Specter and Kennedy go on a road trip to Syria

posted at 9:42 am on December 31, 2007 by Bryan

One of the questions Americans are trying to answer for ourselves is which of the presidential candidates we’d prefer to represent us at the table when we have to deal with the world’s worst regimes and figures. I haven’t answered that question in my own mind in the affirmative, but I can sure answer it in the negative: Whoever represents us when dealing with rogue regimes ought not be Arlen Specter and Patrick Kennedy.

A pair of U.S. lawmakers visited the Syrian capital on Sunday in an attempt to persuade the Arab state to make peace with Israel and woo it from the Iranian sphere of influence.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.) visited Syria after a trip to neighboring Israel, which gave its blessing to the lawmakers’ mediation effort. Israel and Syria have been in a state of war for decades despite occasional diplomatic forays between the two nations.

Well what is Israel going to do if two US lawmakers ask about going to talk to Syria, tell them no? The relevant question isn’t whether Israel gave approval, but whether the Bush administration gave approval. If Specter and Kennedy are conducting their own foreign policy in meeting with Syria, they ought to stop. If the administration sent these two, then it’s hard but not impossible to imagine fielding a less stellar team.

It’s also hard but not impossible to imagine more slanted reporting on the subject. Check out the issue framing here.

Still, Syrian officials voiced doubt that much would come out of the mediation effort as long as there is no movement on the issue of the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East War.

Peace talks between the two countries collapsed in 2000 over the extent of an Israeli pullout from the plateau. In one poll this year, only 10% of Israelis supported a full withdrawal.

“Syria will appreciate any positive act to push for resumption of the peace process, but going into the details of the negotiations will need a different process,” said a Syrian official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “There is no point of a peace process on the Israeli-Syrian track if the occupied Golan Heights are not guaranteed back.”

Another possible irritant in the relations is an Israeli airstrike against an unspecified military target deep inside Syria in September.

“Another possible irritant” might be whatever it was that the Israelis felt was threatening enough that they had to risk war to destroy, but the story framing puts the blame on Israel rather than the Syrians. It looks like Specter accepts his own version of that biased framing.

He told reporters that he would convey Syrian responses to Washington and Israeli officials along with his “sense of what should happen next.”

He said that Israel understands that any peace treaty with Syria must include a return of the Golan Heights.

“I am confident that Olmert wants to have a peace treaty with Syria and he is ready to do what is necessary in a reciprocal arrangement to get it done,” the senator told reporters.

Specter would give the Golan Heights away if he could. It seems almost strange to say this, but the French seem to have the better approach to Syria these days than we do: Isolate them.

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“Road to Syria” with Specter & Kennedy! Who needs Hope & Crosby, anyway…ugh.

Sir Loin on December 31, 2007 at 9:46 AM

Boy, campaigning on Specter’s behalf really worked out for President Bush, didn’t it?

Slublog on December 31, 2007 at 9:47 AM

Will Patches be doing all the driving for this trip?

James on December 31, 2007 at 9:54 AM

Perhaps these two tools should visit the site of that Israli air strike, and see if they glow in the dark on the way home.

conservnut on December 31, 2007 at 9:55 AM

I understand that if you ride toward Damascus, you might get knocked off your vehicle by a blinding vision, which asks, “Why do you persecute me?”

Bigfoot on December 31, 2007 at 9:55 AM

Do RINO Specter and (Yet_another_damn)Kennedy know there IS a law on the books making it illegal to interfere with official foreign policy conducted by the President and State Department???
Let’s see…Jimmy Carter, Nancy Pelosi, John Conyers…is this an “Idiots-of-the-Week-Trying-To-Sabotage-American-Foreign-Policy-and-Usurp-Constitutional -Powers-Club”?

DavePa on December 31, 2007 at 9:56 AM

Fan-bois trying to position themselves for the ‘inevitable’ Dem win in November. Adding the Syrian entry stamp to their passports to build up their useful tool cred.

Limerick on December 31, 2007 at 9:59 AM

Can Patches find Israel or Syria on a map? He probably thinks Syria is some kind of bread.

Isn’t there a law about citizens meeting with foreign officials without permission of the Administration? I remember people here saying Pelosi should be indicted using this law.

One of my cousins was on the Golan with his reserve unit in October 1973 when the Syrians attacked. Luckily, he came out of it without any injury. He and his family are quite liberal, but even they don’t support pulling out of the Golan.

Mooseman on December 31, 2007 at 10:07 AM

Kennedy just woke up from a alcohol and drug stuper, thinking he was there because he needed to vote.

Wade on December 31, 2007 at 10:08 AM

I would think Syria (and the Israeli’s for that matter) must get a real kick out of our self-important legislators. Any thinking person would have to ask, “What in the [email protected] do THESE two morons think they’re going to accomplish?


Aside from the obvious political “fly in the ointment” effect of their visit, it surely costs thousands of dollars to fly these yahoos around the freakin’ world to play.


Tim Zank on December 31, 2007 at 10:09 AM

Maybe they were just picking up some more Ron Paul donations.

Limerick on December 31, 2007 at 10:10 AM

If the administration sent these two, then it’s hard but not impossible to imagine fielding a less stellar team.

Oh yeah ??
How about Condy Rice and Colin Powell or Madelyne Albright?
As far as Specter is concerned – you judge a person by the company he keeps as the old saying goes.

OBX Pete on December 31, 2007 at 10:12 AM

The relevant question isn’t whether Israel gave approval, but whether the Bush administration gave approval.

If Bush sent these two to do our bidding with Syria, it would be a slap in the face of our useless Department of State. And gallivanting around the world is not a primary function of the legislative branch.

RINO Specter and that Hyannisport prima donna should stay home. We already know that they cannot function in the positions they were elected to, why give them anything else to fail at.

Here’s a link to Specter’s senate webpage. I’ve already given him an ear full.

Zorro on December 31, 2007 at 10:16 AM

It is outrageous that Patrick Kennedy’s junket to the MiddleEast should be financed by the taxpayers of the United States. This is a young man who drove while high as a kite onto the Capitol grounds and then lied to Capitol police officers about what happened. He claimed that he was under some “autocontrol” and could not know what he was doing or prevent himself from getting into the car, driving while inebriated from alchohol or drugs and then lying to police officers. Is that the type of man we want to represent the United States in dealing with thugs like Assad?

Larraby on December 31, 2007 at 10:29 AM

The only diplomats Syria will listen to are “Mr. B-1 Bomber” and “Mr. Smart Bomb”.

I hear they are real attention getters.

fogw on December 31, 2007 at 10:31 AM

Larraby on December 31, 2007 at 10:29 AM

Maybe this will count as rehab?

James on December 31, 2007 at 10:32 AM

Another possible irritant in the relations is an Israeli airstrike against an unspecified military target deep inside Syria in September.

No mention of the target being a hidden NUKE FACTORY with “material” from NOKO?
Now THAT’S a possible irritant…to the rest of the world.

shooter on December 31, 2007 at 10:51 AM

I cannot believe the White House actually authorized this. They need to be charged as soon as they get back. It will never happen though. Sigh.

CrimsonFisted on December 31, 2007 at 11:01 AM

So we sent our dumbest alcoholics to commit treason? I hear the regular Senate gym parishners are glad as he11 the stink-foot went east and the gate-guards are at ease for the holidays…

Griz on December 31, 2007 at 11:36 AM

It’s “ISHTAR” all over again!

(Or maybe “Dumb and Dumber- the Depends Years“.)

profitsbeard on December 31, 2007 at 11:53 AM

Just imagine for one second why Patches Kennedy, slap happy and above the law substance abuser, gets elected and then gets sent to a place like Syria to negotiate on behalf of this country? It simply boggles the mind.

I happen to like Rhode Island, and there are some wonderful people that live there, but they actually reelected this alcohol soaked, pill popping turd after his skimming out on an OUI (on his was to a House vote at 2am).

A country founded to escape the injustice of royalty, and we insist on electing profoundly corrupt nobility with the surname of Kennedy. Their coat of arms should be a car rampant, on a field of whiskey, with a crest of a fist filled with prescription drugs.

Hening on December 31, 2007 at 12:17 PM

Who told them the Wizard of Oz lives in Syria?

So many DINOs have made the pilgrimage to Syria there must be a special holding cage for them

entagor on December 31, 2007 at 12:49 PM

Bush’s support and stumping for Specter during the last election was the beginning of his own downward spiral here in Pennsylvania. Rick Santorum unwittingly hitched his wagon to that effort as well, and look what happened to him. Case of blind allegience to GWB.
Specter is loathed here in Penna. by most good Republicans. He gets his support from the asshat Republicans in Philadelphia and disenfranchised Democrats.
Hope Bush is enjoying the benefits of his efforts. What a fool!

gunter on December 31, 2007 at 1:09 PM

They probably went to go see “Charlie Wilson’s War” this past week.

krabbas on December 31, 2007 at 2:45 PM

An old queen like Specter and Pat Kennedy doing the political nasty, huh? Arlen better wipe his chin when he’s done.

LtE126 on December 31, 2007 at 2:48 PM

Is it just me or does Arlen Specter remind one of Al Bundy? He looks like Bundy but he talks like Edward G. Robinson.

Frank Nitti on December 31, 2007 at 4:43 PM