Vice President Cheney
At a speech today in Chicago to welcoming leaders of the Heritage Foundation, Vice President Dick Cheney took aim at the Democrat-controlled Congress after its first 100 days, scolding leadership for trying to take over foreign policy.
Referring to attempts to control the war through appropriations, Cheney declared, to applause, “military operations are to be directed by the president of the United States, period.”
“By the wisdom of the framers, that power rests in the hands of one commander-in-chief, not 535 commanders-in-chief on Capitol Hill,” the vice president said. “I might add that we don’t need 535 secretaries of state, either.”
Cheney said matters were made worse when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi went to Damascus for a face-to-face meeting with President Bashar Assad of Syria – regarded by the U.S. as a terrorist-supporting nation.
“Here again, we have an instance of the new congressional leadership making a bad move and sending mixed signals about the policies and the intentions of the United States,” Cheney said.
“No member of Congress, Democrat or Republican, has any business jetting around the world with a diplomatic agenda contrary to that of the president and the secretary of state,” he said. “It is for the executive branch, not the Congress, to conduct the foreign policy of the United States of America.”
Pelosi insists her trip to the Middle East was an asset, maintaining she communicated President Bush’s “message.”
As WND reported, the House speaker’s trip to Damascus last week might be a felony under the Logan Act, according to a former State Department official. The Logan Act, initiated by President John Adams in 1798, makes it a felony and provides for a prison sentence of up to three years for any American, “without authority of the United States,” to communicate with a foreign government in an effort to influence that government’s behavior on any “disputes or controversies with the United States,” points out Robert F. Turner, former acting assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs.
Pelosi told reporters that during her talks with Assad she “determined that the road to Damascus is the road to peace.”
Nancy Pelosi in Syria (Image: Newsbusters.org)
“We came in friendship, hope,” she said.
The House speaker also said she conveyed an Israeli message to Assad that the Jewish state was ready to resume peace talks. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert quickly issued a denial, however, stating Israel’s policy toward Syria has not changed.
WND reported members of terrorist organizations whose top leaders live in Syria called Pelosi’s Damascus visit “brave” and “very appreciated,” saying it could bring about “important changes” to America’s foreign policy, including talks with “Middle East resistance groups.”
A Syrian political party in exile said this week Pelosi’s Damascus visit is having a “chilling” effect on reformers in the region.
“For Nancy Pelosi to cajole with Assad who has facilitated the killing of American soldiers is a travesty,” declared the Reform Party of Syria, a U.S.-based opposition party to the Assad regime that says it formed as a result of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.