A couple of months ago, I offered comments contemporaneous to the Petraeus/Crocker Senate hearings in April.

This follow-up piece has been in my queue as a draft ever since. While it is no longer current, and I make no claims as to worthiness, I am pushing it off the plank, nevertheless.

For what it is worth:

A Pet Peeve with the United States Senate: they impose upon themselves time-limited opportunities to question important witnesses (this in itself is a good thing; the Senate is, of course, legendary for its tendency to talk endlessly).

The rub comes when august members of the Upper Chamber spend most of their allotted time bloviating and posturing, aiming for something sound-bite worthy, hoping to curry favor with some vital special interest, and leaving no time for witnesses to respond to their fatuous interrogatories. This is all too often followed by exasperation with the witnesses, whose thoughtful answers take away critical time from the Senator's seven minutes of fame.

Without naming any names (Joe Biden), so often senators tend to weave the most esoteric tapestry of bromides, false choices, and hypotheticals--and, then, at the conclusion of an interminable rhetorical odyssey, demand that some poor witness give a "straight answer."

"JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION, Judge (General, Secretary, etc.)!"

This will be followed by a good faith attempt to make sense out of utter gibberish--without making Senator Blusterbuss look like a complete fool (that would be uncivil and bad politics).

Senator again: "Okay, you're not going to answer; that's fine; just say you're not going to answer my question," as he hams it up for the cameras and his partisan viewing audience.

At which point, I am sure the poor witness must really want to say: "What in the Hell is your question; if I only had some remote idea as to what you are talking about, I think I could throw you some small bone for your feeble mind to chew on."

Or maybe this:

"I was listening and I thought I almost understood your question--and then you kept talking and I lost it again."

But, of course, they never say that. They merely sit there politely, apologize, genuflect before the 100 smartest people on the face of the earth, and take their lumps.

God Bless David Petraeus, Ryan Crocker, and the countless other Americans who have suffered this humiliation over the years as a sacrifice at the altar of democratic governance.