President Bush has managed, for the moment at least, to quell the calls for a special session of Congress to debate the issue of war in the Persian Gulf. Instead, the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees will hold hearings on the question during the congressional recess, which is about as good a substitute as can be devised for a session of Congress.
We propose that the president himself appear at such hearings. Such a step, while unusual, would not be unprecedented. The two committees are headed by distinguished senators -- Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island and Sam Nunn of Georgia -- who are not known as partisan street-fighters.
Senator Nunn has put the case succinctly: "The president needs to say why the liberation of Kuwait is in our vital interest. . . . If there is to be a new mission and a new strategy, the president needs to make a case for it. So far he has not."
What better platform to do so than Senate committee hearings?