Top military leader outlines costs, risks on Syria

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By DONNA CASSATA, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff says greater U.S. military involvement in Syria could cost billions and involve thousands of U.S. ground forces.

Gen. Martin Dempsey outlined the costs, benefits and risks in a letter to key members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Monday. The committee members — Chairman Carl Levin and John McCain —had pressed Dempsey for his personal assessment as they consider his nomination to another two-year term.

Dempsey wrote that a limited no-fly zone to protect Syrian rebels coupled with U.S. ground forces would push the costs to more than $1 billion per month.

He said the military has learned from 10 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan that even altering the balance of power may not be enough.

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