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August 22, 2014

Is the Administration Telegraphing Punches?

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says ISIL “will eventually have to be defeated,” which will almost certainly entail countering them in Syria as well as Iraq – “both sides of what is essentially at this point a nonexistent border.” Still, he hedged, “I’m not predicting [strikes] will occur in Syria, at least not by the United States of America, but it requires the application of all the tools of national power – diplomatic, economic, information, military.” Likewise, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said, “[W]e are looking at all options” to stop ISIL, including dropping bombs in Syria. Finally, deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said, “[W]e would not restrict ourselves by geographic boundaries when it comes to the core mission of U.S. foreign policy which is the protection of our people.” Put the three comments together and we wonder what the administration has in mind for Syria. Will it be a drive-by bombing, or will it be a more robust campaign to knock out ISIL? The president might let us know after he makes this putt…

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