The E-Ring

General “No”

Not exactly a broken record, but for more than a year General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has found many ways to make it clear he does not want to get involved in the Syria conflict.  February 12, 2012 – On CNN "I think it would be premature to exclusively ...

Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images
Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images

Not exactly a broken record, but for more than a year General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has found many ways to make it clear he does not want to get involved in the Syria conflict. 

February 12, 2012 – On CNN

"I think it would be premature to exclusively decide that the time for a military option was upon us."

February 14, 2012 – To the Senate Armed Services Committee

"It is a much different situation than we collectively saw in Libya. I think that’s an important point to make, because we don’t have as clear an understanding of the nature of the opposition."

May 28, 2012 – On CBS "This Morning"

"I think diplomatic pressure should always precede any discussions about military options. And that’s my job by the way is options, not policy. And so we`ll — we`ll be prepared to provide options if asked to do so."

June 7, 2012 – In the Pentagon

"The pressures that are being brought to bear are simply not having the effect, I think, that we intend. But I’m not prepared to advocate that we abandon that track at this point." 

July 28, 2012 – In San Francisco

"This is one where we need to continue to shape it diplomatically and economically before we would think about applying a military instrument of power."

August 31, 2012 – In London

"The issue of outcomes, I think, is the important question. And as we decide or discuss about the application of any number of means, whether it’s humanitarian assistance all the way up through no-fly zones, I think we have to — we have to understand that the — we have to have a pretty clear view of what outcome we’re seeking to achieve."

January 10, 2013 – At the Pentagon

"The — the effort — or the act of preventing the use of chemical weapons would be almost unachievable."

March 18, 2013 In Washington at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

"I don’t think at this point I can see a military option that would create an understandable outcome. And until I do, it would be my advice to proceed cautiously."

April 9, 2013 – On Alhurra

"I have grave concerns that Syria could be a frozen conflict, if you will — one that is in a perpetual state of conflict. … And that is why I think that the diplomatic solution that finds an accommodation for all parties and that avoids sectarian conflict is clearly the best option."

April 16, 2013 – To the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense 

"We’re prepared with options, should the — should military force be called upon and assuming it can be effectively used to secure our interests without making matters worse. We must also be ready for options for an uncertain and dangerous future. That is a future we have not yet identified."

April 18, 2013To the Senate Armed Services Committee

"Before we take action, we have to be prepared for what comes next."

April 30, 2013In Washington at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast

"Whether the military effect would produce the kind of outcome I think that not only members of Congress but all of us would desire — which is an end to the violence, some kind of political reconciliation among the parties, and a stable Syria — that’s the reason I’ve been cautious about the application of the military instrument of power…. It’s not clear to me that it would produce that outcome."

 Twitter: @FPBaron

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