Retired Ky. general says U.S. should take action in Syria but Obama can't guarantee a 'limited' scope

09/10/2013 05:52 PM

Retired Major General Donald Storm, the former Kentucky Adjunct General, said the United States should take action against Syria but cautions that the type of response warranted could mean another prolonged engagement.

Storm said he has major concerns with the make-up and motives of the rebel forces trying to overthrown President Bashar al-Assad. He said he also is concerned about the Obama administration’s ability to manage the conflict and doesn’t see how any administration could promise such a strike could be “limited.”

“From the world standpoint and the international community — definitely something needs to be done. I agree with the president totally,” Storm said. “However, I don’t have a lot of confidence concerning those that are trying to overthrow Assad. I think that’s been infiltrated with – especially al Qaeda.”

The Obama administration has repeatedly called for “limited” strikes in Syria to reinforce the ban on chemical weapons, and not boots on the ground military involvement.

However, Storm said he does not know how the administration could “guarantee” a limited conflict.

“Once you lob a missile or you deploy troops there’s no way you know what the second and third order effects are,” Storm said. “If you can use precision weapons and take out the chemical repositories and the places he has his weapons stored and the warehouses and so on that’s fine, but that’s a very difficult thing to do. Especially since we’ve signaled our intentions.” (8:17)

When Congress votes this week on whether to authorize a strike on Syria, Storm said they should be prepared to get the United States in a boots on the ground military action. “I don’t see how it could be any other way,” he said.

Storm, a Republican who supported U.S. intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan, criticized the Obama administration for lacking an international doctrine. He said the response to the Syrian civil war needs to come from the international community. Storm’s position is diametrically opposed to U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s more isolationist position. But Storm said his personal goal is “world peace.”

The images and video showing alleged chemical warfare coming out of Syria in the last days Storm said is on par with the gassing of the Kurds in Iraq in the 1980s.

“That is a red line and the international community has to address this, “ he said. “This is a team game here…(Obama) has got to get the international community involved here.” (5:15 in the interview)

The risk, Storm said, is “too great” in Syria because of its geographic location between Iraq, the Mediterranean Sea and U.S. ally Israel. Storm called the Middle East with its population of 650 million people a “powder keg.”

“When you mix politics with national strategy and dealing with conflict in a place like – in the middle east especially. Then you’re in trouble,” Storm said.

On the call for a limited strike, Storm said he doesn’t believe “Congress will buy into that.”


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.