Rick Nolan gets into "heated exchange" with John Kerry for comparing Syria to Vietnam

Categories: Military, Politics
rick nolan rect.jpeg
Nolan is "vehemently opposed to a military strike" in Syria.
Democratic northern Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan has emerged as one of the most staunch opponents of President Obama's desire to launch some sort of military action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

SEE ALSO: Rick Nolan says he's expected to spend twice as much time fundraising as on actual legislative work

According to a Politico report, during a conference call yesterday in which Secretary of State John Kerry tried to sell members of Congress on the necessity of a military strike, Nolan and Kerry got into a "heated" exchange after Nolan compared Syria to Vietnam. Kerry, of course, was wounded while serving there.

Politico details the argument Kerry made during the call:
Secretary of State John Kerry told House Democrats that the United States faced a "Munich moment" in deciding whether to respond to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government.

In a 70-minute conference call on Monday afternoon, Kerry derided Syrian President Bashar Assad as a "two-bit dictator" who will "continue to act with impunity," and he urged lawmakers to back President Barack Obama's plan for "limited, narrow" strikes against the Assad regime, Democratic sources on the call said.

Kerry's derisive comments on Assad and his reference to the 1938 Munich agreement between Adolf Hitler and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain -- after which Chamberlain infamously declared it would lead to "peace for our time" -- showed the hard line the White House is taking in its drive for congressional approval of the Syrian resolution. Top administration officials argue that a failure by the United States to respond to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime will only lead to more violence and instability in the region.
But Nolan wasn't persuaded, and following the call, he released a statement saying, "After a three-hour classified briefing and taking time to read all the classified documents, what I have heard and read has only served to convince me more than ever of the folly and danger of getting America involved in the Syrian civil war."

"I will vote and work against President Obama's request for open-ended authority to launch military strikes against the Syrian army," he concluded.

Over the weekend, Obama said he'd seek congressional approval before striking Assad militarily. It appears he can count Nolan and Michele Bachmann among the nay votes. (On the other hand, Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar have signaled their support.)

Will Obama forge ahead with a military strike even if Congress isn't persuaded by Kerry's sell job? According to the Washington Post, during a press conference on Saturday, Obama didn't tip his hand as to what he'll do if Congress rejects a measure authorizing his administration to use force.

h/t -- David Brauer

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


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
18 comments
John Zellie
John Zellie

They don't even use chop sticks in Syria, I have been there no chop sticks anywhere.

thetruth
thetruth

Thank god at least somebody is saying no. 

k2yeb
k2yeb topcommenter

Obama...."Change"....Yeah freakin right.....

k2yeb
k2yeb topcommenter

Notice how little coverage liberal media is giving to this. Good grief. Iraq was a mistake. So will this. We need to stop catering to oil and Israel and retract our military stronghold on the world. We just can’t afford it financially or physically. Stop playing chess with people’s lives. It's not just costing us our economy.

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

So we're just going to lob some missiles at the dictators troops to help the terrorist supported troops in the midst of a civil war?

There is zero support for this, we have no vested interest. At least with Iraq we had UN approval and congressional approval. (for good or bad)

Let the UN deal with this, aren't they supposed to be the real "World Police" anyways? If not what is their function, and why are we funding them?

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

Watching John Kerry's performance in this fiasco is really disheartening.  I'm not surprised to learn that Rick Nolan has more integrity left than John Kerry.  But to see the extent of Kerry's self-betrayal and debasement--that's hard to look at.  Like watching John McCain sell his soul to Karl Rove in 2007-2008 after what Rove did to McCain in 2000; that too was hard to watch.

Noah Hanson
Noah Hanson

Finally Nolan has a smart position, took long enough.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@swmnguy I'm just curious why you say that.  I don't think its black and white.  Obama isn't putting troops on the ground.  Why is John Kerry debasing himself?   John McCain worked with people that used racist attacks against his daughter.   John Kerry is making the case for missile strikes against a dictator who used chemical weapons.   John Kerry isn't a pacifist.  I don't see the comparison between him and McCain.  Were you opposed to our intervention in Libya?   How about Somalia?   Or the operation that killed Bin Laden?   Isn't it time to admit Obama might know what he is doing when it comes to the military.  

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

@MicheleBachmann  Hi, MB.  We're unlikely to agree on this one.  I read the 4-page document on the White House website.  It's garbage.  It contains no evidence of anything.  It's all a bunch of unsupported assertions and statements of opinion.

Without a UN resolution, a US attack on Syria is a war crime.  Kerry knows this.  Kerry also knows who is supplying and financing the Syrian rebels. He also knows that most of them are not Syrian at all, but Tunisian, Libyan and Yemeni. 

He knows this because they are the identical guys we transported from Yemen to Libya to do the hit on Gadhafi (No, I wasn't in favor of that one either). 

(As for Somalia, the issue there was that our proxy warlords were getting their asses kicked.  Not much of a stand on principle. And no, I didn't support that, either.)

Kerry knows that the main reason for the Syrian rebellion is in fact the Saudi and Qatari natural gas pipeline project to undercut Russia's monopoly on natural gas sales to Europe.  Hey, if I were France I'd rather buy gas from the Saudis than Putin, but it's interesting that Putin has gotten the UK, Germany, and the rest of Europe to suddenly lose all enthusiasm for the same stunts they were perfectly willing to partake in with the Libya caper.

Kerry has already looked ridiculous in front of Putin about the first allegation that Assad used gas in March, when Carla del Ponte put the lie to that.  Then the Edward Snowden thing, the Cypriot bank seizures, and now this.  For Kerry to lose credibility and be shown to be a liar to a vicious creep like Putin?  If he had any integrity left, he'd resign already.  I mean, we forced a head of state's plane to land and be searched based on a bad tip that somebody we were mad at might be on board? (Evo Morales/Edward Snowden).  That was an act of war, right there.

And Assad?  What a brutal, vicious bastard.  He proved it by his eagerness to lend his secret police to the US rendition program.  Assad's torturers are as American as apple pie.  But that isn't what bothers us about Assad, is it.  We're just fine with him torturing people on our dime.  It's when he won't help us antagonize Russia or maintain and promote violent chaos in the Middle East that all of a sudden he's got to go.

John Kerry used to be opposed to war crimes.  Now, when offered power, he has no such scruples.  John McCain hated Karl Rove fair and square.  But when he wanted access to the fundraising machinery, he kissed Rove's (ring).

Yes, Obama knows what he's doing with the military.  I have no qualms admitting that.  He's continuing the past 35 years worth of US policy in the Middle East, as summed up in the manifesto of the Project for the New American Century.  In fact, Obama's loudest supporters in this Syrian business were signatories on that PNAC manifesto, and were G. W. Bush's loudest supporters regarding Iraq.  No wonder when I see John Kerry's recent proclamations, all I can hear is Colin Powell.  It's the same spiel.

This thing stinks to high heaven.  I hate to be on the same side as  vicious little pigs like Rand Paul and his ilk, but I was here first.  It's my side; not theirs.  And no doubt I'll still be on this side when their bread is buttered on the other side and they follows their opportunity; that being more existent than their values.


thetruth
thetruth

@MicheleBachmann @swmnguy No proof presented to the american public that chemical weapons were used, and that they were used by Syrian forces. No compelling reason to get involved other than because our president talked tough. Give me a break. We don't need to kill anyone to prove a dull point. 

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

@MicheleBachmann@swmnguyJohn McCain worked with people that used racist attacks against his daughter. Is gay a race? I don't remember anyone calling her out for being a white cracker.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@swmnguy Even when we don't agree I respect your opinion.  I'm a liberal and proud of it.  Maybe just a little bit hawkish.  I know veterans though and I don't take war lightly.  I just think the biggest military in the world has a duty to do things to help people on occasion.  Usually I want that to mean help after tsunamis.   Sometimes I want that to be military strikes against a dictator.  Once in a great while I want our troops to help make a change but only when there is no other options.  

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@swmnguy Barack Obama and John Kerry are not liars. As a liberal you are smart enough to know this.  If they are saying Assad is gassing children they are more than likely not lying. Barack Obama has done more than enough to earn the public's trust and the verification of 3rd party sources is enough that you can't deny a chemical attack took place and people were killed.  Obama isn't talking about boots on the ground.  Obama doesn't get millions from Halliburton.   When Obama says we need to bomb Syria because this dictator is killing people with chemical weapons it is a fact.   I don't give a crap what the UN calls a war crime.  If a government uses chemical weapons to kill their citizens and another government shoots missiles to punish there is only one war crime.   Pretending that Obama might be lying or it is a war crime is a cop out.  Just say you oppose all military intervention and support isolationism.  You admit you didn't support Obama's successful actions in Libya.  You stood with Rand Paul and those types during that too.  They preached doom and gloom but were wrong.  Obama knows how to use military force.   The truth of the matter is Assad is our enemy.  He has used chemical weapons against his people.  A strike or two to help the rebels might topple his government and weaken Russia and Iran.  At worst we spend some money and prolong the Syrian Civil War.  I don't support troops on the ground but I do support using our technology to aid the rebels.  I know full well the rebels aren't perfect either.  I'd rather have an anti-Iran and anti-West Syrian government than the pro-Iran anti-Western government they have now.  

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@thetruth Obviously you haven't paid attention.  John Kerry and President Obama have laid out plenty of proof.  When you are the richest most powerful military in the world you have a moral obligation to stand up to dictators that commit human rights abuses.  Barack Obama isn't some bloodthirsty nut.  He has been reasonable and smart with his use of force.  If you use chemical weapons on civilians the world needs to respond. You are going to let people die to prove a dumb point.  Syria is America's enemy. A change in regime is almost for sure better than leaving the dictator in charge.  

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

@MicheleBachmann I see my mistake, I was drawing a line from your saying racist in response to his daughter, not the overall assumption of Bush and Cheney being racist. (and stupid etc etc)

No worries MB, have a nice night.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@CinBlueland Read a newspaper stupid.  Racist George W. Bush and racist Karl Rove appealed to the racist and stupid Republican base by lying and claiming McCain's adopted daughter was his biological daughter out of wedlock because Republicans are stupid racists.  It worked and Bush won the primary in South Carolina in 2000.  McCain hired the very people that did this when he ran in 2008 because John McCain is an evil old man with no soul. Thanks for proving again how stupid and poorly informed you are.     By the way stupid I told you about this before.  This is why I'm so insulting when I respond to you.  You are nothing but a stupid asshole troll who never responds to facts or learns from his mistakes.  You are stupid and poorly informed. 

Now Trending

Minnesota Concert Tickets

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

Loading...