Pentagon Spurned Kerry Efforts to Attack Syria

Kerry's 'Plan' Would've Required Over 700 Bombing Runs

On Thursday June 13, the Obama Administration announced that it suddenly believed Syria had crossed a “red line” on chemical weapons, and that the US would respond by arming rebels and other as-yet-unspecified interventions in the ongoing civil war.

Talks had been ongoing before that, but apparently an immediate war against Syria was narrowly averted on June 12, the day before, when Secretary of State John Kerry started pushing a plan for “immediate” US air strikes against government targets.

Kerry’s scheme was shot down loudly by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, who pointed out that Syria has air defense systems and Kerry’s list of targets would require more than 700 separate bombing sorties to accomplish.

Even then, Dempsey noted, neither Kerry nor anyone else in the State Department seemed to have any sort of post-strike plan, and that he seemed to just want to start bombing Syria without any idea what comes after the bombs are dropped. Though Kerry continued to push the idea, it was apparently not immediately accepted, and while there seems to be a lot of hawkish intention within the administration’s leadership, the bombing at the very least won’t start immediately.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.