WASHINGTON - The United States is dispatching Army planners to Jordan as neighboring Syria's conflict worsens, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Wednesday, but he signaled deep misgivings about direct American military intervention in the Syrian civil war.
Hagel told a Senate hearing that the United States has an obligation to think through the consequences of any US military move in Syria and be honest about potential long-term commitments.
His comments were the latest indication that while US President Barack Obama's administration continues to plan for various scenarios in Syria, it remains wary of an intervention that could mire America in a proxy war.
"You better be damn sure, as sure as you can be, before you get into something. Because once you're into it, there isn't any backing out, whether it's a no-fly zone, safe zone ... whatever it is," Hagel told senators.
"Once you're in, you can't unwind it. You can't just say, 'Well, it's not going as well as I thought it would go so we're gonna get out.'"
Hagel said the Pentagon was sending an Army headquarters unit to Jordan, bolstering efforts started last year to plan for contingencies related to Syria's chemical weapons and to prevent a spillover of violence across Jordan's border.