Pentagon spokesman: No boots on the ground in Syria

Updated
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reacts as he waits for U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of...
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reacts as he waits for U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of...

The Pentagon is reiterating again that any action in Syria wouldn’t involve ground troops while the White House continues to work to persuade wavering members of Congress to approve military strikes against Syria.

Any mission Congress authorizes would be “limited in scope” and “limited in duration,” Pentagon spokesman George Little told guest host and NBC White House Correspondent Kristen Welker in a Daily Rundown web exclusive. His comments echo those made by President Obama and others in his administration as the White House continues to argue for action after saying it found evidence that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad killed more than 1,400 in a chemical attack.

“We believe we will have the time we need to achieve this objective which is to show that chemical weapons is wrong,” said Little. “We’re not looking at American boots on the ground in this operation at all.”

Little also reiterated that the anticipated air or missile strikes wouldn’t be “a protracted conflict like we saw in Afghanistan or Iraq.”

The Pentagon spokesman also promised that any strike would send a “strong signal” to a “brutal regime,” but that the added time to lobby Congress for approval shouldn’t be taken as weakness.

“No one in the Syrian regime, no one in the Syrian military should take solace in this democratic deliberative process that we’re undertaking in the United States right now. No one should think that a delay is assisting the Assad regime,” said Little. “We have the ability to undertake this process and be effective at the end of the day.”

Little also said he rejected former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s assertion on Tuesday that Obama’s position on Syria was weak, and that, ”You either ought to change the regime, or you ought to do nothing.”

“It is very important that we send a signal to the Assad regime and to other rogue regimes around the world that the use of chemical weapons against innocent civilian populations is wrong, and it is deplorable and it violated basic norms in the international community,” said Little.

Pentagon spokesman: No boots on the ground in Syria

Updated