Petraeus and Crocker have been offering some very significant statements on the situation in Iraq for the last two days now. But what we haven't been hearing are a lot of probing and pertinent questions.
I think we are hearing that there are solid indications that the security situation in Iraq is improving and the "surge" is serving one of its main purposes - thus we can expect to draw the surge down by next summer. However, more time for the overall mission is needed.
More concerning, I believe we are hearing that that there is minimal progress on the issue of national reconciliation - due largely to the sectarian fighting.
And interestingly, I think I am hearing them say that we are ultimately fighting Al Qaeda on the ground in Iraq - which certainly hits home in light of today's unforgettable anniversary of the events of 6 years ago.
But I'm having a hard time getting the full picture because of the distracting soliloquies of the very folks who are supposed to be listening and asking useful and purposeful questions.
Honestly, I'm growing long in the tooth listening to the innermost thoughts of our members of Congress on the war in Iraq. You're there to ask questions, not grandstand for the cameras.
I think we should limit their respective "opening statements" to sixty seconds and require them to ask at least 2 questions in the remaining span of 6 minutes (members are granted 7 minutes total).
Is that too much to ask? Sen. Boxer spoke for her entire time allotted barring Petraeus and Crocker from ever uttering a single word after admonishing them to take off their "rosy glasses."
I really wish just one time I could watch a witness interrupt one of these self-aggrandizing speeches with:
"Excuse me, Senator. Is there a question?"
A wise man once told me: you'd be amazed how much you can learn if you simply learn to listen.
Maybe our esteemed Hamlets should follow the same - they might learn something.