Military leaders are not “reticent, weary, or risk averse” to deeper involvement in Syria’s 2-year-old civil war, but U.S. military action would do nothing to end the conflict, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Congress this week.
“In a variety of ways, the use of U.S. military force can change the military balance, but it cannot resolve the underlying and historic ethnic, religious, and tribal issues that are fueling this conflict,” wrote Gen. Martin E. Dempsey in a letter Monday to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
He said, for example, the U.S. could “destroy the Syrian Air Force.” However, he added, such attacks would not be militarily “decisive,” but they would “commit us decisively to the conflict.”
He said the United States could assist in the humanitarian crisis caused by the war “on a far more significant scale.”
“Doing so, in combination with expanded capacity-building efforts with regional partners and a significant investment in the development of a moderate Syrian opposition, represents the best framework for an effective U.S. strategy toward Syrian going forward,” he wrote.