Dempsey’s Five Deadly Options

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THE US chief of staff, General Dempsey, has written an Open Letter to the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, Carl Levin, about the five options that the military have drawn up for intervention into Syria.

He has written them in a situation where the Assad regime has got the upper hand over the international bandits ranged against it, and has retained the support of Syria, Hezbollah and Russia, while the US has lost the active support of Egypt with the military coup against Mursi, which has weakened the position of the Turkish leader Erdogan, one of the main leaders of the struggle to dismember Syria.

Dempsey concludes his options by showing his ‘cold feet’ about the situation: ‘I know that the decision to use force is not one that any of us takes lightly. It is no less than an act of war. As we weigh our options, we should be able to conclude with some confidence that the use of force will move us toward the intended outcome.

We must also understand risk – not just to our forces, but to our other global responsibilities. This is especially critical as we lose readiness due to budget cuts and fiscal uncertainty . . . Once we take action, we should be prepared for what comes next. Deeper involvement is hard to avoid.’

Earlier in his letter he outlines the options the US military have prepared for dealing with Syria.

The first option is to ‘Train, Advise and Assist the Opposition . . . The scale could range from several hundred to several thousand troops with the costs varying accordingly, but estimated at $500 million per year initially . . . Risks include extremists gaining access to additional capabilities, retaliatory crossborder attacks, and insider attacks or inadvertent association with war crimes due to vetting difficulties.’

The second option is to ‘Conduct Limited Stand-off Strikes. This option uses lethal force to strike targets that enable the regime to conduct military operations, proliferate advanced weapons, and defend itself . . . Depending on duration, the costs would be in the billions.’

Option three is to ‘Establish a No-Fly Zone . . . We would require hundreds of ground and sea-based aircraft, intelligence and electronic warfare support, and enablers for refuelling and communications. Estimated costs are $500 million initially, averaging as much as a billion dollars per month over the course of a year . . . Risks include the loss of US 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 firing mortars, artillery, and missiles.’

Option four: ‘Establish Buffer Zones . . . Lethal force would be required to defend the zones against air, missile, and ground attacks. This would necessitate the establishment of a limited no-fly zone, with its associated resource requirements.

Thousands of U.S. ground forces would be needed, even if positioned outside Syria, to support those physically defending the zones. A limited no-fly zone coupled with US ground forces would push the costs over one billion dollars per month.’

The fifth option is ‘Control Chemical Weapons. This option uses lethal force to prevent the use or proliferation of chemical weapons. We do this by destroying portions of Syria’s massive stockpile, interdicting its movement and delivery, or by seizing and securing programme components.

At a minimum, this option would call for a no-fly zone as well as air and missile strikes involving hundreds of aircraft, ships, submarines, and other enablers. Thousands of special operations forces and other ground forces would be needed to assault and secure critical sites.

Costs could also average well over one billion dollars per month.’

The open letter outlines that military victory may not be gained by a risky and massive expansion of the war.

This emphasises the enormity of the defeat that the imperialist powers are suffering in Syria.

One of the reasons why Lenin supported the movement for national liberation was that it weakened imperialism and created the conditions for the socialist revolution in the advanced countries.

Workers in the West must support the huge struggle of the Syrian people to preserve their independence with socialist revolutions in the crisis-hit EU, US and the Americas to finish off capitalism and imperialism. This is the way forward.