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Thursday, April 05, 2007

'Palestinian' terrorists endorse Pelosi's visit to Syria; WaPo pans it

Leaders of Islamic Jihad, Hamas and the 'moderate' Fatah movement's al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade have endorsed US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Syria in interviews with Aaron Klein of WorldNetDaily [link contains audio link to interviews. CiJ]. The terrorist leaders, many of whom live freely in Damascus, are thrilled over Pelosi's visit.

So is Dhimmi Carter.
"I was glad that she went," Carter said Wednesday. "When there is a crisis, the best way to help resolve the crisis is to deal with the people who are instrumental in the problem."
And so is the Boston Globe:
Bush's complaint that Pelosi and the bipartisan congressional delegation were sending "mixed signals" made it appear that Bush either resents or refuses to accept the Constitution's unambiguous granting of extensive powers in foreign policy to the legislative branch. Pelosi and her colleagues were doing what innumerable delegations of senators and representatives have done in the past: traveling abroad to consult with foreign leaders, gather information, and enhance their ability to fulfill their obligations to advise, consent, and appropriate funds. Republican congressmen met with Assad last week. If the American system of checks and balances is to function properly, the co-equal legislative branch must exercise its powers to check and balance the actions of the executive branch.

When it comes to Bush's approach to the Assad regime in Syria, there is a particularly glaring need for Congress to explore the road not taken. There is no doubting the nastiness of the Assad dictatorship, but the Bush policy for Syria has been an unconcealable failure. For too long, Bush has acted as though he could compel Assad to change his trouble-making ways by isolating Syria and by refusing to engage in direct discussions about Iraq, Lebanon, Iran, or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
But surprisingly, the Washington Post is anything but thrilled:
Ms. Pelosi was criticized by President Bush for visiting Damascus at a time when the administration -- rightly or wrongly -- has frozen high-level contacts with Syria. Mr. Bush said that thanks to the speaker's freelancing Mr. Assad was getting mixed messages from the United States. Ms. Pelosi responded by pointing out that Republican congressmen had visited Syria without drawing presidential censure. That's true enough -- but those other congressmen didn't try to introduce a new U.S. diplomatic initiative in the Middle East. "We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace," Ms. Pelosi grandly declared.

Never mind that that statement is ludicrous: As any diplomat with knowledge of the region could have told Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Assad is a corrupt thug whose overriding priority at the moment is not peace with Israel but heading off U.N. charges that he orchestrated the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri. The really striking development here is the attempt by a Democratic congressional leader to substitute her own foreign policy for that of a sitting Republican president. Two weeks ago Ms. Pelosi rammed legislation through the House of Representatives that would strip Mr. Bush of his authority as commander in chief to manage troop movements in Iraq. Now she is attempting to introduce a new Middle East policy that directly conflicts with that of the president. We have found much to criticize in Mr. Bush's military strategy and regional diplomacy. But Ms. Pelosi's attempt to establish a shadow presidency is not only counterproductive, it is foolish.
Carter and the Globe (and many lefty blogs who have unconditionally supported Pelosi) have apparently never heard of the Logan Act 18 USC 953 (it's a criminal statute!):
Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply, himself or his agent, to any foreign government or the agents thereof for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects.
The Logan Act has been interpreted to permit legislators to carry on discussions with foreign governments in furtherance of their legislative duties. But not in all circumstances. In 1975, US Senators George McGovern and John Sparkman visited Cuba. The State Department was asked to opine on whether the Senators violated the Logan Act. Here's what the State Department said:
The clear intent of this provision [Logan Act] is to prohibit unauthorized persons from intervening in disputes between the United States and foreign governments. Nothing in section 953, however, would appear to restrict members of the Congress from engaging in discussions with foreign officials in pursuance of their legislative duties under the Constitution. In the case of Senators McGovern and Sparkman the executive branch, although it did not in any way encourage the Senators to go to Cuba, was fully informed of the nature and purpose of their visit, and had validated their passports for travel to that country.

Senator McGovern’s report of his discussions with Cuban officials states: “I made it clear that I had no authority to negotiate on behalf of the United States — that I had come to listen and learn....” (Cuban Realities: May 1975, 94th Cong., 1st Sess., August 1975). Senator Sparkman’s contacts with Cuban officials were conducted on a similar basis. The specific issues raised by the Senators (e.g., the Southern Airways case; Luis Tiant’s desire to have his parents visit the United States) would, in any event, appear to fall within the second paragraph of Section 953.

Accordingly, the Department does not consider the activities of Senators Sparkman and McGovern to be inconsistent with the stipulations of Section 953.

It would be very interesting to hear whether the State Department agrees with the Boston Globe or the Washington Post editorial above. If I were advising President Bush, I would tell him to ask the question.


At 7:35 PM, Blogger ttueoop said...

This is an excellent post and one of the reasons you were evidently nominated for the "Thinking Bloggers Award"!

Good stuff!


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