Bush Bamboozles Democrats Again
by Robert Parry | Jan 27 2007
As Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates joins in baiting Iraq War critics for supposedly aiding the enemy, the Democrats have been taught once more the value of handing a bipartisan olive branch to George W. Bush.
In December 2006, ignoring warnings from former CIA officers who had worked with Gates, Senate Democrats embraced his nomination to replace Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. They fawned over Gates at a one-day hearing, spared the former CIA director any tough questions, and then unanimously endorsed him.
Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York and others hailed Gates’s “candor” when he acknowledged the obvious, that the United States wasn’t winning the war in Iraq, a position that even Bush subsequently embraced.
In December, the “conventional wisdom” was that Bush would bend to the troop-drawdown recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group and that Gates – as a former member of the ISG – would guide the President toward disengagement from Iraq.
But in rushing Gates’s nomination through with only pro forma hearings, the Democrats sacrificed a rare opportunity to demand answers from the Bush administration about its war policy at a time when the White House wanted something from the Democrats, i.e. the quick confirmation of Gates.