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Could Nancy Pelosi have been right?

Last week, there was a great deal of stirring about Nancy Pelosi's free-lancing in the field of foreign relations. Her trip to Syria -- a nation listed as a sponsor of terrorism, and the one who has held Lebanon under its thumb for decades -- was decried as undermining the Bush Administration's policies, and even possibly illegal.

But the more I think about it, I begin to wonder if the Speaker might have been right about something.

The most famous quote from Ms. Pelosi from her trip was "We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace."

Most people latched on to the "road to Damascus" as a biblical allusion, but the more I thought about it, the more I wondered. Could it be an allusion to a more recent era of history?

During World War II, there was a lot of grumbling in the ranks of the United States Army. (This was in no way treasonous or seditious; complaining is one of the soldiers' primary forms of expression. In fact, for some it's an art form, and something to do to break up the tedium.) One frequent sentiment was a desire to go home. The traditional rejoinder was that "the quickest way home is through Berlin."

Let's look at Syria. Our government lists it as a terrorist sponsoring state, and with damned good reason. It provides much of the backing and support for several terrorist groups. Much of the leadership of Hamas is based out of Damascus. (They are even listed in the local phone books, I understand.) They, along with Iran, essentially created Hezbollah and assisted it in dominating Lebanon through terror and violence. Syria has directly intervened in Lebanon for literally decades, even going so far as to assassinate major political figures who have worked for a Lebanon free of Syrian domination.

It's pretty clear that Syria really doesn't have much interest in "peace," at least as we define it. Our goals for the region are diametrically opposed, and there really isn't that much grounds for compromise: Syria wants to continue to keep Lebanon as a vassal state, see the return of a Baathist-style dictatorship in Iraq, and the destruction of Israel -- just to cite three of their goals. Perhaps we can let them keep Lebanon and only blow up half of Israel?

So, was Pelosi secretly carrying a big stick while she was speaking softly to Dorktator Bashar Assad?

Nah, I doubt it. That'd be giving her way, way, WAY too much credit. It's far more plausible to think that she was simply trying to benefit herself and her party by showing that she can handle foreign policy, stick it to the Bush administration, and lay groundwork for a future Democratic administration.

Because that's far more consistent with everything else she's ever done.



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Comments (27)

Power to the Pelosi<p... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

Power to the Pelosi

"President George Bush charges that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's trip this week to Syria was undermining U.S. foreign policy. He's absolutely correct.

If ever there was an administration whose foreign policy needed undermining, it's the Bush/Cheney duo. Speaker Pelosi, the third ranking government official, and a remarkably capable lady, is doing all Americans a service."

. . .

http://smirkingchimp.com/thread/6631

Thanks, Nancy! Bus... (Below threshold)
nikkolai:

Thanks, Nancy!

Bush's approval ratings would skyrocket if he would appoint Patrick Fitgerald as special prosecutor (like the Plame investigation) to probe into any illegalities of the Pelosi "Broomstick Tour." Trust me on this one. No one but the most hard core leftists and American haters could have approved of this trip.

Groveling before Islamo-Nazis...Thomas Jefferson rolls in his grave.....

I saw the "...road to Damas... (Below threshold)
Dennis:

I saw the "...road to Damascus" phrase as a reference to the Hope/Crosby movies. Her slapstick routine fits that interpretation best, I think.

Adrian,The fundament... (Below threshold)
Dave:

Adrian,
The fundamental misunderstanding by the left was illustrated perfectly by your ignorant statement that "If ever there was an administration whose foreign policy needed undermining, it's the Bush/Cheney duo." Laws, separation of powers and the Constitution of the United States of America don't apply to just Democrats, and Democrats can't cherry pick what they want to apply and what they don't want to apply. The foundation of our country applies to everyone. I don't care who the president is, you don't undermine him. I wouldn't have wanted Clinton Undermined, as undermining the president undermines the country in so many unseen and so many horrible and tragic ways.

The left obviously doesn't understand how tragic it is to our country, our foreign policy and to our soldiers the undermining of our president is. All you lefties can do is hate, and thats the only thing you are good at. Whether you like Bush or not, respect the office. You have never seen and never heard the right openly advocating the undermining of a president, or ultimately a nation. Nor have you ever heard the right openly advocate the wholesale usurpation of powers that Pelosi is trying to establish by becoming a proxy president. Also don't forget how the lefties on the courts are trying to legislate from the bench. Only the lefties advocate this out and in the open as long as it is a leftist agenda.

So Adrian, I propose you go backand studyup on your constitution and maybe think about some possible ramifications for our country, our troops, and our future foreign policy if undermining presidents become a commonplace thing. You are advocating an extremely dangerous precedent and it displays a level of misunderstanding and of how juvenile this movement on the left today is.

Yeah, under cut the Preside... (Below threshold)
serfer62:

Yeah, under cut the President's policies.

We should use a gifted & Talented lady like carter-the-carpenter...

There gonna miss him when h... (Below threshold)
kim:

There gonna miss him when he's gone, Dave; count on it.
===============================

"There gonna miss him wh... (Below threshold)
Steigen:

"There gonna miss him when he's gone, Dave; count on it."

And now, something new: canine commentary at Wizbang, explosively unique.

St. Nancy of Pelosi , wha... (Below threshold)
Rob LA Ca.:

St. Nancy of Pelosi , what a complete idiot she is. What is it going to take to end this despicable perpetual fraud being acted out by the Democrats is what I want to know.

The only thing that countri... (Below threshold)
Chris G:

The only thing that countries like Syria and Iran understand are phrases like:

"If you don't get your s**t together, we will turn this country into a parking lot"

"I'll slap you so hard, Hezbollah and Hamas will get headaches"

"If you want peace, you can have peace. If you want war, well then, we can accomodate that too"

"If you want this region to be turned into Newark, New Jersey, (No offense to Newark), keep giving Bush a reason to drop bombs"

"you can do it my way, or the Bush way"

"It's simple. Hezbollah and Hamas bomb Israel, you assassinate the leaders of other countries, and terrorists bomb US interests, people like Bush get elected. You want that?... No, I didn't think so. If none of the above happen, people like me get elected. (No offense to obtuse appeasers and elected officials lacking fortitude)"

If Pelosi said any of the above, she is alright in my book. And even if she didn't, we don't another "special" prosecutor wasting tax payer money on some bogus scandal. Besides, a SP could do more to upold the law if the followed congressmen around with radar detectors to catch them speeding.... or with 90K cash in their freezers.

And now, something old: Ste... (Below threshold)
kim:

And now, something old: Steigen's inane commentary at Wizbang, implicitly banal.
=============================

"You've never seen the righ... (Below threshold)
Ryan:

"You've never seen the right undermine a President"

Holy shit, I just threw up in my mouth a little and had to swallow it back down.

Bill Clinton was impeached by a Newt-led congress while Newtie was conducting his own extramarital affair.

I hope the irony isn't lost on you guys. Good luck in '08, you will TRULY need it.

"It's simple. Hezbollah and... (Below threshold)

"It's simple. Hezbollah and Hamas bomb Israel, you assassinate the leaders of other countries, and terrorists bomb US interests, people like Bush get elected. You want that?... No, I didn't think so. If none of the above happen, people like me get elected. (No offense to obtuse appeasers and elected officials lacking fortitude)"

Oh, Chris, that is excellent. LOL.

And it's really true.

And I think that leaders in the middle east generally don't understand that at all. They misread all our cues, misunderstand our actions, mispredict our responses.

I think a good "nutshell" illustration is something I read on the back of a science fiction novel. It's science fiction, right?, so aliens encounter humans and they think... no guns? Easy pickings. And then the cover blurb says, as well as I can remember, that what the aliens didn't realize was that "the reason humans gave up war was because they were so very very good at it."

The right would like to give up war every bit as much as the left would like to. Not even the "pro-war" sort rushes into armed confrontation in our culture. We put up with a heck of a lot and we can read the words of people like Bin Laden or Ahmanutjob and clearly they view our reluctance and our tolerance as fear and weakness.

So they expect that we'll retreat. The opposite is true. More attacks will get someone like Reagan elected.

The people who see the US as a bigger threat than anything else are right, after a fashion. Where they are wrong is in thinking that the "other side", the pro-military side, doesn't understand or consider the danger. We *are* good at war.

Unfortunately, there are worse things. There are people who don't yet understand the danger and someone has to stand up to them. Waiting for them to figure out that killing people is bad isn't a moral option. No PEACE has ever been forged by letting violent people get around to deciding they shouldn't be violent anymore, all in their own good time.

JT what in hell you been dr... (Below threshold)
Luke:

JT what in hell you been drinking?

No. She could not be right... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

No. She could not be right. She never is.

"shocking" mismanagement of... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

"shocking" mismanagement of Iraq

"The corroded and corrupt state of Saddam was replaced by the corroded, inefficient, incompetent and corrupt state of the new order"

"monumental ignorance" of those in Washington pushing for war in 2002 without "the faintest idea" of Iraq's realities. "More perceptive people knew instinctively that the invasion of Iraq would open up the great fissures in Iraqi society,"

"rank amateurism and swaggering arrogance" of the occupation, under L. Paul Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority

Americans' "insipid retelling of `success' stories" merely hid "the huge black hole that lay underneath."

"America's only allies in Iraq were those who sought to manipulate the great power to their narrow advantage. It might have been otherwise."

When you neocons accept and admit that your egotistic, nihilist of a preznut has destroyed anything of value that "were" attempts at peace in the Middle East then we'll talk about Pelosi trying to rescue any small glimmer of returning to a sane foreign policy.

You people are just awful.

chris g-does it make... (Below threshold)
slingshot:

chris g-
does it make you feel tough to inform us of what middle eastern countries understand, expressed in the language of the middle school bully? i am sure you are a middle east expert. this tough talk bullying has worked great so far. bring them on- mission accomplished!

"We came in friendship, hop... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

"We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace."
Only if the entire country is suddenly the largest sink hole on earth.

Ryan, you poor old thing. Can't you read or do you just refuse to believe the truth. Slick Willie was impeached (as anyone should and will be) for lying under oath. The simple truth would have saved him all of the embarr ass ment. Try it yourself, you won't like your new quarters. He was slapped on the wrist, you will be slapped in a cell. Don't count on being ate up with BDS as a defense. There are a few, very few, but a few honest judges left in the country that will give you years in the barb wire hotel to think about lying in his/her court.

C'mon folks, y'all missed i... (Below threshold)
epador:

C'mon folks, y'all missed it. She was LEFT not RIGHT!

"benefit herself and her pa... (Below threshold)
Knightbrigade:

"benefit herself and her party by showing that she can handle foreign policy, stick it to the Bush administration, and lay groundwork for a future Democratic administration."

Ok, I'm confused..how is that RIGHT? or even GOOD?

The crazy mother-in-law needs to stay home, and for any whiny people yapping about well Republican reps went too. They are jerks too.
The (President) is the ONLY one that REPRESTENTS this country, if the congress and public don't LIKE how a President does it, then they get a say every 4 friggan years.
Guess what, the crazy mother-in-law and her lefty backers get their chance in 08.....until then STFU and sit down.
Sorry Jay....I know the kinder and more gentle WIZBANG is here, I didn't make anything personal in reference to another poster, but if I need a SLAP because of MY tone...so be it...

Pelosi and Assad are allies... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

Pelosi and Assad are allies; both want Bush to fail.

It would not be surprising if Assad gave her something genuinely helpful.

After all, it's what allies do for one another.

"The Road to Damascus is th... (Below threshold)

"The Road to Damascus is the road to peace" - if we're coming out of Iraq and ending up in Beirut, with all guns blazing. It's not a bad idea. Pelosi hasn't a clue about foreign policy, as her statement about "where are all the women Saudi politicians?" in a state where women don't even have the right to vote, proves. She'd have to have outside help to get her IQ above single digits. It's electing idiots like her and John Kerry that will eventually lead the sane people in this nation to outlaw the Democratic Party.

No one but the most hard... (Below threshold)
mantis:

No one but the most hard core leftists and American haters could have approved of this trip.

Gee, better tell Rep. David Hobson. He's kind of a moderate Republican though, so I assume you think he's a "hard core leftist" or "America hater."

mantis, I haven't read a co... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

mantis, I haven't read a comment that didn't think the RINO's should be lined against the wall with Peeeeloshi.
Did anyone notice the skin on her face was stretched as tight as a ballon with too much air. If someone had stuck her with a pin she would have exploded. Maybe the many facelifts have put so much pressure on her brain the cells all died.
I thought she had an adams apple until looking closer and seeing it was her naval. Wouldn't want to look below her neck. She isn't really growing hair on her chest between the two rubber boobs.

It's clear that Old Patriot... (Below threshold)
groucho:

It's clear that Old Patriot, Scrapiron and the rest have even less of a clue about foreign policy, choosing to see it as a continual reworking of a John Wayne war movie in which the evil enemy (Injuns, Japs, etc.) arebeaten into submission with the guns, bravado and moral righteousness of the good old USA. Just like their faux cowboy leader, they persisit in a deluded kill 'em all, bring it on mentality which has, up to this point, created a bigger mess than was there at the beginning. And for what gain, really?

Are the loudest shriekers on the right just worried that if something positive actually comes from the Syria visit it will point out even more clearly that what has not been done by Bush and Rice is maybe more important that what they have done?

PS to cb: great points, is there a source for the quotes?

Phew...I thought I'd fallen... (Below threshold)

Phew...I thought I'd fallen into an alternate universe, for a second.

Nancy Pelosi right? Queue the flying pigs...

Jay, when you have a presid... (Below threshold)
Sal Manilla:

Jay, when you have a president who declares that federal laws do not apply to him, and signs off on legislation without passing them to congress, you have a man with very little regard for our system and for our freedoms that we are rapidly losing. When you have a president who thinks that the standard for searching and seizing is reasonable doubt, but not probable cause {and its up to the government to determine whats reasonable} you also have a man with no regard for the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is not there to protect criminals, its there to protect us all from government abuses. I don't care what kind of terrorism you think is going on, there is never any excuse for surrendering liberty for security. There are those in government who do not buy into the GOP vision of America. Thank God. Being a reasonably intelligent man, I hardly doubt you would support President Bush if you actually knew a little more about him. He's not a christian at all. He's a fake. I never liked Nancy Pelosi in the past, but I am glad to see there are people who are not going to let this man continue the abuses to our freedoms any longer. There has been talk of reducing the powers of the president, because presidents have given themselves more and more power through executive order. I think this is an idea who's time has come. The president was never supposed to be more powerful than congress. Forget about your ideology, take a hard look at what this president has done. My God, everything Clinton did was scrutinized, yet when far worse abuses occur under a republican president, everybody on the right goes blind.

The fundamental misunder... (Below threshold)
Brian:

The fundamental misunderstanding by the left was illustrated perfectly by your ignorant statement that "If ever there was an administration whose foreign policy needed undermining, it's the Bush/Cheney duo."... I don't care who the president is, you don't undermine him.... The left obviously doesn't understand how tragic it is to our country, our foreign policy and to our soldiers the undermining of our president is. All you lefties can do is hate, and thats the only thing you are good at. Whether you like Bush or not, respect the office. You have never seen and never heard the right openly advocating the undermining of a president, or ultimately a nation. Nor have you ever heard the right openly advocate the wholesale usurpation of powers that Pelosi is trying to establish by becoming a proxy president... I propose you go backand studyup on your constitution and maybe think about some possible ramifications for our country, our troops, and our future foreign policy if undermining presidents become a commonplace thing. You are advocating an extremely dangerous precedent and it displays a level of misunderstanding and of how juvenile this movement on the left today is.

It's so fun seeing rightie tools get all high and mighty like this, when it's so clear that they have no idea what they're talking about, and develop amnesia when accusing the left of setting a "precedent" that the right did themselves just a few years ago.

"I thought I ought to say clearly today that I would strenuously oppose such attempts to encroach on the president's foreign policy powers," Clinton said in an interview with radio reporters. "The president must make the ultimate decision" about committing U.S. troops, he said.

...

Clinton's comments on presidential authority were prompted by a new round of congressional proposals to place restrictions on use of U.S. troops.

Senate Minority Leader Robert J. Dole, R-Kan., plans to offer an amendment that would require congressional authorization before troops could be sent to Haiti. The proposal would include exceptions to the requirement for advance approval, including evacuating American citizens, assuring the safety of U.S. troops and maintaining national security if there is no time for a congressional vote.

Another amendment, proposed by Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla., would require congressional authorization after March 1, 1994, for participation of U.S. forces under foreign command in U.N. peace-keeping operations. Dole also has a proposal to require congressional authorization before U.S. troops can be sent to Bosnia.

...

"I am fundamentally opposed to amendments which improperly limit my ability to perform my constitutional duties as commander in chief, which may have unconstitutional provisions and which, if adopted, could weaken the confidence of our allies in the United States," Clinton said.

He said imposing limits on his power as commander in chief "would provide encouragement to aggressors and repressive rulers around the world who seek to operate without fear of reprisal."

Last week, Clinton fought off a congressional proposal to require U.S. forces to be out of Somalia before the date he had set, March 31. But the spate of amendments reflects the degree of congressional uneasiness and dissatisfaction with the administration's handling of foreign policy.




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