The chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Peter Pace, is out. Why? Because the Bush administration doesn’t want to go through another confirmation hearing that focuses on the Iraq war. Isn’t that a wonderful reason to fire someone?

The new Iraq czar told Congress in closed testimony that things aren’t going well. Duh? The new National Intelligence Estimate comes to the same conclusion. The escalation is not working and, in fact, may be putting more of our troops in harm’s way.

Isn’t this precisely the right time to have open hearings examining this war? Wouldn’t it be important to have Chairman Pace provide more information, not less, about where the military believes we should be going with this war?

Rumor has it that Republicans are scared to death (or scared to lose their seats) to have a renewed focus right now on such a public confirmation hearing of the one who has been responsible for the military activity these past six years. Gates said as much when he commented that this would be a “divisive ordeal.”

I find it rather terrifying that we aren’t focusing on the strategy and tactics in the open, discussing alternatives and looking to the future. There is no earthly reason to make a judgment on the re-appointment of Pace on the basis of avoiding a hearing on the war. We need more honesty, more openness, not less.