Top-ranking US General Martin Dempsey issued a warning to the Senate Monday that military action in Syria is "no less than an act of war" likely to unleash "unintended consequences" that would bring harm to the world, as well as US troops, while costing taxpayers billions.
Dempsey delivered the warning in a letter addressing the Chairman of the Senate, after Senator John McCain vowed to block the general's reappointment over his perceived reluctance to send the US military into Syria.
It is the strongest statement against US military intervention in Syria to emerge from the Pentagon since the US has deliberated intervention.
With a nod to the brutal and long-term invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, Dempsey stated that once the US gets involved in Syria it will be very difficult to leave and military invasion could "empower extremists or unleash the very chemical weapons we seek to control."
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Dempsey declared that establishing a "no-fly zone" in Syria—which John McCain strongly supports—is estimated to cost approximately one billion dollars per month. Dempsey outlined risks that include "the loss of U.S. aircraft, which would require us to insert personnel recovery forces. It may also fail to reduce the violence or shift the momentum because the regime relies overwhelmingly on surface fires—mortars, artillery, and missiles."
The statement came as House and Senate intelligence committees gave their final approval Monday to a shipment of arms to Syrian fighters against the Assad regime. The plan, introduced by Obama last month, was delayed by debates in Congress.
Last week, Dempsey stated that the Obama administration is considering direct military strikes in Syria.