COMMENTARY | Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said U.S. military action against Syria following the "atrocities" over the weekend is possible, according to Fox News. The general said "there is always a military option." As someone who studies politics, I do not believe the general's statements should cause people to expect America's next war to be in Syria.
The United Nations has taken the weekend atrocities in Syria very seriously and has condemned President Bashar al-Assad and his regime for the attack. The militaristic attack on civilians has led the U.S. Security Council to weigh its options and, according to Gen. Dempsey, has led to discussions among the military minds in the U.S. This does not automatically mean the U.S. will deploy extra forces in the region or even become directly involved in the internal Syrian conflict.
There are other issues in the region that could cause the military to take a hands-off approach. The recent incarceration of the doctor who helped the military find Osama bin Laden and the trimming of U.S. aid has brought more strain to our relationship with Pakistan. The nuclear talks with Iran have finally made some progress and the U.N. would not want to place a distraction to those talks by attacking an ally of that nation. Our increased military presence in the region could cause a series of events culminating in a full-scale war.
When the atrocities were taking place in Bosnia, there were discussions about a U.S. intervention, but it never took place. In Libya, instead of sending in countless troops, the U.S. supported the rebels in other ways. Due to the number of issues going on in the Middle East, it might behoove the military to find other ways of reducing the attacks on civilians.
Even though Gen. Dempsey has said military force is an option, we should not jump to conclusions and believe military intervention is the only option on the table. President Barack Obama needs to make a clear statement to the American people to calm fears over another war in the Middle East while sending a clear message to Syria that all options are being looked at. Until the president speaks up, those fears will grow and so will the Syrian atrocities.