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Rep. Keith Ellison: Syrian 'red line' does not mean boots on the ground

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Rep. Keith Ellison said Sunday the Obama administration has nonmilitary options available to deal with Syria, despite the president’s earlier warnings that the use of chemical weapons in the uprising there would constitute a “red line.”

“Red line does not mean boots on the ground. But there’s a lot of things we can do other than that. We have been providing nonlethal military aid,” Mr. Ellison, Minnesota Democrat, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “But … more coordination and dealing with this humanitarian crisis, I think, is essential.

“I don’t think the world’s greatest superpower, the United States, can stand by and do nothing,” he said.

The Democrat’s comments came as the administration weighs its options in the wake of revelations last week that Syrian leader Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against the rebel forces in his country.

Many in Congress, led by Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, have urged President Obama to take a more aggressive stand against the Assad regime.

Mr. McCain, who also put in an appearance Sunday on “Meet the Press,” said the president could implement a no-fly zone over the rebels and provide weapons to the resistance without putting America troops on the ground.

Mr. McCain, who lost the presidential race to Mr. Obama in 2008, said the president’s “red line” comment didn’t help the situation in Syria.

“The president drew a red line on chemical weapons, thereby giving a green light to Bashar al-Assad to do anything short of that, including Scud missiles and helicopter gun ships and airstrikes and mass executions,” he said.

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About the Author
David Eldridge

David Eldridge

David Eldridge joined The Washington Times in 1999 and over the next seven years helped lead the paper's coverage of regional politics and government, Sept. 11, and the sniper attacks of 2002. In 2006, he was named managing editor of the paper's website. He came to The Times from the Telegraph in North Platte, Neb., where he served as executive ...

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