Saturday, April 7, 2007

President Carter: Bush Ordered Me Not to Go to Damascus

Scott Horton

PUBLISHED April 6, 2007

More evidence of the White House's partisan manipulation of relations with Syria emerged yesterday, as President Jimmy Carter told a gathering in New York about his recent request to visit Syrian President Assad. The former president stated:

“I have known President Bashar al-Assad since he was a college student, and I thought it might be helpful if I went and urged him to support the peace process in the Middle East. But for the only time in my life as a former president, I was ordered by the White House not to go.”

The White House has had no criticism of three Republican Congressmen who are currently also visiting Syria. Indeed, one of them – Rep. Darrell Issa of California - sharply criticized President Bush after emerging from his meeting with Assad, something which Pelosi carefully avoided.

Attacks on Pelosi have also now regularly featured photographs of her wearing a headscarf, coupled with suggestions that she is engaged in "appeasement" of Islamic extremists. Joe Conason assesses the attacks in a column at this morning. He states:

As for the headscarf, which Pelosi wore while visiting a mosque and a marketplace, there could be no conceivable reason to vilify this natural gesture of respect -- except to excite religious and ethnic bigotry. Women have been covering their heads upon entering certain places for hundreds of years, and so have men for that matter. Nobody complains when an American politician puts on a yarmulke in a synagogue or an American woman covers her bare arms in a cathedral, and nobody should.

No, the war against Pelosi is a rear-guard assault by the White House against moderates and liberals in both political parties who understand that the failed Bush policies have jeopardized American interests and hurt the Mideast peace process. What Wolf and Pelosi have in common is their endorsement of the Iraq Study Group's proposals, which emphasize regional diplomacy, including direct talks with both Syria and Iran. Indeed, it was Wolf who first approached James Baker about undertaking the Iraq report, and who sponsored the legislation that paid for the group's work.

The malice behind these attacks leaves the clear impression that the "war party" is still at the helm in the White House, and that military confrontation with Syria is still given a priority ahead of talking. This belies the president's muddled statements about pursuing a dialogue with Syria.


Richard J. Palmer said...

Jimmy Carter, one of the few really decent politicians I can think of, wanted to go to Damascus because he has known Syria's President since he was a college student. For Bush to order him not to go only proves to me further that Bush does not want the conflict resolved. He has a one track mind and that is to get to the black gold of Iraq, no matter what he has to do to accomplish it. That is what he mean by Victory. Damn his soul!

Marc Parent mparent7777 mparent CCNWON said...

Dubya doesn't need help damning his soul. :)