The Bumbling Begins

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from The Huffington Post,

Secretary of State John Kerry at first refused to rule out the possibility of “boots on the ground” in Syria in a response to a question from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) in a congressional hearing Tuesday — only to shut the door minutes later in a follow-up question.

In the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing over proposed U.S. intervention in Syria’s civil war, Kerry pointed to the possibility that a cache of chemical weapons could fall into the hands of a terrorist group to make the case for military action.

“I don’t want to take off the table an option that might or might not be available to a president of the United States to secure our country,” he said.

Menendez asked whether that meant the U.S. could send combat troops, and Kerry stumbled for an answer. “Well, assuming in going to protect those weapons, whether or not they had to answer a shot in order to be secure, I don’t want to speak to that,” he said.

Trying to recover, Kerry gave the “bottom line”: “I’m absolutely confident, Mr. Chairman, that it is easy, not that complicated, to work out language that will satisfy the Congress and the American people that there’s no door open here through which someone can march in ways that the Congress doesn’t want it to while still protecting the national security interests of the country.”

The meandering answer instantly gave fodder to critics who charged that the proposal to strike Syria in response to its use of chemical weapons is merely a ruse for a more protracted war. Kerry is known for his waffling answers, and he did not help himself in Tuesday’s hearing.

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