Administration officials are quick to note Syria is not Libya, where air and naval strikes were easier. What's more, administration officials are holding by an assessment that al Qaeda elements are included in the groups fighting Assad's regime.
U.S. estimates say there are more than 100 opposition groups involved in the deadly classes. Dempsey said al Qaeda fighters are "there trying to exploit" the situation.
McCain rejects that notion, saying he has met Syrian opposition leaders who attended the University of Alabama.
"They are not fighting and dying because they are Muslim extremists,” McCain said.