It is frankly astounding to me that people aren't making a bigger deal of the colossal impropriety of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's unauthorized trip to Syria. Where is the outrage?
I realize Democratic leaders and those they answer to have unmitigated contempt for President Bush. I realize they believe the public rewarded their hatred and their antiwar posturing in the November congressional elections.
But according to the latest news reports, President Bush is still in office. This means he is still commander in chief and primarily in charge of U.S. foreign policy.
Democrats have long been opposed to the administration's stern policy toward terrorist-sponsoring states like Iran and Syria. They apparently believe their evil tyrants mean well, and if we will just open a dialogue with them, we can build a lasting peace. After all, the vaunted Iraq Surrender Group recommended that very thing.
But the president has emphasized he does not want to negotiate with Syria, a nation that is supporting our enemies in Iraq, sponsoring Hamas and Islamic Jihad organizations, provides weapons to Hezbollah, is a proxy of Iran and is dedicated to the destruction of our ally, Israel.
President Bush strongly urged Pelosi not to go. But in keeping with her flagrant disrespect for President Bush and, manifestly, for the presidency itself, she openly defied him and went anyway.
Her action is indefensible. She was not legally representing the United States, since the president refused to authorize her mission. And if she wasn't purporting to represent the United States, her trip was pointless. But she was.
Pelosi and her delegation were clearly attempting to influence American foreign policy by pressuring the Bush administration to open a dialogue with Syria.
What's wrong with that, you ask? What's wrong is that she didn't just lobby the president to begin diplomatic talks. She conspired with the Syrian regime to alter the president's policy toward that regime. Is it beginning to sink in out there?
If you believe the Pelosi delegation was merely "fact-finding," which characterization is laughable, listen to its own post-trip assessment. Delegation member Tom Lantos boasted that the meeting "reinforced sharply" the potential benefits of talking to Syria. "This is only the beginning of our constructive dialogue with Syria, and we hope to build on this visit."
Translation: "Despite the president's direction that we not go and especially not hold ourselves out, in violation of the Constitution, as representing the United States, we did go, and we did purport to represent the United States and we did open a dialogue with Syria, and we do intend to build on it."
Under the Constitution, President Bush is in charge of U.S. foreign policy. In that capacity, he has attempted to isolate Syria and has persuaded our allies to do likewise. Pelosi, in direct contravention of presidential authority, directly contradicted the U.S. policy toward Syria by sending the unmistakable signal that Syria is part of the international mainstream when it is our policy to discourage that notion. As the highest-ranking member of the House of Representatives, she colluded with a terrorist tyrant to humiliate the commander in chief and countermand his foreign policy.
Democrats are always accusing the president of overstepping his constitutional authority, but look at them now. Democrats are always talking about President Bush harming America's image in the world. But consider the damage to our image Pelosi's trip caused.
Pelosi not only undermined the United States through her unconstitutional usurpation and contradiction of executive authority. She also intermeddled with Israeli policy and caused great harm there, too, by misrepresenting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in implying he had softened Israel's stance toward Syria and wanted to renew peace negotiations. This reckless blunder incensed the Olmert administration, which strongly denied it had changed its position. Olmert said that until Syria changes its sponsorship of terrorism, peace talks will be meaningless.
If there is any doubt about Pelosi's collusion with Syria to weaken the president and thus the United States, or if there is any doubt about the poisonous fruits of that infernal collusion, hear the words of Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al Moallem following the Assad-Pelosi meeting. He said, "These people in the United States who are opposing dialogue, I tell them one thing: Dialogue is Ö the only method to close the gap existing between the two countries. Ö We are happy that Mrs. Pelosi and her delegation had the courage and determination to bridge these differences."
Pelosi has caused enormous anxiety to our allies, but has given great comfort to our enemies who seek to divide and conquer us, by doing the dividing part for them. Her actions were disgraceful.