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This afternoon a communication from my junior senator, Martin Heinrich (D-NM), landed in my email.  Heinrich is not a publicity hog, and you usually have to go searching to find out what he thinks about issues.  Which is not always a bad thing, as his career in Congress has developed.  Our newly elected senator has a seat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, where he has not been conspicuous for his contributions.  Today, however, he took a stand:

The last week has been the most difficult I have experienced in my more than eight years in public office.  What I share with you now will not win me any popularity awards, and some of you may well never forgive me for my decision today. All I ask is that you read this entire letter and seek to understand how I came to make this decision.  
Uh oh....  He goes on to explain that he owes us his best judgment, and wants to be able to look his kids in the eye, and he's been seeing some very very nasty pictures in committee that the intelligence agencies are passing along.  However, don't think he's eager to attack:
Despite that, I remain of the belief that as a nation, we cannot become directly entangled in a civil war that we do not fully understand. It is for this reason that I do not think we should arm the Syrian rebels and I do not support sending American troops into this conflict.  [His bold.]
After the "despite," we get a "however" which goes over the facts of the chemical attack, with a confident assertion that we know Assad did it.  And he characterizes the attack as part of a deliberate pattern of escalation on the part of the Assad regime, flouting international norms.  Well yes, perhaps.
What's more, I believe that when any country chooses to ignore the international norms against chemical weapons, they have made a deeply immoral decision with worldwide implications, implications that the United States and the international community cannot ignore. If you want to understand why chemical weapons were singled out for international actions, you can watch videos that were taken in the aftermath of the Damascus attacks. These videos show the real effects of chemical weapons and are completely consistent with international forensic evidence showing that the agent was Sarin nerve gas.  I would warn you not to view these with children in the room. They are real and they are horrible. [Unlike videos of drone attacks on wedding parties, or US white phosphorus attacks in Fallujah, which for the most part we were not permitted to see either.]

I know that we are a nation that is not only rightfully weary of war, but also jaded by the dishonest use of cooked intelligence reports that led to terrible mistakes in Iraq. But this is not Iraq and we have a moral obligation to deter Assad and every regime watching him from thinking that they can gas their people with impunity, commit genocide, or employ internationally prohibited weapons.

It is for this reason, and this reason alone, that I will support President Obama's request for the authorization of use of military force. [His bold, again.]  

I decided that the senator's, uh, heartfelt letter deserved a response.

On your letter about Syria

After being a hearty initial supporter of yours when you first beat Heather Wilson for the House seat from ABQ, I have been progressively concerned and now dismayed by your failure to uphold the progressive values you initially espoused in that first campaign, and to which you have still paid lip service in subsequent campaigns.  You appear to have been captured by the Beltway consensus, suffocating on the noxious fumes of corruption and conventional thinking that permeate that once and future swamp.

It was bad enough when you failed to support the CPC's People's Budget in the House.  Now, however, falling in line with the administration's utterly inadequate arguments about Syria, and your Chair Dianne Feinstein's complete capture by the national surveillance state, you once again exhibit a profile in cowardice.  

We have no business attacking Syria.  There is no international consensus on military force in Syria, so any attack would be a lawless act of international vigilantism.  There is no logical case to be made for how an attack would materially change the situation on the ground in Syria, so any attack would be a murderous gesture of futility.  The latest diplomatic possibilities do not strengthen the hand of those threatening attacks, but rather argue for restraint.  This makes your timing with today's letter even more preposterous.  Hiding behind "seeing all the intelligence" has never prevented your colleagues and predecessors on the Intelligence Committee from making catastrophic and obviously stupid decision as a bloc.  It is not enough to pretend you see facts we don't.  We see enough facts to know your stance supporting the administration's request for unilateral use of military force against Syria is a craven failure of statesmanship.  As you stated, "I have always believed that my decisions in public office should reflect my best judgment and what I believe to be the best course for our nation."  If this is your best judgment, it is simply not good enough.

I am unsubscribing from your mailing list and do not wish to receive future solicitations from you for my support.  Shame on you, Senator.

I have suspected Heinrich of being a blue dog in the making for some time.  This is a step too far.

Originally posted to Dallasdoc on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 07:28 PM PDT.

Also republished by New Mexico Kossaks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I won't be staying up late for comments, if any (59+ / 0-)

    I understand the arguments on both sides, but you and I do not have the duty that a senator on the Intelligence Committee has to demand restraint.  Heinrich needs to hear that argument, and for a new senator I'm hoping that a strongly-worded letter might gain the attention of somebody in his office.

    We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

    by Dallasdoc on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 07:31:14 PM PDT

    •  I attended a fundraiser and heard him speak (18+ / 0-)

      No strong stands on anything.  Facile soundbites instead of convictions.  

      Economic Left/Right: -7.38
      Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.00
      Two steps to the right of Trotsky.

      by jvance on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 09:08:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's been my impression (25+ / 0-)

        An empty vessel open to whatever campaign contributions and safe establishment bullshittery get poured in.  He's been a much smaller disappointment than Obama, but of a very similar kind.

        We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

        by Dallasdoc on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 09:16:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As with his NRA Position (6+ / 0-)

          during the Manchin-Toomey bill fail, in which he also took a totally two-faced approach -- self-righteously supporting background checks while quietly opposing the assault rifle ban.

          I kind of expected this since he was always NRA's boy ... got an A rating and even sponsored one of their bills on interstate gun sales.  

          I have a Team Heinrich shirt from volunteering for him in 2010, the Year of the Teabagger.  I've had the guy's back when the going was rough.  Impressed as he came to shop for fasteners at the hardware store in my hood, which showed his regular guy cred.  

          But it's getting to be too much now after reading this slithery statement on Syria.

          "And once again, the forces of niceness and goodness have triumphed over the forces of evil and rottenness." --Maxwell Smart

          by emobile on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 10:11:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Even his letter to Doc is weak. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        psnyder, Dallasdoc, llbear

        I guess he can flip either way. If we attack and it goes South he can say he said,

        Despite that, I remain of the belief that as a nation, we cannot become directly entangled in a civil war that we do not fully understand. It is for this reason that I do not think we should arm the Syrian rebels and I do not support sending American troops into this conflict.
        Then if we don't attack or if we do and it's a success he can say,
        It is for this reason, and this reason alone, that I will support President Obama's request for the authorization of use of military force.
        What a weasel......Glad you've got him Doc and not us;)

        Oh shit, I forgot, we've got Portman....

        "If fighting for a more equal and equitable distribution of the wealth of this country is socialistic, I stand guilty of being a socialist." Walter Reuther

        by fugwb on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 05:35:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Say, Dallas doc. . . (5+ / 0-)

      First of all, kudos to Sen Udall for making a loud and clear statement saying NO to the Obama Syrian request.
      I am a little surprised by what Heinrich wrote, but then I
      remembered something -- Heinrich was born and reared
      in rural Missouri.  Now, in my view, Missouri (rural MO),
      ranks right up there with West 'By God' Virginia in conservative
      red-neck viewpoints and it is no surprise if some of that
      rubbed off on Heinrich and is still there. For the most part,
      Heinrich is OK, but he's off track on the present issue and
      his arguments are not effective.
      My liberal friends in St. Louis and Kansas City, please forgive
      me. These comments about Missouri do not include you! You
      are two great well-educated cities with good politics!

      •  West Virginia (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc

        In honor of my best friend who recently died - and who was a strong and proud West Virginia native - and a forceful and strong and proud Liberal/Progressive - I want him and the many other West Virginians to receive their due credit for being Progressives with a strong voice - even from places often maligned in comments online.

    •  Seriously? (4+ / 0-)
      "a blue dog in the making"
      So wanting to enforce international norms forbidding the development and use of technology which can poison and kill thousands of people with a minimum of fuss and force now defines someone as a blue dog?

      Damn, where do I go. Sign me up. I'm a blue dog now!

      I am honestly very skeptical of use of military force here, and I hope a peaceful solution is achieved which involves Syria relinquishing chemical weapons. But this kind of rhetoric is not helpful.

      There are good reasons to rattle sabers right now, and good reasons to stay out. We should discuss those reasons on the merits and not slander those who are on the other side of this argument.

      •  So now the term "blue dog" (23+ / 0-)

        is slander?

        That's absurd.

        Own your position and be proud of it. Don't whine when you support wars of choice and earn the blue dog label. And if you don't like the label, then rethink your position on taking the country to war when the evidence is shaky, when there are other options, when supporting the arming and training of radical and largely foreign mercenaries overthrowing a government as proxies for other countries, when advocating humanitarianism at the end of a cruise missile.

        Own it.

        This notion that the word "apologist" and now the term "blue dog" (and whatever other accurate descriptions arise that suddenly are objected to) are "slander" or insults are just convenient ploys for people who don't want to own up to their own choices and behavior.


        "Justice is a commodity"

        by joanneleon on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 04:13:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I love dogs. And my favorite color is blue. (0+ / 0-)

          I'm a blue dog!

          I'm just not a democrat.

          Please pretend that I don't give a shit.

          by Jim Riggs on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 05:17:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  joanneleon, I agree with (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dallasdoc, gulfgal98, MKinTN, dharmafarmer

          every word of your comment. Beautifully worded and rec'ced w/pride. Have you ever done a diary on the subject?

          Through thoughts, words and actions, we live the truth we know. -- L. Spencer

          by orlbucfan on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 06:30:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Blue Dog means something very specific (0+ / 0-)

          and this ain't that.

          From el wiki de pedia, emphasis mine:

          The Blue Dogs are viewed by some as a continuation of the socially conservative wing of the Democratic party, however, the only stated policy position of the Blue Dogs is fiscal conservatism.
          ...
          Blue Dogs are an important swing vote on spending bills and as a result have gained influence in Congress out of proportion to their numbers. They are frequently sought after to broker compromises between the Democratic and Republican leadership, generally lending a more centrist character to US politics.
          So let's look at that in regards to Syria. The fiscally conservative position is... not to bomb. The Republican leadership claims they do not want to bomb, though we know they actually just want money to feed their MIC buddies before we can bomb.

          The Blue Dog position? Probably to require spending cuts to something more important if we spend any money on this war. There might be some overlap with the neo-con position, which would be to move spending to the defense budget unrelated to this action, instead of cutting it. But overall, the Blue Dog position, while odious on other issues, would not encourage a quick military strike here.

          •  In other words (0+ / 0-)

            I don't want "Blue Dog" used in this fight the way people have been using it, because it's simply not accurate. The support for this strike is not coming from the Blue Dogs.

            And lest you think I'm defending the Blue Dogs, nope. I want to keep that insult available for those who actually are Blue Dogs — those so-called Democrats who are willing to fuck up Social Security and domestic social spending, and impoverish Americans to benefit the 1%.

      •  Please explain to me... (6+ / 0-)

        why you support this military response.  I am not trying to be an asshole or anything, I really want to know.  Help me understand, please.

        I really cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would advocate attacking another country, regardless of what they did or did not do, with no clear objective in mind.  For those people out there comparing Assad to Hitler (which is like comparing a hyper poodle to a trained attack pitbull), I would not have supported an "Unbelieveable small" military response to the Nazis either.  War either IS or IS NOT, kinda like being sorta pregnant.

        I truly wish to understand why someone, anyone, would support this type of action.  Do you want the rebels to win?  If so, why only a little tiny air strike not intended to destabelize Assad?  Do you just want him to stop using chemical weapons?  A.)  how would bombing him do that and B.) How do you know, other than PBO's word that it was Assad?  I have seen fairly compelling evidence to the contrary.

        What good could bombing possibly accomplish?

        "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

        by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 06:03:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd rather not strike Syria (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Buckeye Nut Schell

          I don't think much good will come of it. But holding a credible threat out there helps diplomacy to rid Syria of its chemical weapons.

          If we allow countries to violate international law and use chemical weapons with no consequences, we're opening a door to a whole lot worse. Nuclear weapons, other technology not even developed yet.

          At some point there might be a question of worldwide relinquishment of military-applicable technology, rather than suffering another horribly destructive arms race corrosive to democracy.

          We're trying that now with going for global zero on nukes. While that's a long way off, I'd much rather not sabotage it by allowing countries to use WMDs, however minor, when that is universally considered a war crime.

          Furthermore, for Assad to gain advantage in his civil war by mass slaughter of civilians — and CWs in an urbanized area can only be used in a manner which disproportionately kills civilians — is unconscionable. Add to this that CWs lack the physical, property damage to his own country that conventional weapons would wreak, and that he can obviously not afford to keep doing. This is a war of a different kind, if he keeps on using CWs, a war where people can be killed en masse without the consideration of how much of his own country's infrastructure Assad is destroying. We can't allow that.

          •  That is a fair response... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VincaMajor

            and the threat of force does work as a deterent sometimes (and maybe it has worked here) but we actually do not want Assad to lose this war.  Obviously, we do not want him to use chemical weapons on anybody, let alone civilians but I'm not sure that he did.

            I do not see how an actual bombing campaign can do anything bt harm our national interests.  As I laid out eslewhere, it cannot destroy all of the chemical weapons, it cannot hurt Assad too much because we actually need him to win this thing unless some lesser evil emerges because the current evils in the running are far worse than Assad ever was.

            Diplomacy can accomplish what bombs cannot.  The reason this whle thing started was based on food scarcity driven by environmental changes.  Assad, being a dick, sold of the grain reserves when the price peaked and the people were losing their crops to drought.

            We pay people in this country to grow food for fuel which may seem more environmentally friendly but in reality has a larger carbon footprint than gas.  Think there may be a possible solution out there?  

            "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

            by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 04:53:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Good for you Ddoc! (25+ / 0-)

    At least you got a response from SOMEONE!  I've sent emails expressing my opinion on this to both my senators and my rep, all Democrats.  Every day for the last 4 days.  I've yet to receive a response other than the automatically generated one , thank you for contacting, yada yada.

  •  Fantastic response. (28+ / 0-)

    I wish I could write as well as this.

    I'm curious why, all of the sudden, the United States seems to be so concerned about the Syrian people after the chemical attack. What about the 100,000 others who have been killed? Do they not matter? I'm sure that number includes children.

    I'm not sure what else to say; I thought I was voting for someone better than this, but I guess I had the wool pulled over my eyes.

    •  If we're going to vote for these tools (28+ / 0-)

      ... it is incumbent on us to express our disapproval when they disappoint us.

      We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

      by Dallasdoc on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 07:45:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's ethnic cleansing going on in (11+ / 0-)

      Syria right now.

      I cannot understand how that is less of a concern.

      "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

      by JesseCW on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 09:21:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Harder to prove for one thing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        samddobermann

        War -- mass killing -- of any kind should be a concern, regardless of motivation. Ethnic cleansing, however it is being accomplished, ought to be resisted.

        Having said  that, it is less of a concern. Not just to our government. The recent Administration effort was the result of massive media coverage, with pretty damning evidence in the form of all that disturbing video.

        The chemical weapons ban is a bright line. Violations are readily apparent. And, it's a mechanism, the enforcement of which would remove a highly effective way to pursue ethnic cleansing.

        It can be hard to identify ethnic cleansing in  the midst of a civil war that  has ethnic dimensions on all sides. But, using  these horrific weapons is something the international community can identify, condemn and do something about.

        Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

        by FischFry on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 04:43:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Please explain what they can do about it... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dallasdoc

          and how it would work.

          "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

          by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 06:13:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're watching it play it out before your eyes (0+ / 0-)

            Pay attention.

            Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

            by FischFry on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 07:07:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That is a non-answer if I ever heard one... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JesseCW, Dallasdoc

              I pay very close attention.

              "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

              by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 07:16:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The answer is simple (0+ / 0-)

                We take action that seriously undercuts the regime and/or its ability to employ chemical weapons, and the regime gets the message that there will be a price to pay each time they are caught doing this. Either that, or, as we see happening in the last 24 hours, our resolve pushes the Syrian regime to make serious concessions to eliminate their chemical arsenal.

                Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

                by FischFry on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 07:32:50 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Okay, that is a fair answer. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dallasdoc, PhilJD

                  However, what I meant by how would that work is how would bombing seriously undercut the regime's ability to deploy chemical weapons?

                  We may have very good information on where Assad currently keeps his arsenal, I do not know.

                  From what I understand, there are two distinct possibilities of the quality of these weapons.  If they are high quality, the chemical agents could be anywhere by now stored in large quantities or small, located throughout the country.  If they are low quality like Saddam Hussein used, then they have to be used quickly because they degrade really fast.

                  If they are high quality, the production equipment would be difficult to replace and time consuming so attacking it would seriously cripple his ability to build more weapons.  However, it does nothing to address the issues of high quality chemical weapons currently stored all over which could still be deployed against whomever he chooses.

                  If the weapons are low quality, that means they are fairly easy to produce using low grade, easily replacable equipment and materials.  Attacking the equipment is like a giant game of whack-a-mole.  Destroy it here and it is reassembled there.  No stored weapons but easy enough to cook in your basement as needed.

                  Attacking infastructure or other prime targets does not do anything to Assad to prevent the use of chemical weapons.  However, it does violate international law and it pisses off several of Syria's allies whom we have a tenuous at best relationship with already.  It also supports a rebel force that is promoting ethnic cleansing in both Syria and Iraq and it also hates the United States.

                  Sending a message that there is a price to pay is a joke.  Assad is in a Civil War, what message do we intend to send?  We are going to blow up a few of your things, help the rebels a little bit more than we already are?  We already said we do not want regime change.  

                  As for the opportunity for a peaceful solution coming from this, I hope it works.  I have been asking for diplomacy from day one.  

                  "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

                  by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 08:42:27 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  The problem is not so simple, (0+ / 0-)

                  as you indicate yourself:

                  there will be a price to pay each time they are caught doing this.
                  Where and when does this end? How deeply does it get us involved?
        •  "Less of a concern". (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dallasdoc

          Exactly.

          Oh, and there's pretty damning video evidence.  Not to mention the testimony of thousands of refugee witnesses.   And the statements of the people doing it, who say on video that they intend to do it.

          It's not hard to identify.

          Recent history has shown the most effective weapon for ethnic cleansing is a machete.

          The crime is more important than the means.

          "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

          by JesseCW on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 07:30:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  You are right but it is the Sunni Rebels... (4+ / 0-)

        doing most of the ethnic cleansing.  And, they are spilling over into Iraq and stirring up trouble there as well.

        We are attempting to get in the middle of a fight that we do not belong and we do not have a desired outcome.  Whoever whens, we and the ordinary citizens lose.  We have no solution to offer that changes that.

        "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

        by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 06:12:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yep, Chan. . . (5+ / 0-)

      And how about those tens and tens of thousands of people killed in Iraq by You Know Who?
      We don't yet know the full story of what is behind Obama's
      position. I smell a rat, however; in fact, I smell the military-
      industrial complex and most of all the Big Banks.
      While he has many strengths, Obama is a whore to the
      big banks and it has under cut much of his good works.

    •  Because it is different (0+ / 0-)

      There are dozens of wars going on at any time. They don't involve chemical weapons.

      It's not even about the Syrian people, though the videos should offer ample evidence why gas is different. It's about those chemical arms and the Syrian gov'ts willingness to use them.

      Every day I keep seeing the same question posed...and I wonder why this message isn't getting through.

      Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

      by FischFry on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 09:49:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The videos. (3+ / 0-)

        Photographs start wars:  Somalia-Vulture Baby

        Photographs end them: Vietnam-Napalm girl, MyLai

        Bush wouldn't let flag draped coffins be photographed.

        All say these Syrian videos are sickening.  Cameron, Obama, and this senator H-whatever were moved and ask us to watch them too.  

        The response to seeing videos is to lob explosives onto the rubble.   The videos of smoke plumes will be bloodless, and sanctifying like odorless incense.  

        Barack Hussein Obama- Don't Mock the Constitution.

        by odenthal on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 05:04:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Bombing may not be the right decision (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc

      for now, but the Administration will eventually have to step up, sooner rather than later, and start treating this conflict with the seriousness it requires. That may eventually require military force.

      I hear this a lot: "why, all of the sudden, the United States seems to be so concerned about the Syrian people after the chemical attack. What about the 100,000 others who have been killed? Do they not matter?"

      I usually hear this from people who want to avoid US involvement of any sort in Syria. The unstated subtext is, 'so why are we so concerned about 1400 people dead from poison gas? These folks have been killing each other for centuries. It's the Middle East and they are going to kill each other as they have always done. Whether they use gas or artillery shells, it's not my problem.'  

      Syria will not be an issue for most people in the US, unless it turns into a Rwanda style situation, after which there will be the usual hand-wringing and finger-pointing, and "never again" statements made with utter sincerity but lacking any value whatsoever. I remember US reluctance or resignation in Rwanda, and in Bosnia.  Most folks would rather just ignore it, or pretend that increasing funding for refugee relief will somehow solve it. I get that, but it's better if they didn't put the words "concerned" and "Syrian people" in the same sentence. It would be better to avoid questioning whether Syrian lives "matter". Clearly, to the overwhelming majority of Americans, they don't.

      Politicians realize this. Heinrich is hemming and hawing because he knows that his constituents couldn't give a damn what happens inside Syria, and he finds himself caught between feeling like he  has to support the Administration out of loyalty, and knowing that his constituents frankly don't care whether or not Syrians are gassed. So he tries to drive right down the middle and hopes he's not punished by donors, constituents, supporters.  Real leadership might have been to chart out some firm ideas about how to bring the war to a close, and tell his supporters, straight up, that the US will eventually have to intervene militarily if those specific steps fail.  It's fine to be against this specific military action. I think it is irresponsible of a senator not to tell his constituents that ultimately, Syria really is their problem.  Obama blew it in the way he addressed this situation - but violating the chemical weapons ban is a serious matter that actually does require a response. As a senator, Heinrich is responsible for taking a stand on what that response should look like, in his opinion, and when.

      “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

      by ivorybill on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 08:06:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  He was right (16+ / 0-)

    I am disappointed.

    Mark Twain: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

    by Land of Enchantment on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 07:53:37 PM PDT

  •  My condolences. (13+ / 0-)

    But with a wink and a nod he'll likely whiplash back if it's convenient to do so.

    But you live in a much bluer state than mine so I'm still envious.  So far as I know now, none of our crazy red electeds have given any hints.

    For those who serve the greater cause may make the cause serve them....T. S. Eliot

    by blueoasis on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 07:53:57 PM PDT

  •  Hardcore response DD (14+ / 0-)

    That's gotta smart.

    I'm just Double Tapped the hell out.

    by pajoly on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 08:06:30 PM PDT

  •  I wrote him also (12+ / 0-)

    After reading Heinrich's letter, I was screaming and stomping around the house. No, no, no, NO!

    I then composed myself and sent off an email to him. Coincidentally, I said about the same things you did...

    I haven't received my newsletter through the email yet, I saw it in the Journal newsfeed and then found it on his website, however, when I do get my email, I will unsubscribe as well.

  •  Heinrich has always been (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YucatanMan, Dallasdoc, 3goldens

    way too corporate, way too cautious, for my taste.  But he's such a pretty face!  I wonder how far he'll go?

  •  He's just repeating the lies. Number one, (18+ / 0-)

    it's not a civil war and "we" do fully understand that because "we" started it along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar.  So he's either ignorant or lying right off the bat.  Then there's the bullshit about international norms.  How hypocritical can it get that our government, the one responsible for the deaths of about a million and a half people over the last decade and creating millions of refugees from an illegal war in Iraq and wars and activities around the globe.  Not to mention its own use of chemical weapons in the Iraq war still causing deformities and deaths there.  And then he's wrong again, this is Iraq all over.  It's the same damn lies to topple and country and government that everyone knows has been on the fucking list.  
    This Senator is just another of the liars for war.  

  •  If we want to deter genocide, it isn't the (6+ / 0-)

    Government forces in Syria we need to be concerned with.

    "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

    by JesseCW on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 09:20:33 PM PDT

  •  DD, I hope your post stays on the rec list (16+ / 0-)

    long enough to get some eyes.

    With that in mind, I post the following as an open comment to all who've latched on to the flavor-of-the-day meme that Obama's threat to attack Syria was designed to achieve the diplomatic track now being explored:

    That meme is bullshit. We and Obama are just fortunate that Russia was savvy enough to seize upon Kerry's throw away remark to actually put a non-aggressive proposal on the table.

    Think about it. Had Obama intended to use the threat of a cruise missile strike as a stick to force Assad to relinquish control of his CW, THAT would have been the stated condition from the gitgo.

    Had Obama, the very day the CW attack was confirmed, stated "Unless Assad agrees to turn his CW stockpiles over to international control, then we will attack militarily," he would have likely had the support of the majority of the American people. That would have been perceived to be a reasonable, judicious framing that supported the proposition that the U.S. does not want to be militarily engaged in yet another ME country.

    There would have been absolutely no downside to making that case from Day One. (Many of us would still have been opposed to the sabre rattling even then, but we peaceniks would have been standing on much less firm ground in terms of popular opinion.)

    The reason Kerry has been running around frantically, day after day after day, screeching "Munich," without, until now, proposing the one condition that would forestall an attack, is that the goal was NEVER about getting Assad to hand over his WMD for disposal. WHATEVER Obama's goal and motivation for his intended course of action was prior to today, it could NOT have been to engineer today's development - it fails any test of logic to imagine he would have kept in his back pocket the ONE argument that likely would have found favor with the populace from the beginning.

    Again, we are fortunate that, amidst this amateurish display of how NOT to conduct foreign policy, Russia's action today may have saved many Syrian civilians from missile mayhem, on top of all that they're currently suffering at the hands of the warring parties.

    This site's stated mission is absurdly contradictory. You don't get better Democrats by electing more Democrats. The latter is achieved by lowering the bar, not by raising it.

    by WisePiper on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 09:29:33 PM PDT

    •  War party is over (0+ / 0-)

      That's how your earn a Peace prize.  Let the Russians and Iranians act responsibly.  Give the Syrian people a break.  A taste of peace may give it a chance.

      If we want to protect Saudiis, Quatar, and Israel,  do we have to obliterate Syria as a free fire zone.  Real people live there.  

       

      Barack Hussein Obama- Don't Mock the Constitution.

      by odenthal on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 05:19:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hey, WP, this plan was discussed (0+ / 0-)

      with Putin at the g-20 and Kerry has been talking with Russia's FM for several weeks. They weren't willing to budge until the threat had become very real to them and Assad.

      Why do you think Obama decided to take it to Congress — and then didn't call congress back into session? Could it have been playing for time? Why do you think he has made comments about not ruling out a strike if Congress didn't vote for it? Was he giving Putin more time; putting more pressure on Assad?

      How do you think it would have kept Assad from stalling if Obama said unless you ... then we will attack? Assad had to be staring down the barrel to yield as he did.

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 05:49:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Again, give one convincing reason why (4+ / 0-)

        Obama didn't publicly announce weeks ago that an attack could be forestalled if Syria turned its CW over to the international community for disposal. What sense did it make to keep secret the carrot/stick scenario, while support for the proposed attack continued to evaporate both domestically and internationally? How could this demonstrable lack of support not embolden Assad to ignore any demands of the U.S.?

        Face it - Obama intended to deliver "consequences" to Assad, one way or another.The idea that he was secretly offering an out through back channels is absurd.

        This site's stated mission is absurdly contradictory. You don't get better Democrats by electing more Democrats. The latter is achieved by lowering the bar, not by raising it.

        by WisePiper on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 06:28:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I second you, WisePiper. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc

      DD is one of the brightest, most thoughtful writers on this site. Reading his comments/diaries has always been a special treat for this kossack! T and R!!

      Through thoughts, words and actions, we live the truth we know. -- L. Spencer

      by orlbucfan on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 06:42:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  extraordinarily well-conceived and well-written (12+ / 0-)

    response that will, I'm near certain, will fall on deaf ears, tragically.

    I'm still eagerly waiting for ANYONE to explain to me how military action and killing more people in this mess will be in MY interests. Aside from the moral outrage, which is hyprocrisy to the nth power coming from a our nation in which torturers are free to earn big speaking and talking head fees, that is.

    Will you or I be better off? Will the Syrian people be better off? I can handle an open discussion, but why are these war drumbeats always so filled with false emotion and empty of compelling reason?

    Incredible now, how many times I've seen this same, horrible movie. The only thing thing that has really surprised me this time is how exposed Kerry's plum stupidity had been laid bare. I never thought he was Einstein, but his wrong-footed and idiotic attempts to make the case for this season's rush to war has reminded many why he got his ass handed to him against someone as dumb and mean as W.

    Fear is the mind-killer - Frank Herbert, Dune

    by p gorden lippy on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 09:31:09 PM PDT

    •  Did Kerry get his face botox'd? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      orlbucfan

      Gotta be a 2-faced or mask metaphor in there somewhere...

      Kerry threw metals back.  Now he wants to lob bombs.

      Bush went AWOL then started a "shucks and awe" war.

      Atoning?

      If GOP was as willing to intervene here at home,  then US would not have to go overseas to get satisfaction.    

      Lets start war on ignorance, rot, and suffering.   Not rolling in Obama Bombs to make the sides fight nice.

      Barack Hussein Obama- Don't Mock the Constitution.

      by odenthal on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 05:43:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ouch. (7+ / 0-)

    I bet that hurt, Senator.

    You're an inspiration, DD.

    :)




    Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. ~ J. Garcia

    by DeadHead on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 11:35:24 PM PDT

  •  What bad timing for him? (11+ / 0-)

    On the day that the vote gets delayed and a diplomatic out seems possible, he decides to support military intervention. That should make you trust the quality of his judgement even more.

  •  I Am Proud Of Heinrich (0+ / 0-)

    He did not flip flop for political expediency like most of democrats I have been seeing change their minds.  This man is of presidential material.  He is supporting the president on doing the right thing even though the right thing is going against the majority.  I support the president and believe that banned chemicals should not be used in war and if they are the person using them should be punished.  If you don't every dictator with chemical weapons has free license to use them.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 03:46:42 AM PDT

  •  "a craven failure of statesmanship" (6+ / 0-)

    is a good way of putting it, and actually, it's very generous.

    I notice that he is rationalizing his lack of representation of his constituents too.  And to me, it sounds coached.  I'm sure that the party leadership and committee chairs like Dianne Feinstein are encouraging Senators to focus on their independence from the people who elected them and the people whose voice they are supposed to carry to Capitol Hill.

    "I have always believed that my decisions in public office should reflect my best judgment and what I believe to be the best course for our nation."

    That's just a way that elected officials justify not representing the people in a representative governments and helps them ease their conscience when they put party over the people and put campaign contributions from lobbies over the people.  It's their sell out line.

    I also note that the rest of his letter is full of the same talking points being spewed by Kerry, Obama, Rice, Power.  Just regurgitated.  As a first term senator, it doesn't look good for him.  And he has a partner Senator in NM who has the courage to stand up, so he was in an easier situation than a lot of others in the toxic Senate, but he chose not to stand with him.  

    His vote is particularly important too.  The rumor is, from anonymous White House officials, that Obama might use the Senate vote as his Congressional authority to start bombing Syria and do it before the House gets a chance to vote at all.   You'll note that Boehner and Pelosi have delayed the House vote until next week at the earliest. One of them said it might not happen for two weeks. However the White House was pressuring the Senate to vote ASAP.  

    I think it's likely that Obama plans to start another war on his own authority but also by using the Senate as a faux constitutional measure.  It would make the argument against him a bit more difficult for people who are rightfully noting that he'd be violating the Constitution, international law, the War Powers Act and just about everything else.  His apologists will say "but he DID go to Congress" and the president and the media can try to deceive the public by saying he did go to Congress, etc.  It's just the kind of thing that this president would do.

    So each Senator's vote is of even higher importance because this president is likely to use the Senate as some kind of new Congressional authority and at the same time set a precedent for unitary executive powers, saying that he  can, as one man, take the country to war, using the Senate only in an advice and consent role (reserved for appointments and treaties in the Const. but hey, the Const. lawyer president has his own interpretations dontcha know).  So every Senator's vote is particularly important and if the Senate won't vote for it, there's a good chance Obama would be too skittish about doing this). And since Harry Reid just postponed the Senate vote, it looks like he doesn't have the votes.  Reid and Obama will be depending on the Dems to take us to war.  Every one of them who refuses to do it does a great service to this country.  The junior senator from New Mexico is not one of them, nor is the only senator from New Jersey who is out in front banging the drums of war and paving the way.  A disgrace and not worthy of the trust of the people.


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 04:33:14 AM PDT

    •  You really wax indignant. Perhaps (0+ / 0-)

      the threat had to be orchestrated carefully to have the desired effect.

      Have you ever thought You didn't know everything?

      When you bluff you have to have all the details in place and totally believable. The chorus of the horrified is a pretty convincing detail.

      You might want to read this diary.

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      You too, dallasdoc.

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 05:59:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have/had five Doberman Pinschers. (0+ / 0-)

        They are neither as warlike nor as dumb as you sound, sdd.

        P.S.: I'm a huge Dobe fan as well as an educated peacenik!

        Through thoughts, words and actions, we live the truth we know. -- L. Spencer

        by orlbucfan on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 06:50:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I would ask you to think carefully (0+ / 0-)

      about under which circumstances you would support US involvement, including the use of force, to end the Syrian civil war.

      Or do you reject the use of force under any circumstances?  

      For the record, I do not think Obama's proposed course of action will be effective, and therefore don't support it.  I do, however, find it interesting when people reach the tipping point between "stay out of this imperialist adventure" to "we can never allow this to happen again", or at least, "oh well, I can no longer oppose this with the intensity that I used to."

      Not really expecting an answer.. just curious, because it's always interesting to ask someone convinced of a position what it would take to change that position.

      “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

      by ivorybill on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 08:35:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc

        I don't "reject the use of force under any circumstances".

        I think the case being made is full of deceit and the people are not being told what the real story is, though if they really want to know it's being hidden in plain sight, but it takes a lot to know where to find it and who to listen to.


        "Justice is a commodity"

        by joanneleon on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 02:34:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Don't unsubscribe, DD. (5+ / 0-)

    It's the only way to keep these jokers accountable.  Heinrich in my senator, too.  I got this email, too.  I hope you sent your response.  I, too, am going to respond to him in the hopes he gets earfuls from his constituents.  You must stay subscribed so you can hear, first hand, what he's thinking and steer him back on track.  Is he getting donations from the contractors of the military industrial complex who want to raise our GDP by starting another war?  Perhaps.  In any event, keep them accountable by speaking up.  We have that in common, DD. Let's keep them as honest as possible.

    11:11 being mindful and keepin' it real

    by Raggedy Ann on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 05:44:20 AM PDT

  •  Heinrich has been groomed (3+ / 0-)

    for a Dem leadership role for some time, like Martin O'Malley and quite a few others. This is his opportunity to demonstrate 1) Party loyalty, 2) ability to manage the masses through his version of cognitive dissonance.

    Obviously, it's not working with a lot of New Mexicans, but it will work with some. Only time will tell how well it works.

    Given some of the signs and portents that suggest that the Apocalypse may have been averted this time, the issue may wind up moot.

    Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

    by felix19 on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 06:37:10 AM PDT

    •  What makes you think he's being groomed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc

      for leadership? There is nothing about him that even feels like a leader. We New Mexicans had an opportunity to elect a real progressive, with vast leadership qualities, and we failed. Heinrich will be easily forgotten. Hector Balderas should have had his seat in the Senate.

      •  He's a Golden Boy (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc, HappyinNM

        and he's Not-A-Progressive -- which makes him Party Leadership Material almost by default.

        I'm a New Mexican. He was my congressman. As soon as he was elected to the Senate, it was obvious -- to me at any rate -- that he would be on the fast track to higher and ever higher Dem Party positions as long as he kept his looks and could perform. Yes, it's that superficial sometimes.

        I'm not on his mailing list, so I don't get his letters to constituents (when he was in the House, I'd get calls all the time and he and/or his staff would be doing town halls or constituent services constantly, and I'm not even in ABQ, I'm out in the country, Torrance County, the Empty Quarter). But if the letter DD has highlighted here is an indication of the rest, then he's doing the Dem Party dance to keep his constituents off balance, never able to quite pinpoint his positions, yet never far from whatever the WH position is, either.

        It may not seem like "leadership" from your perspective, nor is it anything I would want, but it is how I've seen the Dem Party leadership grooming the bench, if you will, for ages. That's why I brought up O'Malley. I saw it happen to him when time was.

        It's happening to Heinrich, too.

        Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

        by felix19 on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 07:39:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Youtube videos (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc

    Hard to believe  US Senators are basing their vote on videos pulled off Youtube.

    Thank you for your work in writing to your Senator and posting this diary.

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