Syrian Rebels 521.
(photo credit: GORAN TOMASEVIC)
WASHINGTON – Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of
Staff, has provided Congress with a letter that details the dramatic cost of
military options if President Barack Obama chooses to intervene in Syria’s civil
A no-fly zone would cost roughly $1 billion a month, would risk US
aircraft and airmen, and would ultimately fail to topple Syria’s embattled
President Bashar Assad, Dempsey wrote.
To protect refugee zones, chemical
weapons sites or both, thousands of US ground troops and a fullscale invasion
would be sufficient, Dempsey said.
Nothing short of war would be
required, he asserted, the success of which would not be guaranteed.
intervention “could inadvertently empower extremists or unleash the very
chemical weapons we seek to control,” the military chief wrote in his letter to
Sen. Carl Levin (DMichigan), chairman of the Senate Armed Services
The public letter comes after leaked White House conversations
first revealed Dempsey’s reluctance to intervene in the conflict, as US
Secretary of State John Kerry pushed for strikes on Syrian air strips. During
those deliberations, Obama chose to provide trusted rebel groups only with light
arms and ammunition.
Congress has stalled the shipment of those arms due
to apprehension by some members that they would wind up with the wrong rebel
groups. But on Tuesday, Mike Rogers (RMichigan), chairman of the House
Intelligence Committee, announced approval of the plan.
“We got a
consensus that we could move forward with what the administration’s plans and
intentions are in Syria consistent with committee reservations,” Rogers said.