Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Gates at "Iraq Hearings"

This sounds strange to me. I thought that he was starting his confirmation hearings. All other posts on the Gates say this is his confirmation hearing, but apparently this reporter couldn't figure that out. No doubt the political posturing will give many the desire to see the whole committee destroyed. I'll have to see if it's on CSPAN.
The political calendar may say the first presidential debates are in May, but really they'll begin today and Thursday for three key senators - including Sen. Hillary Clinton - at key Iraq war hearings.

This morning, the Senate Armed Services Committee, with Democratic frontrunner Clinton, GOP favorite Sen. John McCain and Democratic Indiana hopeful Sen. Evan Bayh, will grill Robert Gates on his Pentagon nomination.

On Thursday, the same panel will grill members of the Iraq Study Group on their much-anticipated prescription for dealing with the intractable war.

For Clinton - who added some heavyweight campaign help to her staff yesterday - the hearings will be prime moments in the spotlight to show her potential as commander-in-chief. She'll be sharing that spotlight with her rivals.

"While they are asking their questions, why not craft a sound bite or two, establishing yourself as an attractive candidate?" said GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway.

A "sound byte or two?" I'm going to guess that all those named will be posturing big time. They'll be asking the "difficult questions" no doubt. I'm betting they're going to be about a civil as a pack of hyena.
"This is her chance to regain her stature as the clear front-runner while showing what everyone believes has become one of her strengths - national security," said Julian Zelizer, a Boston University political scientist.

Bayh, who began his presidential exploration yesterday, has similar needs, but is desperate for the limelight, having been eclipsed by Obama mania.

McCain is likely to stick to his maverick line of deploying even more troops to Iraq, reinforcing his independent position.

Conway said all three must get past blaming President Bush and suggest a way forward. She said that's "the difference between presidential timber and presidential woodshed."

Not going to happen. I'll put money that they'll make suggestions, but that they'll take a turn throwing spears at the President.

The LATimes seems to think Gates is "shoo-in."
SO UNPOPULAR IS Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, and such is Washington's eagerness to be rid of him, that the Senate Armed Services Committee is expected to take no more than a day to question his anointed successor, Robert M. Gates.

A former CIA director, Gates is a shoo-in. But senators should nevertheless use his confirmation hearings, slated to begin today, to put Gates on notice that he will have to reestablish the trust of Congress and the American people about whether to believe what the military — and other agencies — say about intelligence matters.
I love this line from the article:
The struggle against Islamic terrorism requires intelligence that is not corrupted by politics. Senators should ask Gates questions designed to ensure that the intelligence the nation's leaders will use to make tactical and strategic decisions be as untainted as possible.
What a blindingly naive statement. No matter how the intelligence is written, it will be reanalyzed by some politician to meet their needs. The starting assumption seems to be that Gates isn't trustworthy, which is no real surprise considering his prior political scuffles.

I'm going to bet on "really ugly" for these hearings.

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