U.S. Options in Syria: Obama’s Delays and the Dempsey Warnings by Anthony H. Cordesman, CSIS.
It is important to define one’s red lines. It is far more important to define the impact of crossing them and have clear options for doing so. At this point, no one can ignore the warning that the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey gave in a letter to Congressman Eliot Engel on August 19th, -- written just days just before the August 21st reports that Assad might have used chemical weapons to produce serious casualties.
In his latest letter to Congress, General Dempsey stated that:
“Syria today is not about choosing between two sides, but rather about choosing between one among many sides choosing. It is my belief that the side we choose must be ready to promote their interests and ours when the balance shifts in their favor. Today, they are not… It is a deeply rooted, long-term conflict among multiple factions, and violent struggles for power will continue after Assad’s rule ends…We should evaluate the effectiveness of limited military options in this context…” ...