FULL REPORT : Gen. Dempsey outlines U.S. military options on Syria as Congress supports arming rebels

The Pentagon has given Congress its first detailed list of military options for the United States on Syria. In a three-page letter, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey expressed his concerns over U.S. military involvement in the Syrian conflict, saying it would cost billions of dollars and carry significant risk.

Dempsey warned of “unintended consequences” and said that once the United States got involved, “deeper involvement” would be hard to avoid. He continued, “We have learned from the past 10 years, however, that it is not enough to simplyalter the balance of military powerwithout careful consideration of what is necessary in order to preserve a functioning state.” Dempsey outlined costs and risks involved infive military optionsincluding arming and training opposition fighters, conducting airstrikes, imposing a no-fly zone, creating buffer zones inside Syria, and controlling chemical weapons. He asserted that going with any of the options would be apolitical decision, which should not be entered into lightly, and would be “no less than an act of war.” In June, the Obama administration committed to supplying arms to rebel fighters, however the measure has been stalled in Congress. On Monday, House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said despite “very strong concerns” the Senate and House intelligence committees had reached a consensus to support the White House’s plan to provide weapons to opposition fighters. The timeline for delivery, however, remains unclear.