U.S. Mulls Entering Syria with Direct Military Action



Mike O'Brien
07/18/2013

The Obama administration is currently deciding whether to use military power in Syria, a Senate panel was told on Thursday.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, (pictured) who as chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff is America’s top military officer, said the "issue is under deliberation inside of our agencies of government."

Addressing the Senate Armed Services Committee, he would not give further details on what form the "kinetic strikes" would take.

Mr. Dempsey said: "The decision on whether to use force is the decision of our elected officials. It would be inappropriate for me to try to influence the decision with me rendering an opinion in public with what type of force we should use."

The committee is currently considering his nomination for a second term as chairman, along with the nomination of Navy Adm. James Winnefeld for a second term as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

On the subject of direct military action, Mr. Winnefeld told the hearing: "There are a whole range of options that are out there. We are ready to act if we're called on to act."

The men were responding to questions from committee members calling for greater clarity on the strategy for ending the war and removing Syrian President Bashar Assad from power.

Mr. Dempsey acknowledged that Assad's forces have the upper hand in Syria, saying: "Currently the tide seems to have shifted in his favor."

Almost 93,000 people have died in the civil war in Syria, which has now entered its third year.