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Our Broken House

Phil Giraldi noted a few days ago that the House Foreign Affairs Committee was inviting Israeli ambassador Michael Oren as their sole witness to brief the House, in a closed session, on the strategic implications of the recent Gaza war. On Thursday the committee has scheduled hearings on “Israel’s Right to Defend Itself: Implications for Regional Security and U.S. Interests.” The invited witnesses are Elliott Abrams, Danielle Pletka, and Robert Satloff — all neoconservatives, all staunch backers of Netanyahu, the Iraq war, etc. The committee doesn’t even pretend that there might be other worthwhile perspectives, surprising since U.S. interests are meant to be the subject matter. I asked a congressional aide whether there was anything to be done about this, and was told, “No, witnesses are decided by committee chairman and ranking members” and that “the system is irreparably broken.”

I wonder about the “irreparably.” My source makes it sound rather like what one used to hear during the sixties, when old racist committee chairmen would keep civil rights legislation bottled up indefinitely, and there was nothing anyone could do about it. And yet, that system was changed somehow. For starters, what would happen if other members of the committee just began speaking up — saying, wait a second, aren’t there any other views out there, perhaps of people who have some knowledge and record of actually dealing with the countries and peoples of the Mid East, and not from the other end of a bombsight? Just asking.

By the way, members of the committee are listed here.

about the author

Scott McConnell is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of Ex-Neocon: Dispatches From the Post-9/11 Ideological Wars. Follow him on Twitter at @ScottMcConnell9.

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