates was quite sure they would. He's probably right, although I wouldn't insult the admninistration by expecting them to do the right thing with urgency, just something.

Consider the implications of this. We have been involved in this illegal, immoral and strategically ill-advised war for over three years. It has been getting steadily worse in every way for most of that time. Now there is a sense of urgency, but what changed? Has there been any significant change in the military situation? No. What about the political climate in Iraq or nearby countries. Definitely not. So what changed? The Senate changed hands and the Bush regime is getting blamed for it. There are only two conclusions you can draw from this. The first is that they knew they were full of crap the whole time, but didn't care until they got caught. The other is that they really thought they knew what they were doing. If that's true, to change now would be a sign of yielding their belief in what's best to political spin. Either one looks kind of icky to me.


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