In the Arena

Broder v Hillary v Blogosphere–The Saga Continues

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A number of readers raised the astute point that Hillary Clinton’s failure to question Gen. David Petraeus at the Armed Services Committee was less obnoxious than some of the questions asked by other members of the panel, namely Senators McCain and Lieberman.
I agree, especially about Lieberman, whose line of questioning seems to have had only one point: to get Petraeus embroiled in a political controversy–namely, whether or not the Senate should have a non-binding vote on the so-called “surge.” This was entirely inappropriate, indeed smarmy, on Lieberman’s part: Petraeus clearly wanted no part of this civilian dispute.
McCain’s now famous 14 questions were better than Lieberman’s–at least, he was trying to ask Petraeus about some important issues, like the number of troops necessary for success and the rather awkward joint Iraqi-U.S. command structure. But McCain, too, sucked Petraeus into the civilian dispute over the non-binding resolution.
All of which makes Hillary’s failure to ask questions like…

General, do you think it’s appropriate for a military man to be commenting on non-binding Senate resolutions?


General, do you think it’s appropriate that members of the Bush Administration–and your predecessor General Casey–have said that American troops can be withdrawn from Baghdad by August if the situation calms down? How long do you think it will be before we can count this mission as a success?

…all the more disappointing.