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Kerry: US Ground Troops Could be Used in Syria

Stephen Dinan
Washington Times [1]
September 3, 2013

Comment: As we reported earlier [2], Obama’s congressional resolution would allow not only boots on the ground, but an open ended war throughout the region.

Secretary of State John F. Kerry refused Tuesday to rule out putting U.S. troops on the ground in Syria, saying the president needs to retain the ability to send in forces in very select circumstances as the Obama administration officially began to make its case for retaliatory military strikes on the Assad regime.

Testifying to the Senate, Mr. Kerry accused critics of “armchair isolationism” and said there are risks to acting, but that the risks of inaction are even worse. But asked whether President Obama would accept an authorization from Congress that specifically banned putting U.S. troops on the ground in Syria, the secretary balked.

“I don’t want to take off the table an option that might or might not be available to the president that might secure our country,” he said, pointing to a hypothetical situation in which the U.S. would want troops to go in to secure a chemical weapons cache from falling into the hands of terrorists.

Moments later, however, realizing his statement could be a problem, Mr. Kerry sought to clarify. He said that Mr. Obama will accept whatever restrictions Congress wants to place to make sure that the U.S. doesn’t get drawn into the actual fight between the regime and the rebels.

Full story here. [1]