Today, Secretary Rice told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the United States would not rule out the use of military force with Syria. “I’m not going to get into what the president’s options might be,” Rice said. “I don’t think the president ever takes any of his options off the table concerning anything to do with military force.”
But this weekend, the New York Times reported that U.S. forces are already engaged in a “shadow struggle” with Syria:
A series of clashes in the last year between American and Syrian troops, including a prolonged firefight this summer that killed several Syrians, has raised the prospect that cross-border military operations may become a dangerous new front in the Iraq war, according to current and former military and government officials. …
…other [Bush administration] officials, who say they got their information in the field or by talking to Special Operations commanders, say that as American efforts to cut off the flow of fighters have intensified, the operations have spilled over the [Iraq-Syria] border – sometimes by accident, sometimes by design.
Some current and former officials add that the United States military is considering plans to conduct special operations inside Syria, using small covert teams for cross-border intelligence gathering.
Increasingly, officials say, Syria is to the Iraq war what Cambodia was in the Vietnam War: a sanctuary for fighters, money and supplies to flow over the border and, ultimately, a place for a shadow struggle.
Looks like the military option isn’t so much of an “option” anymore.