New York – Ranking Member Eliot Engel, the senior Democratic member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement upon receiving a reply from General Martin Dempsey to his letter dated August 5th, requesting further clarification of potential limited military options in Syria.
“I thank General Dempsey for his timely response and appreciate his added candor in outlining additional potential military options in Syria. However, I remain deeply unsatisfied with our current strategy in Syria -- as we stand on the sidelines when the turmoil in that country continues to claim thousands of lives and sow instability throughout the region.
I reject the notion that our involvement in Syria would simply constitute ‘choosing sides’ between one armed group and another. Rather, our involvement represents a choice between hastening the end of the Assad regime or continuing to allow the cycle of violence, displacement, and terror to continue unabated. We can work to build the capacity of the moderate opposition, as General Dempsey suggests, but until we are prepared to severely diminish the regime’s ability to inflict harm upon its own citizens and even the playing field -- such a moderate opposition stands little chance against the regime’s scuds, tanks, and planes.”