A number of officers within the US military have expressed concerns over the wisdom and the consequences of a possible US military strike against Syria.
In a series of interviews with the Washington Post, military officers ranging from captains to a four-star general have expressed serious reservations concerning the consequences of a US military action against Damascus. Most of the officers spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Retired Lt. Gen. Gregory S. Newbold, who was the director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the run-up to the Iraq war, said there is “scary simplicity about the effects that employing American military power can achieve.”
US officials have said the Obama administration is ready for a unilateral military action against Syria after British lawmakers in the House of Commons voted Thursday against a government motion for a military assault on Syria.
“I can’t believe the president is even considering it,” a young Army officer, who was deployed to Afghanistan last year, told the Post.
Calling the prospect of a US attack on Syria “very dangerous,” the unnamed officer said, “We have been fighting the last 10 years a counterinsurgency war. Syria has modern weaponry. We would have to retrain for a conventional war.”
On Wednesday, US President Barack Obama said Washington has “concluded” that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in an attack near the capital, Damascus, last week.
The Syrian government has categorically rejected the allegations that it had any role in the chemical attack.
Senior US officials have also admitted to the New York Timesthat there is no “smoking gun” suggesting Damascus launched the attack.
Meanwhile, Washington’s conclusion comes before a UN inspector team, which is in Syria at the invitation of Damascus, releases its findings over last week’s deadly chemical weapons attack.
Nevertheless, the US has already beefed up its military presence in the eastern Mediterranean. According to media reports, four US warships and a submarine are in the region and a fifth is on the way. All destroyers are armed with cruise missiles.
On Thursday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Damascus would defend itself against any aggression and threats would only increase Syria’s “commitment to its principles and its independence.”