Hagel, Dempsey Warn Against Military Action in Syria

John Glaser, April 18, 2013

“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, protect these — whatever it is,” Hagel said later during questioning. “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 going to get out.”

Gen. Dempsey said in his testimony that “before we take action, we have to be prepared for what comes next,” referring to the limited ability of the Washington to shape the reality on the ground even if the advice of people like John McCain is followed and the US military takes action to topple Assad.

“The use of force, especially in circumstances where ethnic and religious factors dominate is unlikely to produce predictable outcomes,” he said, adding that “unintended consequences are the rule with military interventions of this sort.”

While the Obama administration has acted to bolster the Syrian rebel opposition, sending non-lethal aid directly and lethal aid indirectly through client states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, I’ve argued this is largely a pittance for public consumption so that Obama gets to display his disapproval for the Assad regime’s violence and placate concerns of “humanitarian interventionists.” If it were more than this, the administration would undoubtedly already have sent what is called “decisive aid” – that is, weapons that would at least level the playing field between the rebels and the Syrian military.

Additionally, there are other policies which negate these actions, including the Obama administration’s decision to send the CIA to work with Iraq’s security forces to stem the flow of Islamist fighters going into Syria to join the rebellion. This is an example of Obama working with Maliki, a virtual ally of Assad, to fight the very militants the Assad regime is fighting.

As former CIA official and Antiwar.com columnist Philip Giraldi has said, “Obama has come around to the view that regime change is more fraught with dangers than letting Assad remain.” There is even some reason to believe that the war in Syria is draining the resources and credibility of Washington’s geo-political foes (Iran, Russia, etc.), thus serving as a further disincentive for direct military action by the US.




23 Responses to “Hagel, Dempsey Warn Against Military Action in Syria”

  1. No offense Glaser, but you're not a great 'analytical thinker'…to say the least… and you're simply wrong about this.

    But I'll ask you: what do you 'think' the "end game" is here in Obama's 'mind' if it's not about "Regime Change"? As pointed out, Obama has publicly said several times (as recently as last month): "Assad must go" … He was speaking as POTUS on behalf of the US government, and not as an individual or a nincompoop editorial writer.

  2. The moment Assad accepts the occupation of the Golan Heights without further claims Obama will have the AIPAC blessing to stop the support of Syrian terrorists. The Yanin Plan (Israel expansion from the 1948 borders) has been refurbished into the Eratz Israel (the greater Israel) and from it into the PNAC to elliminate islamic resistance with American intervention in the Middle East and expell definitively Palestinians from their land , fragmenting arab nations into emirate sized ministates and have Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State to have a commanding rule on
    the whole region.-

  3. This war is not about Syria any longer…, Europe is on the doorstep of Syria so is Israel.., and if these people think for a minute that Lebanon, Russia and Iran going to be silent about any action by US or Israel they better think again.., thats what Dempsy and Hagel mean by saying "you better be damn sure".

    Look: Hillary Clinton bet on this war ending up with regime change and she have repeated her nonsense again and again.., after two years of human suffering the war still going on and no regime changed.., that says a lot.., it simply says that Syrian people don't want any change no matter what Obama or Hillary Clinton do or have said.., the Syrian war needs to come to end.., one way or the other..,, is just that Obama and Hillary Clinton so as Kerry and other senators needs to realize that they have lost their bet on an unjust and inhuman act accepting the fact that it is Saudis and Qatari and other feudalistic regimes asking for US and EU to start a proxy war for regimes change.., and for democratic party.., is time to change and act as democracy not a warmongering party anymore. Look.., the world has changed so the need for the world economic dominated by vulture capitalism needs to change accordingly.., USA is no longer facing one or two country or political system that are against US and EU hegemony.., it is lots of country and USA or EU cannot bomb them all to death.., or can they…? so you better be damn sure about getting into something that will cause more harm then any good at all.

  4. [...] Hagel, Dempsey Warn Against US Action in Syria [...]

  5. Russia is present both in Syria and along the entire coastline with enough fire-power to wipe out any foe in the region stupid enough to challenge them. It means they are dead serious. Zionazi infected USA has been letting off a lot of hot air lately, but to no avail apparently. fanatic israel has no problem starting WW3 because their little colonial apartheid experiment as such is doomed anyway, but the host of the parasite is broke and tooth-less, israel has indeed streched them too far…

  6. Since when does the POTS decide who stays in power and who doesn't? Did I miss something here? Is POTS ruler of the world?

  7. Whoever could credibly threaten his life, family, reputation or ability to set his desired agenda would be ruler of much. E.g., they could command certain rhetoric –and perhaps certain actions.

  8. You are the brightest one of all"go to the head of the class my brother"

  9. Bottom line is the retarded obama adminstration gambled on regime change and lost. Al-Assad is not going anywhere. iran is not going anywhere, hezbollah is not going anywhere, russia is not going anywhere, etc…so obumbya & his buddies better change there stratgeies and come to an agreement to save face or the west is in big trouble for decades. why you might ask?? who does america back in the middle east…backward regimes, saudi arabia, qatar, a banktrupt jordan, and an apartheid country called israel. everyone knows the US is backing alqeada rebels. THERE ARE NO MODERATE REBELS PERIOD!

  10. "While the Obama administration has acted to bolster the Syrian rebel opposition, sending non-lethal aid directly and lethal aid indirectly through client states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, I’ve argued this is largely a pittance…" That means you take as a facts the lies coming from the criminals in Washington?

  11. And you are the dumbest.., bang your head against the wall.

  12. [...] See the article here: Hagel, Dempsey Warn Against Military Action in Syria – Anti War [...]

  13. This war is not about Syria any longer…, Europe is on the doorstep of Syria so is Israel.., and if these people think for a minute that Lebanon, Russia and Iran going to be silent about any action by US or Israel they better think again.., thats what Dempsy and Hagel mean by saying "you better be damn sure".

  14. [...] In Senate testimony earlier this month, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said “military intervention at this point could hinder humanitarian relief operations. It could embroil the United States in a significant, lengthy, and uncertain military commitment. Unilateral military action could strain other key international partnerships, as no international or regional consensus on supporting armed intervention now exists. And finally, military intervention could have the unintended consequence of bring the United States into a broader regional conflict or proxy war.” [...]

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  16. [...] In Senate testimony earlier this month, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said “military intervention at this point could hinder humanitarian relief operations. It could embroil the United States in a significant, lengthy, and uncertain military commitment. Unilateral military action could strain other key international partnerships, as no international or regional consensus on supporting armed intervention now exists. And finally, military intervention could have the unintended consequence of bring the United States into a broader regional conflict or proxy war.” [...]

  17. [...] In Senate testimony earlier this month, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said “military intervention at this point could hinder humanitarian relief operations. It could embroil the United States in a significant, lengthy, and uncertain military commitment. Unilateral military action could strain other key international partnerships, as no international or regional consensus on supporting armed intervention now exists. And finally, military intervention could have the unintended consequence of bring the United States into a broader regional conflict or proxy war.” [...]

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  22. [...] and power. I’ve noted several times the Obama administration’s demonstrated reluctance to get further involved in the form of directly arming rebels, no-fly zones to topple the Assad [...]

  23. Obama display his disapproval for the Assad regime’s violence.