I’ve been tickled pink to see Nancy Pelosi in Syria meeting with Bashir Assad and countering the Bush Administration’s feeble attempt at freezing Syria out of world affairs. But I haven’t thought of writing about Pelosi’s visit until I read in Haaretz that Dick Cheney had savagely attacked her judgment in undertaking the visit. Now, I just have to take my whacks at the mad V.P.:
Vice President Dick Cheney accused U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday of “bad behavior” on her Middle East trip, saying she bungled a
message for Syria’s president that was later clarified by Israel.
Cheney harshly criticized Pelosi’s visit to Syria this week and declared in an interview, “The president is the one who conducts foreign policy, not the speaker of the House.”
“Bad behavior?” Who does he think he is–a schoolmaster who can whip out his paddle and give her a good whack? And as for the laughable claim that only Bushie makes foreign policy–this is belied by the fact that we essentially have no foreign policy regarding Syria. What Pelosi is attempting to do is engage Syria and nudge the U.S. to resume direct dialogue with its leadership. This is a strategy endorsed by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group as well.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry yesterday when I read that Pelosi, supposedly carrying a message from Olmert to Assad expressing Israel’s interest in pursuing negotiations with Syria, was promptly slapped in the face by Olmert who scrambled to deny he’d ever offered such a message to Pelosi. It was truly pathetic, but typical behavior for Olmert. Pelosi offers him an opening to pursue peace with Syria. He slams the door shut like the little boy who’s afraid there’s a ghost in his closet.
After reading that Cheney made a point of excoriating Pelosi for her supposed gaffe, I knew that Bush and Cheney had to be behind Olmert’s denial yesterday:
The Prime Minister’s Office has strongly denied that Israel relayed a message to Syria, accepting its calls to renew peace negotiations.
The bureau responded to questions raised yesterday by a statement made by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, following a meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad. Pelosi said she had relayed a message from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, to the effect that Israel was ready for peace talks with Syria.
The Prime Minister’s Office was quick to issue a denial, stating that “what was discussed with the House speaker did not include any change in Israel’s policy, as it has been presented to international parties involved in the matter.”
…According to sources at the Prime Minister’s Office, “Pelosi took part of the things that were said in the meeting, and used what suited her.”
Sounds to me like Olmert wanted to make Pelosi out to be a chump. Now who’d benefit from this? Hmmm…I dunno maybe George and Dick?
This seals the deal as far as I’m concerned that Olmert is a Bush lackey:
The Prime Minister’s Office said: “We have not intervened in the internal debate in the United States and we did not harm anyone. We simply announced what had taken place in the meeting [Olmert-Pelosi] on the basis of notes that are identical to those Pelosi has.”
No, you didn’t harm anyone but Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House and George Bush’s arch enemy.
And here’s Dick’s attempt to make hay with it while the sun shines:
Cheney, pointing to the Israeli reaction, said it was obvious Olmert had not authorized the message Pelosi delivered.
“It was a non-statement, nonsensical statement and didn’t make any sense at all that she would suggest that those talks could go forward as long as the Syrians conducted themselves as a prime state sponsor of terror,” the vice president said on the Rush Limbaugh radio show.
“I think it is, in fact bad behavior on her part. I wish she hadn’t done it,” Cheney said. “Fortunately I think the various parties involved recognize she doesn’t speak for the United States in those circumstances, she doesn’t represent the administration.”
Beg your pardon, Mr. Cheney, she represents the Democratic majority in Congress and is third in line to the presidency. Dismiss her and the Democrats at your peril as you have done so blithely for oh so many years.
I love to see Dick Cheney make a fool of himself and the Bush Administration whenever he opens his mouth. I’m also delighted he launched this poorly guided missile against Pelosi on Rush Limbaugh. Can’t think of a more credible media outlet than that, can you? Don’t those numbskulls realize that if they muzzled the VP-SOB they’d be doing themselves a huge political favor?
Haaretz notes that the Washington Post criticized Pelosi’s statements in Syria:
Pelosi was also slammed on Thursday by a Washington Post editorial that was headlined “Pratfall in Damascus” and called her Middle East shuttle diplomacy “foolish.”
Gee, I guess that AIPAC intern has been writing Post Israel editorials again. I can’t believe that the NY Times has said hardly a word on this story.
In true democratic nature, it’s time to stop waiting for the newspapers to comment and to look at what the experts are saying… check out this debate.
Also, as good as the news of somebody high-up going against the tide of Bush destructionalism is, I wish she had also brought up the plight of political prisoners in Syria like Michel Kilo, Anwar al-Bunni, and Dr. Kamal al-Labwani. I wish American politicians would either choose to drop talk of human rights altogether, if they intend to use it only when they want to demonize a country.
Jeanne Capozzoli says
I thought that Olmert got the word from Cheney to humiliate Pelosi, but your knowlege and access to so many sources on the Middle East helped to confirm my suspicions. Thanks again for helping me understand the mess in the Middle East.
Richard Silverstein says
It’s only a strong supposition on my part as well. These guys are smart enough to keep their fingerprints off the evidence. But just beneath the surface they’re manipulating events like crazy including this one.