US considers “kinetic strikes” on Syria: Dempsey

US considers “kinetic strikes” on Syria: Dempsey
Fri Jul 19, 2013 13:03:35

US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey has confirmed that the government is discussing the prospect of attacking Syria which is torn by a foreign-backed insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Dempsey refused to disclose his advice to President Barack Obama about the option of intervention in Syria but said the Pentagon has provided Obama with several options for “kinetic strikes”.

Senator John McCain and Dempsey clashed when Dempsey suggested that a US invasion can sometimes make situations worse.

McCain blasted him for opposing the 2007 surge in Iraq, insisting that it proved that US escalations were “right” and any opposition to them was wrong.

US President Barack Obama’s promises to arm militants and the new talk of invasion have sparked concern from some in Congress that the rebels’ ties to al-Qaeda are concerning and that the administration doesn’t have specific exit strategies despite their eagerness to get involved in new conflicts.

The administration seems reluctant to address that criticism publicly, and is relying on hawks to shout down any opposition to war in general.

The US has for months been training anti-Syria militants in Jordan and Turkey and has coordinated the shipment of thousands of tons of weapons to the armed groups fighting to topple the Assad government.

Weeks have passed since Obama ordered the CIA to provide the militants in Syria with weapons. However, the measure has faced with strong opposition in the Congress, bringing the plan to a standstill.

A significant number of lawmakers are against any increased US involvement in Syria’s conflict and fear a slippery slope into another Middle East quagmire.

“Providing a small amount won’t be enough to change the trajectory on the battlefield, and we’ll be called upon to give more, and more sophisticated weapons… I think the risk is too great that once we get in, it will be very difficult to get out,” said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.


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