- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 7, 2007

It frankly astounds 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, Mr. 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 opposed 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 supporting our enemies in Iraq, sponsoring Hamas and Islamic Jihad organizations, arming Hezbollah, is a proxy of Iran that is dedicated to destroying our ally, Israel.

Mr. Bush strongly urged Mrs. Pelosi not to go. But in keeping with her flagrant disrespect for him and, manifestly, for the presidency itself, she openly defied Mr. Bush 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 so purporting.

Mrs. 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? 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 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. Mrs. 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, a notion it is our policy to discourage.

As the highest-ranking member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Mrs. Pelosi colluded with a terrorist tyrant to humiliate the commander in chief and countermand his foreign policy.

Democrats always accuse the president of overstepping his constitutional authority, but look at them now. Democrats always talk about President Bush harming America’s image in the world. But consider the damage Mrs. Pelosi’s trip caused.

Mrs. 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. Mr. Olmert said that until Syria changes its sponsorship of terrorism, peace talks will be meaningless.

If there is any doubt about Mrs. 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 Bashar Assad-Nancy Pelosi meeting: “These people in the United States who are opposing dialogue, I tell them one thing: Dialogue is… the only method to close the gap existing between the two countries…. We are happy that Mrs. Pelosi and her delegation had the courage and determination to bridge these differences.”

Mrs. Pelosi has caused our allies enormous anxiety but has given great comfort to our enemies who seek to divide and conquer us by doing the dividing for them. Her actions were disgraceful.

David Limbaugh is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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