Keith Ellison explains why he's leaning toward supporting Syria strike [VIDEO]

keith ellison new rect.jpg
Ellison believes the U.S. has an obligation to act.
Yesterday, Keith Ellison went on WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy to explain his (preliminary) support for a military strike against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

SEE ALSO: Keith Ellison: "Let's say that the war on drugs is over" [INTERVIEW]

Ellison made clear during the interview that he believes the U.S. and other countries have "a responsibility to protect civilian populations from genocide, mass atrocity, [and] ethnic cleansing."

"Now this introduction of sarin gas to commit a mass atrocity -- 1,400 killed by it -- is a dramatic escalation," Ellison said. "That's whats going on here, and we can do nothing or we can do something, but we can't deny that this has happened and the world has a responsibility."

Ellison acknowledged that a majority of his constituents don't support U.S. military involvement, but suggested America's moral obligation to prevent innocents from being slaughtered trumps popular opinion.

"What's in my head is Rwanda, Kosovo, Darfur, and look -- I was against Iraq, against Afghanistan, but I am of the mind that we have a duty to protect civilians -- innocent civilians -- when they are subject to gas attacks like what happened," Ellison said, adding that while "we started a war in Iraq," the situation in Syria is different.

"We're not trying to be the world's policeman," Ellison said. "If we were doing that we would've been there back in March 2011 when they were killing 20,000. Now there are 120,000 [dead] and this gas thing is the trigger for me."

Ellison only supports a "limited strike," however. He said he wants military action to be limited to 60 days and isn't in favor of any sort of ground invasion of Syria.

If you'd like to watch the interview for yourself, here you go:



Today, Ellison seemed to back off his seemingly unequivocal support for military action: So here's how the entire Minnesota congressional delegation stands: Senator Franken and Rep. Betty McCollum are strong supporters of a U.S.-led military strike against Assad, while Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rep. Collin Peterson, and Rep. Rick Nolan are staunchly opposed. In between those two extremes, Ellison and Rep. John Kline lean in favor of a strike, while Rep. Erik Paulsen leans against, according to an MPR report. Senator Klobuchar and Rep. Tim Walz are undecided (UPDATE: Walz is now opposed to a military strike).

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.

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43 comments
Mike Hess
Mike Hess

Maybe someone told him the Syrians are rich so it's Ok to bomb them.

kennyX
kennyX topcommenter

"We're not trying to be the world's policeman," Ellison said. "If we were doing that we would've been there back in March 2011 when they were killing 20,000. Now there are 120,000 [dead] and this gas thing is the trigger for me."

So I guess Ellison wants us to be world's policeman now that they (allegedly) used chemical weapons. So in other words, it was acceptable when they killed 118,6000 of their people using conventional weapons, but it is now outrageous that they killed 1400 with chemical weapons. So his message is, keep on killing your people as long as you are not using chemical weapons because it is far more enjoyable to be killed by conventional missile strikes than it is by sarin. 

I. Don't. Get. That.

That said, all Democrats and Republicans who are for striking Syria are fucking stupid. There is no 100% irrefutable proof that al-Assad used these weapons against his own people (despite what John Kerry thinks). Furthermore this will do nothing to stop the civil war and all it will do is add more flame to the fire.

But it is funny though.

Imagine if Romney would have been elected and he wanted to bomb Syria, I could hear the Democrats' war cry right now: "Romney: Bush version 2.0!! Impeach!! War monger!! Treason!! No proof of chemical weapons!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!"

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

so many FoPo experts around here...amazing


watch out for the enriched uranium

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

The only reason he's "On the fence" is because it's Obama. He will do exactly as he's told to by Reid.

Mo Bluntz
Mo Bluntz

We voted this guy in in 2006 to vote to end war in Iraq. He voted 3 times to continue. Now he wants to strike another country. This guy needs to be unemployed.

Becca Hudson
Becca Hudson

No ground troops? For real? Really? Never? Ok then...by all means. Bullshit.

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

much enriched uranium near damascus...this shit is gonna pop off and WWIII is going to make me RICH

Matt Touchette
Matt Touchette

I would presume the primary difference being that this wouldn't include ground troops, and his support will be limited by what the resolution actually authorizes. That said, until the vote comes this is all just talk anyway.

John Jansen
John Jansen

Because when your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

Daren L. MN
Daren L. MN

Sorry Keith. The two factions of the War and Debt Party are full of shit.

John Quast
John Quast

I'd love to hear the Congressman's explanation of how this war is different from the last one, which he opposed. I mean, other than the political affiliation of the President.

Ryan Wachtel
Ryan Wachtel

"That's whats going on here, and we can do nothing or we can do something, but we can't deny that this has happened and the world has a responsibility." That's true Congressman but why does that "something" always translate into "bomb them!"?

Bradford C. Walker
Bradford C. Walker

Belief is irrelevant. Fact is relevant. International Law does not support this position.

green23
green23

@kennyX  You voted for Ellison, remember Bob? Or was that another of your lies?

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@John Quast Well Syria and Libya call for no troops on the ground so Keith supports them.   Iraq and Afghanistan required troops on the ground so he opposes them.  Seems pretty smart and consistent to me.  Also Keith is supporting President Obama, you know the smart badass that had Bin Laden shot in the eye and was opposing President Bush, you know the dork that was nearly killed by a pretzel and a segway.   Only an idiot would support Bush blindly like you do. 

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

@MicheleBachmann@CinBlueland

"Many Republicans and Democrats argued the U.S. has no business in Libya. Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison rejected that.

"We have business stopping mass murder from happening around the world. we have business stopping the destabilization of regions like North Africa. We have business in making sure that the peaceful resolutions that are happening in Tunisia and Egypt are not undermined," he said."

http://www.npr.org/2011/06/24/137392574/house-moves-toward-votes-on-libya-operation

Was that before he voted against it? Say one thing to appease the base, then vote another way so he can defend his record?

kennyX
kennyX topcommenter

@digitalprotocol 

Actually, you moron, he is right. Ellison is nothing but a puppet for Obama and will suck the shit out of Obama's asshole any chance he can get because Ellison caters to a district that is composed of blacks and other minorities. 

H8TER
H8TER

@MicheleBachmann you mean the smart Badass prez that couldn,t catch those two idiots that bombed Boston? Even though they had the sickest surveillance program ever! You know the one Bush started and your badass prez continues to use.  He may have executed the bin ladin raid, but we all know it was a culmination of many people and time.  Its almost like you think your badass pres got him all by himself.  BLIND LOVE FOR THE BAD ASS.  Let me give you some advice. DON'T IDOLIZE POLITICIANS< THEY ALL LIE>

green23
green23

@kennyX @MicheleBachmann  You are seriously proposing that, "Hilary was stupid enough to trust the Republicans, so she can't be trusted as President" is a good campaign narrative for Republicans? 

WOW...

green23
green23

@kennyX @MicheleBachmann Your candidate in the last election, who you admit that you voted for, wanted to go to war with Iran. 

Iran has three times the population of Iraq, mountainous areas, deserts, and relatively friendly supply lines from the North. 

But, yeah, conservatives are all pacifists now. People that don't want wars are going to vote for them, right?

green23
green23

@CinBlueland @MicheleBachmann  Those intelligence reports were repeated by other countries because, when they questioned them, they were told lies by the Bush Administration. For example, Britain questioned the underlying evidence for many of the WMD claims. The British knew that the sources were unreliable, but they were told that these were *new* sources. They weren't. 

You are trying to make it sound as if other countries had independent evidence that backed up Bush. They didn't. Any contrary evidence that other intelligence services came up with was dismissed by the U.S. Everyone saw how France was treated for not going along.

Basically, our allies trusted us and we lied to them, repeatedly and enthusiastically. That isn't "proof" of Bush's claims. I guess that if a con man fleeces other people out their money, it's okay because those other people believed him, right?

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

@MicheleBachmann @CinBlueland I didnt say I "Knew it was a bad idea" I had reservations because it's not a real country to begin with. Three very distinct areas, Sunni, Shia, Kurd, never have gotten along and are only together because of the Brits and dissolution of the Ottoman empire.  I won't call Bush's intel reports as a lie as it was repeated by every western intelligence agency leading up to the war. France, Germany and the UK submitted their OWN intelligence reports. 

You can Monday morning quarterback all you want, I'm not going to change your opinion. You've already tried, and judged Bush and Co and deemed them racist, warmongers bent on imperialism etc..

But all that now just skirting the issue that Ellison is a war monger that just wants to throw missiles at brown people. (Well as long as they're the right brown people as decided by him)

H8TER
H8TER

@MicheleBachmann @CinBlueland Fist off I think Bush sucked. 

I dont think you can prove that with out a shadow of a doubt.  You guys keep saying that, but they used info that at the time seemed good enough for Hillary Clinton, and a majority of congress. I just think its funny that you guys love Obama so much, and even now can't see how much he is like BUSH!!!!  Patriot act, Fast and furious, expanding GOV in health care, Guantanamo, the surge in Afgan, and we are still in Iraq.  Funny how we don't have the troop death tolls now that Barrack W. Bush is pres.  Is it not possible that we will once again have 20-20 vision when the dust settles, and end up with a different story?

WAR SUX!   R WE REALLY THE WORLD POLICE?

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@CinBlueland 

Congrats on admitting you are the stupidest liar on the planet you dumb freak.    The Iraq War killed millions of people based on a lie.  The Iraq War cost billions of dollars.  The Iraq War was mismanaged in colossal fuckup fashion by Bush.  THE ENTIRE WAR WAS A BASED ON BUSH'S LIE.   If you really truly hated the Iraq War then how the fuck are you still a Republican?  You expect us to believe that you knew it was a bad idea, watched it go worse than anyone could have possibly imagined and yet you are still a Republican?   If that is true you are the dumbest person on the planet.  Please explain that or apologize for being a stupid fucking liar. 

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

@green23 @CinBlueland @MicheleBachmann  

Thing you're missing the point green. It's not the standard, but GW had a lot more "evidence" and support before taking action than Obama currently has. 

Personally I say let the UN deal with it.. O already looks like an amature and was seriously outplayed by Putin. 

If you want to get into evidence (supplied by the majority of western nations) not just the war mongering, imperialist, Republican US president. It a different discussion.

As it sits now, Russia and Iran have talked their client into the weapons being put under international supervision .. So we will now have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that chemical weapons will be watched by UN troops.. /s

green23
green23

@CinBlueland @MicheleBachmann  That's the truly pathetic thing here. You want it both ways, but you think this path will make Obama look worse. In the long run, you think that this will lead to more missiles being lobbed at brown people. 

So, now the UN is the gold standard for conservatives? I thought conservatives hated the UN. That "coalition" of 40 countries was bribed and cajoled into participation, and regretted it. That's why Obama can't get a coalition now.  

It's very strange how the UN is 'controlling the world" through Agenda 21, yet this is the organisation that conservatives now look to for foreign policy guidance. It's also weird that conservatives ignore the UN on things like Israel.

And that UN authorisation was based on the WMD "threat". 

I think I'll remember how important coalitions and UN authorisations are to conservatives in the future.

green23
green23

@kennyX @MicheleBachmann Hey, there's plenty of hypocrisy to go around. Republicans still want to to go to war with Iran. Nobody believes this narrative that the Democrats were the ones who pushed the country into Iraq. Hell, the Republicans spent years claiming that the Democrats were "terrorist sympathisers", "traitors", and "surrender monkeys" because they didn't they support the war in Iraq enough

This isn't some new-found pacifism on the part of Republicans. Everybody knows that conservatives will blame Obama for not taking action in Syria. If Obama had said that he will not support military action in any circumstance, you would be howling about that.

You conservatives can't have it both ways.

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

@MicheleBachmann "your point is still very stupid since you are a pathetic war monger idiot who supported the disaster that is the Iraq War." 

What? After having been there in 91" And knowing the political makeup, and history of the place I can say I was not the biggest fan, but GWB did have UN authorization, and a coalition of 40 countries which is far more solid that what Obama is working with now. 

If I were a war monger shouldn't I be jumping at the chance to lob more missiles at brown people?

kennyX
kennyX topcommenter

I can't wait! 

kennyX
kennyX topcommenter

@MicheleBachmann 

She's (supposedly) going to be the go-to DFL Presidential candidate in 2016..................

What is her campaign slogan going to be?

Hilary Clinton 2016!

"What difference, at this point, does it make?"

kennyX
kennyX topcommenter

@MicheleBachmann 

C'mon now.........You Liberals can't have it both ways...............

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@CinBlueland Oops, I read the same links wrong.  I'm sorry I was wrong.  Still doesn't change the fact that he voted for Libya and Syria which call for no troops on the ground while voting against Afghanistan and Iraq which called for troops on the ground.  So that would be the difference.  Not to mention Keith Ellison is wisely voting to support Obama who is a smart awesome President that killed Bin Laden while voting against Bush who was a terrible President who let Bin Laden roam free.  I'm sorry I made a mistake but your point is still very stupid since you are a pathetic war monger idiot who supported the disaster that is the Iraq War.  

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@green23 @kennyX @digitalprotocol Kenny is definitely obsessed with the sexual lives of black men.   His racist stupidity is often filled with references to having sex with black men.  My guess is he is a Larry Craig type conservative.  I bet he spends lots of his time at the Minneapolis airport looking for other closeted perverts 

green23
green23

@kennyX@digitalprotocolHey, Bob...you *voted* for Ellison. Remember? And you voted for him because of how he "stood up to Obama". 

Remember when you said THIS:

"For the record, in November, the only Republican I voted for was Romney. I voted for Ellison and Amy because I felt that they have some kind of common sense (and in Ellison's case, the fact that he has the guts to call out Obama's bullshit.) I even voted for a Democrat who ran for my district's seat in the MN House. So there goes your implication that I am a "biased" Republican." 

http://mvn.io/ZfpGVw 4/7/13 

You can't even keep your lies straight, buddy. Are you also still claiming to be a "gay conservative" who is being 'oppressed by liberals'? Weird how you just kind of stopped being gay, isn't it?

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