The blow-by-blow of today’s Iraq hearings can keep you busy if you are so inclined. But there is a Kabuki-like quality to all of this. Hillary Clinton looks bored as John McCain gives his opening remarks. Ambassador Crocker and General Petraeus go through facts which Democrats barely bother to rebut, ignoring the details and concluding that all this means failure. McCain tries to get as much as he can on the record, while Clinton tries to keep mum.
It all seems a series of set pieces, not much intended to enlighten or persuade as to provide fodder for the political combat which will follow. The reality is that Democratic Congress–which could not manage to cut off or condition funds for U.S. troops in 2007–will not pull the plug now. The real battlefield is the presidential election. Today was merely the setup for the YouTube war to follow.