These bozos would selll us out to Bin Laden himself if it would ensure they won elections.
Three congressmen were caught traveling to praise prewar Iraq on Saddam Hussein’s dime in 2002. Others have made pilgrimages to pay tribute to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. This is getting out of control.
As the U.S. prepared for war in October 2002, Washington state’s Jim McDermott flew to Iraq on a Saddam-praising junket with fellow Democrats Mike Thompson of California and David Bonior of Michigan. Rather than support the U.S., they condemned U.N. sanctions, vouched for Saddam’s probity and publicly declared America’s democratically elected president a liar.
None of it had anything to do with the congressmen’s claimed concern for Iraqi children, but it did undermine the U.S. alliance-building effort. And by coincidence, it was exactly what Saddam wanted.
Now we learn the junket was just as it seemed at the time — a Saddam-paid propaganda production, starring three U.S. dupes. The congressmen say they had no idea, but they should have known and must be aware that people will seek to manipulate politicians.
In this case, however, Bush derangement syndrome seemed to trump all judgment in freelance diplomacy, and the result was a sellout of our interests.
So was another trip taken to the Andes last year by another Democratic threesome — Reps. Bill Delahunt and James McGovern of Massachusetts and George Miller of California. With at least two of them in hock to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez for supplying cheap heating oil to their districts, the trio decided to meddle in Colombia, a democracy Chavez seeks to overthrow.
Claiming they were just interested in the humanitarian release of American hostages, they flew to Bogota and Caracas and initiated contact with Chavez’s best terrorists — Colombia’s Marxist FARC. Secret correspondence from the computer of dead FARC warlord Raul Reyes suggests that the real aim of the trip was to muscle Colombian President Alvaro Uribe into restoring Chavez as a mediator between Colombia and the FARC. That would have enabled Chavez to expand his cash and political influence into Colombia.
The junket followed other favors that McGovern and Delahunt did for Chavez. Both were influential, for example, in slashing Colombian military aid by 30% in 2008, and now both intend to vote down Colombia’s free trade pact.
Such stoogery isn’t helped by the bad example set by congressional leaders like Nancy Pelosi. It was the speaker of the House, remember, who took two senators on a pilgrimage to Syria a year ago, at a time of high tensions with Iran, making tyrants there very happy. These activities have little to do with the duties of congressmen to their respective districts or states. They’re also inherently secretive, leaving the citizens in the dark about the funding and the favors. Worst of all, they manage to sell out American interests for the price of undermining the president, as if there were no national interests beyond politics.
The State Department and White House have no authority to stop such shenanigans, so it’s up to Congress to start making its actions more accountable and the media to make them more transparent on the spot.