Senator Heitkamp Wants To Draw Another Red Line For Syria


While her North Dakota colleague, Rep. Kevin Cramer, talks of their constituents being “war weary” Senator Heidi Heitkamp is proposing an alternative to President Obama’s war resolution.

The President is asking for war in Syria because the country used chemical weapons after Obama himself said doing so would have consequences. Now as Secretary of State John Kerry says there is incontrovertible evidence that chemical weapons were used, Senator Heitkamp is cosponsoring (with West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin) a resolution that would draw another red line:

The United States would give Syria 45 days to sign an international chemical weapons ban or face the wrath of American military might, under a draft resolution being circulated by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).

The alternative to a use-of-force resolution could forestall an immediate American strike and create an incentive for Assad not to use chemical weapons against his own people again. It may also provide a rallying point for lawmakers who are reluctant to either approve strikes or reject the use of force outright.

This is a line in the sand, and it’s not any different than the previous line drawn by President Obama (the one he’s now claiming, ludicrously, that he didn’t draw).

It’s pretty clear that the push for war from the Obama administration is coming because they didn’t want to look weak the last time Syria crossed a line they drew. Congress drawing another line is hardly sound policy at this point, because Syria will most assuredly cross that line as well.

Senator Heitkamp’s first foray into foreign policy is an inauspicious one. This isn’t policy. This is can kicking – problem avoidance – of the sort Congress has gotten good at recently. Rather than draining the quagmire Syria has become for the US, this would add water.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Thresherman

    If the evidence is so incontrovertible, why don’t they present it?

    This sort of sounds like “We got the stuff man, we really got the stuff. But we can’t show it to you because it is just too whack! But trust us man, we really got the stuff!”

    To which i say; “Put up or shut up.”

    • sbark

      maybe….just maybe some of the “stuff” came via the arm’s runners from the Bengahzi consulate? Doubt it is gas…..but supposedly a ton of hand held missles that can drop airliners are “missing”…..Al Queda cannot account for them…cant imaginewhy not huh

    • yy4u2

      Perhaps it’s their way of saying, “we have to get in it (pass it) to see what’s in it.” We know how well that works.

  • kevindf

    Lines in the sand, lines in sand; looking like a fool with your lines in the sand!

  • flamemeister

    Will they be using crayons? Can Heidi tell the difference between red and yellow? How about a light pastel pink?

    • Roy_Bean

      At this point, what difference does it make????

    • Lianne

      nope, sidewalk chalk

  • Drain52

    Heidi can draw as many lines in the sand as it takes, if it means avoiding yet another unconstitutional, illegal, ill-advised American war.

    • Lianne

      Yes, we should not be striking Syria, but redrawing the line only weakens that person or country–everyone knows the line is a farse and there is no back bone behind it. It has no teeth and it loses all meaning. That is much like saying ‘no’ to a child, but then not sticking to that ‘no’.

      • Drain52

        I think I see your point, but hesitating to do the wrong thing is a virtue, not a vice. The criminal who vacillates on whether to mug someone is doing everyone a favor.

        You seem to be saying that just to save face we should make war with Syria. You surely can’t mean that.

        • Lianne

          I have to chuckle with your ‘comparison’. Are you implying that Obama and Heidi are criminals? I think not. And in the instance you provided, the man’s consciencetook over. So, in that instance, one who rethinks his action is wise. Now, if the criminal ‘drew a red line’ with “don’t move or I will shoot you”, then he has to shoot if the guy moves. If he doesn’t shoot, his power weakens. One must be ready to follow through with the discipline he promises. In this Syria instance, there should have never been a red line set in the first place. There is NOT one reason to back an attack by U.S.
          My first phrase clearly stated my position—striking Syria is NOT the answer.

          • Drain52

            Of course I’m implying that warmongering is criminal. Does that shock you? The blood of a 100,000 dead Iraqis is on George Bush’s hands, as well as that of 4600 American soldiers. In a just world, Bush and his accomplices would be haled before the International Court of Justice to answer for what they did. Why do we try penny-ante drug dealers but allow politicians to kill wholesale?

            Every Syrian who dies in Obama’s proposed war is proof of his criminality. Did you know that the main charge brought against Germany in the Nuremberg Tribunals was that of making aggressive war?

            Your other point is unclear. You say outright that we shouldn’t strike Syria. Then you immediately say that “redrawing the line” is a sign of weakness, etc., implying that we should strike Syria or be seen as feeble and feckless. Which is it? Thus, even though you agree that Obama shouldn’t have opened his fat mouth about “red lines,” now that he has, well, we have to back it up, right?

            I say no to killing Syrians for no good reason. Obama saving face, or America maintaining its “credibility,” is a lousy reason to go about attacking other countries.

          • Lianne

            We agree on the no stike point. We should not stike Syria. We disagree on creating another red line.
            Congress should simply say NO. That holds the credibility of the country. Obama is out there alone, where he should be after speaking off the cuff.
            Throwing out ultimatums that we have no intention of keeping is ludicrous.
            Heidi needs to vote no. What happens if Syria signs the paper and then uses the chemical weapons anyway? Who are they going to have sign? The rebels?

      • Neiman

        I have not commented on the Syria Strikes at all so far, as there is much to say on behalf of many sides of this complex issue. I think the worst reason to vote for it was a black female Congress-person saying she was morally against it, but would vote for it because she did not want Obama embarrassed by being turned down by Congress. That is not just the worst form of politics, it is racist as well.

        Why we should strike Syria? (a) If it represents a clear and present danger to the United States. Even Obama admits it does not as of this date. (b) It is so morally repugnant that it offends our sense of humanity and common decency. It is not about numbers killed, the rebels and the army have killed much, much greater numbers there during their civil war. Is gassing them any more cruel than blowing off body parts?

        What kind of strikes? If we have clear moral or self-defense causes, then are targeted strikes justified? Nonsense! It is like saying you tortured an innocent child and I will lightly punch you in the nose to punish you. If we decide that we are at sufficient risk of loss of America lives or that we must take military action, there is no other way to conduct war than by unleashing the dogs of war and bringing it to a swift and devastating end or shut up and leave them alone.

        Is a wider war or causing attacks on American interests justifications for not launching those overwhelming, devastating attacks? It is either a moral imperative or it is not, if it is, we must accept the possibility, we must be willing to pay the price of Americans being killed, or shut up and leave them alone.

        In Syria, will we fare better that the Arab Spring? Who will come to power? If it is a moral imperative, we must do what must be done or shut up about it.

        • realitybasedbob

          Neiman Lianne 2 hours ago

          I have not commented on the Syria Strikes at all so far…

          Neiman 4 days ago

          When we fail to plan, we plan to fail. Where is Obama’s plan?

          #9: Unless Obama is a fool and while not up for the job, I do not
          think him a fool, maybe he plans to fail. Maybe he is willing for
          Israel, Jordan and the West to suffer very high consequences to create
          the need for dissolving Congress, along with their being totally
          feckless. After all, if they support the plan or not and there is a
          catastrophe, he can blame them.

          Perhaps a bit sinister, but maybe not to far wrong?

          • Neiman

            You are suffering from a serious mental problem, you border on being truly psychotic and you are truly possessed of a legion of demon spirits. Until you face your several demons and your gross mental illness, you will never get well. You are facing everlasting, utter darkness and conscious, never-ending torment. I have never encountered such demonic activity in a human being as exists in you – you are a first class Christ hater and the ugliest person alive. Even Assad looks like a choir boy next to you and your deeply evil spirit.

        • Neiman

          Sorry, I did not recall a prior comment; but my psycho-sexual, cyber-stalker whom monitors my every comment for evil purposes did note my poor recall.

    • Rob

      To be fair, war in Syia authorized by Congress would be neither unconstitutional nor illegal. Misguided and potentially tragic, yes, but not illegal.

      • Drain52

        You’re right on both counts, Rob, if Congress does authorize the war. But Obama claims full authority to wage war on his own, and he’s painted himself into a corner with his own words and threats. If Heidi can delay and maybe, just maybe, defuse the problem, we might get a better solution than an Obama face-saving war.

  • toomuchguvmint

    Heidi – duped by Obama and now duped by Assad. Typical democrat that should not be any where near government.

  • Onslaught1066

    Senator Heitkamp Wants To Draw Another Red Line For Syria

    Tell her to tuck the string in.

    • realitybasedbob

      You really don’t care if you come off a little dickish, do ya, Winged Dick Head Avatar Guy?

      • Onslaught1066

        Actually, I do care, basement dwelling troglodyte guy.

        I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Liberal Democrat, after all.

        How am I doing?

    • Rob

      That’s disgusting and immature.

      • Onslaught1066

        And your point is….

        After all, I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Liberal Democrat.

        How am I doing?

  • JoeMN

    IF in fact Assad was willing chemical weapons in the first place, of what good is a signature on some “international chemical weapons ban” going to do ?

    Perhaps the Syrian resistance (Al-Qaeda) will sign off as well

  • bman

    Let’s put a berka on her fat ass and send her to syria to resolve the conflict.

  • bman

    Where was this opposition to chemical weapons what Saddam was using them on civilians and we knew for sure that it was him that was using them on civilians?
    To quote Dan Rather “Is this the last time I am going to see you mr. president ” before he broke out in tears. The left (especially CNN) absolutely loved Saddam.

    • realitybasedbob

      CIA files show America helped Saddam Hussein as he gassed Iran

      In 1988, during the waning days of Iraq’s war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Saddam Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent.

      …U.S. officials have long denied acquiescing to Iraqi chemical attacks, insisting that Hussein’s government never announced he was going to use the weapons. But retired Air Force Col. Rick Francona, who was a military attaché in Baghdad during the 1988 strikes, paints a different picture.

      …According to recently declassified CIA documents and interviews with former intelligence officials like Francona, the U.S. had firm evidence of Iraqi chemical attacks beginning in 1983.

      It’s different when it’s Raygun’s gas.

      • mickey_moussaoui


        It’s 2013. Didn’t your messiah learn anything about starting wars? It’s gotten so
        bad that the house and senate won’t take a vote because they don’t want to embarrass the little wannabe dick-tater, Barack “who’sinsanenow” Obama.
        What a sad story this turned out to be. I guess he just wasn’t ready for prime time eh? Oh well, he always has Hawaii to call home. (heh)

  • DelawareBeachHouse

    Best case scenario in terms of setting lines in the sand:

  • Randy G

    I can’t stand Heidi, that said, I cannot believe she could possibly be this stupid.

  • mickey_moussaoui

    BO: I didn’t make that line in the sand, somebody else made that.
    whata clown

  • whowon

    Even liberal Hollywood is throwing King O under the bus now. Where oh where is Susie? How many children will O kill?

  • toomuchguvmint

    Heidi should be more cautious about who she associates with and endorses. See