Top Links: The ‘best option in Syria’ may be an oxymoron

Updated
The Pentagon warns that greater aid to Syria's rebels may require thousands of soldiers and tens of billions of dollars.
The Pentagon warns that greater aid to Syria's rebels may require thousands of soldiers and tens of billions of dollars.
AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center AMC, File

Top story: Even as Congress approves light arms shipments to Syria’s rebels, a fresh warning about “boots on the ground” comes as the White House appears to be changing its message.

  • You can almost hear Washington collectively remember — “Oh, riiiight” — as the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff reminds everyone that another military adventure in another Middle East country will cost — initially — thousands of troops and tens of billions of dollars. (Washington Wire)
  • “BREAKING: Every military option in Syria sucks” (Foreign Policy)
  • The problems are the money and manpower problems of Afghanistan and Iraq. Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Martin Dempsey, for instance, warns that thousands — a very vague “thousands” — would be required to control chemical weapons, protect neighboring allies and establish no fly zones. (The Guardian)
  • And then there’s the money problem. Controlling Syria’s chemical stockpiles? That’ll cost you $1 billion a month. (Ernesto Londoño)
  • Buffer zones to protect Turkey and Syria? That’s another billion dollars a month. (Bloomberg)
  • A no-fly zone? Oh, you know that’s gonna cost a billion dollars a month. (Spencer Ackerman)
  • And there’s still the billions for training, advising and assisting the opposition as well as conducting limited strikes. (DoD Buzz)
  • Worse, as General Martin Dempsey writes in the report, “Once we take action, we should be prepared for what comes next.” (Council on Foreign Relations)
  • “We could inadvertently empower extremists or unleash the very chemical weapons we seek to control.” (Kasie Hunt)
  • This may help explain, as the New York Times notes, why the White House has begun to qualify its words on kicking Assad out of Syria: (emphasis ours) “While there are shifts in momentum on the battlefield, Bashar al-Assad, in our view, will never rule all of Syria again.” (The New York Times)

Top Links: The ‘best option in Syria’ may be an oxymoron

Updated