23 July (LPAC) At Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey’s confirmation hearing last Thursday, July 18, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin of Michigan (whose ranking member is Arizona’s John McCain of the Lost Marbles), asked the General for a written assessment of his independent judgment on the military options for the U.S. in Syria.
Dempsey’s letter became available on Monday.
After going through each so-called “option” and showing that it would require deployment of thousands of American servicemen along with ships and planes, and in most cases billions of dollars, and yet still offer no guaranteed results, Dempsey cut to the chase with his conclusion:
“All of these options would likely further the narrow military objective of helping the opposition and placing more pressure on the regime. We have learned from the past 10 years, however, that it is not enough to simply alter the balance of military power without careful consideration of what is necessary in order to preserve a functioning state. We must anticipate and be prepared for the unintended consequences of our action. Should the regime’s institutions collapse in the absence of a viable opposition, we could inadvertently empower extremists or unleash the very chemical weapons we seek to control.
“I know that the decision to use force is not one that any of us takes lightly. It is no less than an act of war. As we weigh our options, we should be able to conclude with some confidence that the use of force will move us toward the intended outcome. We must also understand risk—-not just to our forces, but to our other global responsibilities. This is especially critical as we lose readiness due to budget cuts and fiscal uncertainty. Some options may not be feasible in time or cost without compromising our security elsewhere. Once we take action, we should be prepared for what comes next. Deeper involvement is hard to avoid. We should also act in accordance with the law, and to the extent possible, in concert with our allies and partners to share the burden and solidify the outcome.”
Another Dempsey letter will follow soon,— an answer to a dozen questions from Levin and McCain on Syria and Afghanistan. Bet McCain soon wishes he hadn’t asked!
How different from most of the responses from most Federal Congressmen. Dempsey’s career is on the line; he’s up for reconfirmation by the Senate. The usual sort of Washington official would seek some sort of accommodation with the war-crazy Senators. But Gen. Dempsey has other priorities.