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Leave Pelosi on a Damascus Road

Condoleezza Rice walked into the House of Representatives the other day and strode purposefully to the podium. The speaker’s chair was vacant as the actual speaker, Nancy Pelosi, was out of the country. Rice grabbed the gavel and proceeded to call the House to order. She attempted to bring resolutions to the floor on behalf of President Bush. Among those items was a “unanimous agreement” to fully support George Bush on all matters related to the fighting of foreign wars, most especially in Iraq. Under the new Rice Doctrine, as she asked that it be called, the House would also vote for full and complete funding for the war and agree never to impose any sort of withdrawal time-table.

Of course, a few members objected. However, Rice insisted that she had just been speaking with former President Jimmy Carter and the matters she was bringing to the House floor were expressly his wishes. When a few additional members of the House questioned Rice a bit more closely on all of this, she said that she didn’t really expect them all to agree on the first meeting but that she would be back to continue her role as un-elected Speaker in an effort to make sure that they could all get along. She felt that it was her duty to take matters into her own hands because everyone knew that the Speaker was an idiot and really not qualified to hold the role to which she had been elected.

Now doesn’t that sound just a tad bit unorthodox…meaning “really wacky?” And the answer is obviously “yes, it does.” Well, at least almost all of it. The bit about the real Speaker being an idiot and not really qualified to hold the job does have more than a ring of truth to it, sad though it is to say.

If, God forbid, you happened to be Nancy Pelosi, you would have to know that when the Washington Post rises up and issues its lead editorial, as it did last Thursday, April 5, condemning a Democratic House Speaker, that you really stepped in it.

“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) offered an excellent demonstration yesterday of why members of Congress should not attempt to supplant the secretary of state when traveling abroad.” So started the Post’s editorial. It ended with, “But Ms. Pelosi’s attempt to establish a shadow presidency is not only counterproductive, it is foolish.”

The truth is much more than that. Her actions are criminal and she should be treated exactly like the traitor she has proved herself to be. While much has been made recently of the fact that Abraham Lincoln did not publicly at least, as has been suggested lately by some historians and political columnists, advocate the hanging of Congressmen who willfully take action in wartime to sabotage the government, he was all for having them at least arrested. From Pulitzer prize-winner David Herbert Donald’s book “Lincoln” (Simon and Schuster 1996) we learn:

“In May 1863, Lincoln heard that Clement Vallandigham, a pro-peace Copperhead and former member of Congress from Ohio who had urged soldiers to desert and had threatened to form a "Peace Democracy" in the western states, had been arrested by military officials. When a judge denied Vallandigham’s motion for a writ of habeas corpus, Lincoln said the news was worth "three victories in the field." Lincoln explained later, "Must I shoot a simple-minded soldier boy who deserts, while I must not touch a hair of a wiley agitator who induces him to desert? I think . . . to silence the agitator, and save the boy, is not only constitutional, but . . . a great mercy."

Given that, Pelosi should be glad that George Bush is the President and not Abe Lincoln because last we checked, we are at war with the terrorists and at odds with any nation or individual that is found to be protecting the terrorists or helping to sponsor their violence. Syria’s recent actions in Lebanon with its continued support of the outlaw Hamas, its involvement in the death of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri, Anti-Syrian leader Pierre Gemayel and others and its obvious support of radical elements in Iraq and Iran shows clearly that they are the enemy and are not a nation with whom we should negotiate in any manner. But here was Madame Pelosi, a citizen of the freest country in the world, indeed a leader within it, openly meeting with the miserable dictator Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.

Continuing in her un-appointed role as secretary of state, Pelosi went further, announcing that she had delivered a message from Israel’s Prime Minister saying that “Israel was ready to engage in peace talks” with Syria, and was ready “to resume the peace process.” The only problem with that is Israel has said no such thing.

Determined to be a diplomatic star, Pelosi declared “We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is the road to peace.” History may well record that canard as the second silliest statement of the last seventy years in Europe, the first, although it is now mighty close between the two, being English Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s “peace in our time” rhetoric in 1938 as Hitler’s war machine was preparing for full scale slaughter.

If we allow an un-elected citizen to suddenly countermand the President and started taking on his powers, we are allowing the Constitution of the United States to be reduced to an utter mockery. The fact is that anyone else but Pelosi would now be in shackles; led away to prison for egregious violations of our laws.

Perhaps the best solution would have been simple and two fold:

  1. President Bush could have directed the military to fly back the military plane Madame Speaker was borrowing with out her on board.
  2. Secretary-of-state Rice could have revoked her visa, leaving Ms. Pelosi to enjoy the peaceful roads of Damascus forever.
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Written By

Mr. Weinberger is the son of the late U.S. Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. A 1968 graduate of Harvard College, Weinberger is a writer and lecturer on world events. A former television writer, producer and director for NBC affiliate KRON-TV in San Francisco, he served in both California Gov. and President Ronald Reagan's administrations. He now resides in Maine.

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