December 5, 2006 Leave a comment
I was listening a bit to the Gates confirmation hearings on NPR today and was really struck by the questioning coming from SC Senator Lindsey Graham. He began a whole litany of questions, “Do you believe…” I.e., “believe the Iranians are trying to acquire lethal weapons capability?” Do you believe in the Powell doctrine?” etc… It was really odd. It reminded me of the renewal of baptismal vows that takes place during Catholic Mass any time a baby is baptized and every Easter. It seemed that just like the Catholic Church wants its members to publicly confirm their beliefs, Lindsey Graham was looking for Robert Gates to confirm his beliefs about Iraq, Iran, and terrorism.
I thought I recognized Graham's voice as I listened, but I hoped it was not him, as I had been reasonably impressed when he spoke at NCSU a couple months ago, but many of his responses seemed particularly inane and dogmatic today:
GRAHAM: Is it the terrorists' worst nightmare for a democratic
state to be formed in Iraq where a woman can have her say about her
children and people of religious differences can live together under
the rule of law?
GATES: I certainly hope it's one of their worst nightmares.
GRAHAM: Well, according to them, it is….
GRAHAM: Can you assure the Israelis that they [Iran] will not attack Israel with a nuclear weapon if they acquire one?
GATES: No, sir, I don't think that anybody can provide that assurance.
From what I heard, I was pretty impressed with Gates' responses. More importantly to me, so was Slate's Fred Kaplan. I trust his views on this stuff more than my own. I am optimistic about Gates, but then again, my dog could a better job as Secretary of Defense than Rumsfeld.