Eli Lake reports on the trek of several senators, including Arlen Specter, to Syria. Specter has been seeking to engage Damascus for a decade. This 1997 interview about Hafez al-Assad is telling. As an aside, Specter violated his own caveats voiced in the interview when he subsequently engaged Iran despite its involvement in the Khobar attack. I’d be really curious for someone to ask the senators returning from Damascus to comment on how they think ordinary Syrians and the Lebanese seeking to free themselves from Syrian-sponsored terror will react to their visit. The senators might also report on what Bashar al-Assad said in response to their demands that specific political prisoners be released. This assumes the senators brought up the issue and did not just limit themselves to tasking the embassy to arrange squash games.