Just one day after US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice insisted that attacking Syria without UN backing was “the most probable scenario” for the next presumptive military adventure by the US, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta insisted he “cannot envision” such a thing.
Instead, Panetta insisted that the US would only attack Syria after the United Nations had given them official permission to do so, saying that “the international community and the president are going to have to decide what steps we take.”
US officials have been changing their position on attacking Syria on a nearly hourly basis, at times insisting that they oppose doing so under any circumstance and at other times insisting they are just waiting for the go-ahead.
Panetta’s comments reflect those he made in early March, in which he told the US Senate that the administration’s goal was “international permission” for the war, and downplayed the idea of seeking Congressional authorization, saying only that Congress would be “informed” about the attack once the president decided.
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