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Did Dempsey Say the Timing of a Strike on Syria Doesn't Matter?

2:16 PM, Sep 5, 2013 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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"Our capacity to execute this mission is not time-sensitive," President Obama said during his remarks on Syria this past Saturday in the White House Rose Garden. "It will be effective tomorrow or next week or one month from now, and I am prepared to give that order."

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The Wall Street Journal reported that President Obama decided he could delay a strike on Syria because "Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said something that left an impression on Mr. Obama: The timing of a strike didn't matter, officials said."

But during testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, Dempsey clarified that he didn't quite say that the timing "didn't matter."

As Bill Gertz of the Washington Free Beacon reports, Dempsey told the Senate panel that the delay has made it more difficult to hit some targets by giving the Syrian regime more time to move assets, but it has also given the United States more time to "refine our targets."

“For interest of clarity here, what I actually said to the president is the following: The military resources we have in place can remain in place, and when you ask us to strike, we will make those strikes effective,” Dempsey said. “In other sessions, in the principals committee, not with the president present, we talked about some targets becoming more accessible than they were before."

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