A number of top military officers have publicly expressed reservation’s about the Obama administration’s proposed plan to launch airstrikes against the Syrian regime.
As the Washington Post highlighted, “Former and current officers, many with the painful lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan on their minds, said the main reservations concern the potential unintended consequences of launching cruise missiles against Syria.”
Retired Lt. Gen. Gregory S. Newbold, who served as director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the run-up to the Iraq war, said:
There’s a broad naivete in the political class about America’s obligations in foreign policy issues, and scary simplicity about the effects that employing American military power can achieve.
Marine Lt. Col. Gordon Miller, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security, warned of potentially devastating consequences:
If President Assad were to absorb the strikes and use chemical weapons again, this would be a significant blow to the United States’ credibility and it would be compelled to escalate the assault on Syria to achieve the original objectives.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has warned about the risks of deeper involvement following initial strikes. He noted:
As we weigh our options, we should be able to conclude with some confidence that use of force will move us toward the intended outcome. Once we take action, we should be prepared for what comes next. Deeper involvement is hard to avoid…
… The application of force rarely produces and, in fact, maybe never produces the outcome we seek.