Friday, February 1, 2013

Old Man, Wrong Again

Much is being made of this exchange at the confirmation hearing for Chuck Hagel. Some see it as Hagel dodging the question. Others (let's call them realists, or intelligent) see it as a sad attempt by Senator McPOW to justify himself after he's done everything he can, even well before choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate, to destroy whatever credibility he might have, at one time, had. Or deserved.

Of course, Hagel's original statement was hyperbolic. The surge wasn't the worst foreign policy mistake since Vietnam; invading Iraq in the first place was.

So if McCain was talking syntax and word-choice, okay, it's arguable that he's right. But if the point was to get Hagel to admit the surge "worked," it's impossible for any clear-headed, non-ideologic (or, in this case, non-self-aggrandizing and defensive) person to say. For one thing, as Hagel was trying to get in through the hectoring, the surge occurred simultaneously with the so-called "Sunni awakening." So who's to say how important either factor was? For another, at this point in history, we really have no idea of the outcome of our adventure there. "Worked?" In what sense? Hagel points out that it's murky; McCain wants a yes or no answer to an as yet unanswered and maybe always unanswerable question.

And to think that there was a time I admired the man.

And the rest of the Rs on the committee took their swings, too, seemingly blind to the fact that the SecDef is not the SecState. Like everything else political nowadays, people can't see things for what they are; rather they see what they prefer to see. If neither side, myself included, can claim total clarity, there's none so blind as a teabagger or their representatives. I think it was a pretty sad showing by our esteemed members of the upper chamber.

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