In a 92-6 vote on Wednesday, American lawmakers amended the National Defense Authorization Act, requiring the Pentagon to submit “a report on military activities to deny or significantly degrade the use of [US] air power” against what they described as “civilian and opposition groups in Syria.”
Among those that voted against the amendment was Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky who viewed the provision as an invitation for a military intervention in Syria.
“I hope my colleagues today will not encourage a rush to war by publicly clamoring for a plan to become involved in Syria’s civil war,” he said.
Senator Paul further explained his opposition to the legislation by adding, “Our Defense Department no doubt has contingency plans for a ballistic missile attack on the United States, for a conventional land invasion, for naval or air encounters throughout the world, but we don’t necessarily openly discuss them or encourage them.”
The amendment, according to reports, gives US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, 90 days following the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act to report back to congressional defense committees in the House and the Senate on US military options for a potential intervention in the internal Syrian crisis.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration has earlier expressed its opposition to the legislative measure. The White House said, however, that it was ready to study all options for ending the Syrian conflict.
Moreover, in a testimony before a House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee, Marc Lynch of George Washington University insisted that “creating and protecting a safe area in Syria would therefore require a significant and lengthy investment of [US] troops and resources” and would not likely bring about the downfall of the Damascus government.