Frank Gaffney

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is clearly one of those women who want it all. In her case though, this is not simply a matter of a lady seeking to have both a family and a fulfilling and successful professional life. Rather, the first female leader of the House of Representatives evidently seeks also to be the commander-in-chief and the secretary of state.

The job of the former would be circumscribed, if not rendered impossible, by the legislation Mrs. Pelosi is currently pushing through Congress. Her supplemental spending bill meant to provide resources needed to fund ongoing military operations would compel the removal of U.S. combat forces from Iraq by a date certain, irrespective of conditions on the ground.

Fortunately, the incumbent Commander-in-Chief is not prepared to relinquish the job just yet. President Bush has the votes to sustain his promised veto of such restrictions. And Sen. Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, seemed on a Sunday talk show to signal that even Mrs. Pelosi's kindred spirits in defeatism are not prepared to follow her lead at the expense of the troops, whose funding is now being jeopardized.

Still, the message being sent by a Speaker who signals division in the face of the enemy is insidious in the extreme. It encourages our foes, undermines the confidence of our friends and demoralizes those we have sent into harm's way.

Not content with such dubious achievements, Mrs. Pelosi has set her sights on Condoleezza Rice's portfolio, too. Using the Easter recess for a bit of globetrotting, the Speaker took her show on the road to Damascus. Speaking of which, once there, she fatuously announced that "We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace."

Even the Washington Post was so outraged by this performance that it unloaded on her in an editorial last Thursday. The paper called the Speaker's statement "ludicrous," noting that her host and purported partner for peace, Syrian dictator Bashir Assad "is a corrupt thug whose overriding priority at the moment is not peace with Israel but heading off U.N. charges that he orchestrated the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri."

The Post justifiably savaged the Speaker for trying "to substitute her own foreign policy for that of a sitting Republican president." It said that her "attempt to establish a shadow presidency is not only counterproductive, it is foolish."

Frank Gaffney

Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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