Kerry to again make the case for air strikes
After Tuesday’s three-and-a-half hour hearing before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, today the House gets its turn to grill Secretary of State John F. Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Kerry, who noted that his first appearance in the committee room had been when he was a 27-year-old activist, faced the vast majority of questions as he insisted “the president is not asking you to go to war.”
Expect committee members to pick up on his “boots on the ground” comments from Tuesday and ask whether the Obama administration would consider sending American military personnel into Syria in any circumstances.
At one point during Tuesday’s Senate committee hearing, the secretary of state appeared to suggest that was a possibility.
“I don’t want to take off the table an option that might or might not be on the table,” he said, before quickly revisiting the issue to clarify that he wanted to “shut that door now as tight as we can.”
Kerry insisted that he had addressed a “hypothetical question,” and said “there will not be American boots on the ground with respect to the civil war.”
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel may also face more questions than he tackled Tuesday, considering his bruising experience at the hands of House Republicans during his confirmation hearings.