Likely Clinton Defense Secretary Denies Backing US Troops in Syria

CNAS Report Had Insisted US Troops Wouldn't 'Directly Engage' in Combat

by Jason Ditz, June 24, 2016

Former Undersectary of Defense Michele Flournoy, who is the presumptive frontrunner to be Defense Secretary if Hillary Clinton wins the November election, has gained considerable attention recently on the basis of a report at the CNAS Conference on a proposed escalation of the Syrian War.

The report was centered, as with the recent State Department dissent memo, on shifting the focus of the war away from ISIS and focusing on imposing regime change on the Syrian government through “military coercion.”

Flournoy sought to deny any public advocacy for US ground troops in Syria, and insisted she never supported having US combat troops taking territory away from Assad or directly trying to remove him from power through ground operations.

That’s a somewhat fair distinction, as the CNAS report tried to follow President Obama’s policy of keeping troops from directly engaging in “US-led combat.” The report focused on not relying on US ground operations in general, talking of imposing a no-fly zone and primarily using airstrikes to push Assad to make concessions and to change the situation on the ground to be more amenable to imposing a US-desired “solution” on the country.

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