Political theatre

Over at Counterpunch, Winslow Wheeler, a former Republican staffer on the Senate Budget Committee currently at the Center for Defense Information, writes about his experience watching the recent Petraeus/Crocker hearing held by the Senate Armed Services Committee:

It does not get any better than this–quite literally. And, that is the pity of it.

I have just finished watching the four and a half hour gala of the Senate Armed Services Committee “questioning” General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, America’s high commissioners for Iraq. The hearing was greatly bally-hooed as a major Washington event on the war in Iraq–to say nothing of the significance it held for the two presidential candidates on the committee, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Hilary Clinton (D-NY), and their opportunity to impress us all as ready to raise a right hand to swear a new oath of office.

What Winslow then recounts is all too accurate in describing the theatre of most congressional hearings (steroids in baseball, anyone?): questions that are more like speeches; questions that are never followed up on; and a whole lot of political posturing:

Throughout all this palaver–I can’t say “questioning” because no real questions were asked – there were no answers that advanced our knowledge of what is going on in Iraq. General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker were never in danger of facing anyone who informed him- or herself well enough to know when they were being feed baloney – or if they did, enough spine to correct the general’s and the ambassador’s vague, uninformative answers.

After all, the “questioners” were clearly not after information; they were after political advancement or protection.

If they were after information, they are gross incompetents.

Last word: after Chairman Levin gaveled the hearing to a close, protesters in the room started singing a song. To the listeners on TV, their words were totally incoherent. A fitting end, I must say.

Read the rest.

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About Charles Davis

A writer and producer with whose work has aired on television and radio and been published by outlets such as Al Jazeera, The Intercept, The Nation and The New Republic.
This entry was posted in Elections, Iraq, Politicians Being Politicians. Bookmark the permalink.

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