On July 19th, Gen. Martin Dempsey (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs) sent a letter to Congress outlining the numerous shortcomings and pitfalls of potential military intervention in Syria. Dempsey warned that a no-fly zone could cost American taxpayers $1 billion per month and that if US aircraft were shot down, the administration's response could be putting boots on the ground.
Dempsey was also adamant that the US "anticipate and be prepared for the unintended consequences of our action. Should the regime's institutions collapse in the absence of a viable opposition, we could inadvertently empower extremists or unleash the very chemical weapons we seek to control.”
Dempsey's message is clear. No strategy can guarantee that the end-game in Syria won't exacerbate the threat from regional actors like Iran, increase the violence, or replace Assad with al-Qaeda leaving America's national security at an even greater disadvantage. The Iraq war was a dismal failure and the American people have learned from that mistake. Our lawmakers should as well.