After the 1968 elections, not many Americans would probably have guessed that we would be in Vietnam for another six and a half years. We're at a similarly decisive moment now.The above is the concluding paragraph to a post where Kurtz explains why it's important that the Gates confirmation hearings be held by a Senate controlled by the Democrats. If the Republicans are in charge the right questions won't be asked. There are some differences between between 1968 and 2006 however. The anti-war sentiment is much stronger now than it was in 1968 and more importantly the Republicans don't want Iraq to still be an issue in 2008. That doesn't mean that the confirmation hearings shouldn't be used to ask questions. Kurtz gives some examples of the kind of questions that should be asked.
David Kurtz at TPM
I'm talking about big picture items. What is victory? What is the strategic objective? Are we spread too thin militarily and how do we address that? What will troop rotations look like going forward? What should our force strength be? How much repair and replenishment of materiel is required and what will it cost? What resources do we need to commit in Afghanistan? What are the relative priorities?
I don't have much confidence that those questions will be addressed in GOP-led hearings. The thrust of Republican questioning will be, You're not Don Rumsfeld, right? End of story.