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U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates (left front) listens to Chinese President Hu Jintao during a meeting Tuesday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Mr. Hu visits the U.S. later this month. (Associated Press)

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates (left front) listens to Chinese President Hu Jintao during a meeting Tuesday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Mr. Hu visits the U.S. later this month. (Associated Press)

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Say hello, Assad: See the Navy warships off the coast of Syria

The Navy has sent four warships — USS Ramage, USS Mahan, USS Gravely and USS Barry — armed with ballistic missiles into the eastern Mediterranean Sea amid violence in Syria. Navy ships are capable of a variety of military actions, including launching Tomahawk cruise missiles as they did against Libya in 2011.