Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Is Cheney dictating Norm Coleman’s inaction ?

On Rush Limbaugh’s April 5 radio program, Dick Cheney was interviewed :
THE VICE PRESIDENT: “I'm obviously disappointed. I think it is, in fact, bad behavior on her part. I wish she hadn't done it”
Earlier in the interview, Cheney stated : “Obviously, she's the Speaker of the House and ought to travel to foreign nations” [snip] “In this particular case, by going to Damascus at this stage, it serves to reinforce, if you will, and reward Bashir Assad for his bad behavior. He's done all kinds of things that are not in the interest of the United States, including allowing Syria to be an area from which attacks are launched against our people inside Iraq. He, obviously, is heavily involved right now in supporting an effort by Hezbollah to try to topple the government of Lebanon. This is a bad actor, and until he changes his behavior, he should not be rewarded with visits by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

So “bad behavior” must be a Cheney code word to tell others not to go to Syria. But since Cheney was not there, he does not know what message Speaker Pelosi conveyed.

Even the editorial page of The Washington Post blasted Pelosi, but what doesn’t get the same attention is a letter in response from Congressman Tom Lantos who was on the trip with her. Describing the meetings of April 3rd, he wrote : “As a part of that delegation and a participant in its every meeting, I would like to set the record straight. [Snip] the Speaker told Assad that Syria must end its support for terrorists, including Hamas and
Hezbollah, if it wants peace talks with Israel.
[Snip] She delivered tough messages to Assad regarding Iraq, Lebanon, and the Hariri assassination tribunal. As the Speaker said during her visit, she supports the Administration's policy goals in Syria [Snip] … constructive dialogue is a critical means of addressing our concerns with Damascus. The Administration's approach has yielded nothing but more Syrian intransigence. Five Republican congressmen have visited Assad this week. Based on the traffic to Syria, a growing number of Republicans and Democrats share the Speaker's misgivings about the White House's ineffectiveness in the region.

My reaction to Pelosi’s trip is that it should have been recognized as America demonstrating its diversity and commitment to promote Israel-Syria peace and discouraging Syria from support terrorist organizations. Think about it – a Holocaust survivor (Lantos), a Muslim (Keith Ellison,) and three Democratic and one Republican Congressmen are lead by a woman to address the most critical issue of modern times. Congress has a responsibility in foreign affairs … after all, the House is budgeting $35.3 billion for the International Affairs.

In my blog entry of of January 23,2007, I encouraged Norm Coleman to follow the path of Senators Arlen Specter, Bill Nelson, Christopher Dodd and John Kerry and visit Syria first hand. They visited Syria this past December and Specter after meeting with Bashar Assad, stated "Assad stated an interest in negotiating with Israel to try to bring a peaceful settlement to the Syrian-Israeli dispute under the U.N. doctrine of land-for-peace. "

Why wasn’t Norm Coleman there ? Well, would going to Syria interfere with his ability to attend a $100 per person fund raiser offered by Ventura County California on his behalf on April 5th ?

It’s too bad that we have a Senator that is too addicted to soliciting monies for a re-election campaign, then pursuing a dialogue with the other countries. Funny how in his “Bringing People Together to get things done” campaign for US Senate in 2002, he stressed the need to “put aside partisan politics and listen to the average person.” Well, he doesn’t have to listen to me, but how about the 9/11 Commission and the Iraq Study Group ?

The 9/11 Commission Report tells us that investing in international programs today will help reduce the costs of having to engage military for humanitarian or other reasons in troubled regions in the future.

The Iraq Study Group encourages high level diplomacy stating "In diplomacy, a nation can and should engage its adversaries and enemies to try to resolve conflicts and differences consistent with its own interests."

Cheney’s statements and the media’s proliferation only help to discourage Coleman from doing his job as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. Coleman needs to realize that Bush is a lame duck and there will be a new administration in place after the 2008 elections.

It’s time to shake the shackles of Cheney and go to Syria.

1 comment:

Sam said...

Alright! I'm with ya there.