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'Mass Chaos': Diplomats Warned Obama Syria Was Inevitable

Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Senior Fellow for Women and Foreign Policy
September 3, 2013
Defense One


Don't say they didn't warn us.

"At the end of the day we are going to be pulled into this one way or two another," a State Department official told me in April. "The only thing is we are going to be pulled into it kicking and screaming and not on our own terms."

Call it the great Syria policy swerve. In less than 14 days the United States has gone from a policy of doing just enough to a policy of "enough is enough." America has shifted suddenly and with great public drama from a policy of containment -- keeping the U.S. military outside of Syria while allowing extremist rebels and Hezbollah fighters to bleed one another out -- to pursuing permission from Capitol Hill to strike limited targets directly inside of Syrian borders.

And for months officials who favored a more energetic policy approach on Syria -- diplomatic and military -- have said we would land exactly where we are. The cost of inaction, they said, eventually would outweigh the cost of getting involved.

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