I have modified this post from its original version, wherein I complained about Hillary's segment at the Armed Services Committee today for being without punch. Based on the initial reports of what she said, there was no indication that she challenged either Petraeus or Crocker strongly. Yet her presentation came across somewhat better when viewed than read, which you can see from the short video link provided at the Washington Post website by the AP. Contrary to my initial impression, Hillary did ask Petraeus if the country deserves a better answer than "let's wait until March to see what we do next."
Senator Hillary Clinton, the Democrat leading 2008 polls, is working her way through all the reasons why “the reports that you provide to us really require the willing suspension of disbelief.” She explains:
"In any of the metrics that have been referenced in your many hours of testimony, any fair reading of the advantages and disadvantages accruing post-surge, in my view, end up on the downside."
But she continued with sharper digs for others not in the hearing room:
"I give you tremendous credit for presenting as positive a view of a rather grim reality. I believe that you and certainly the very capable people working with both of you, were dealt a very hard hand. And it’s a hand that is unlikely to improve, in my view … It’s not only the Iraqi government that has failed to pursue a coherent strategy, I think our own has as well."
Seemingly, we got more energy from Harry Reid today than Hillary, after he and Nancy Pelosi came from a meeting at the White House with Bush, wherein they were clued in to Bush's necessary undoing of the surge next summer.
“This war is the president’s war, and the Republicans have bought this war hook, line and sinker.”
Yes, this is what passes for moral clarity and effective messaging for the Democrats these days: it is left to Reid to say that this is a Republican war negligently mismanaged by a Republican administration overseen until recently by a rubber stamping Republican congress that is now blocking any attempts at changing course.
Oh, sorry, Reid didn't say it that way, nor did Hillary come anywhere close to:
1. Asking any tough questions about the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad;
2. Asking how we are dealing with the Shiite-on-Shiite civil war in the south;
3. Asking what assurances there are that things will be any better in the spring, and
4. Why we seem to be priming for a war with Iran without presenting evidence to the UN.
In other words, it's Democratic business as usual.