Gen. Odierno: Sequester could hinder US capabilities in Syria

President Obama has said that no options are off the table to respond in Syria, but thus far there’s been little appetite among lawmakers or the public for the U.S. military to put “boots on the ground.”

Odierno’s comments came in response to a question from a reporter about how the sequester cuts could harm a potential intervention.

The military has warned that the across-the-board sequester cuts are causing a readiness crisis because the services are cancelling trainings in order to deal with the cuts.

“As we reduce in Afghanistan, we obviously have more capability in the Army back here,” Odierno said. “It’s a matter of us having the dollars to make sure they are ready and trained to meet such a contingency in Syria.

“We’ll have the troops to go, but the increased risk goes up,” he added. “And what is the risk? The risk is lives.”

Odierno also said he believed “it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when” Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad will fall. His largest concern over Syria, he said, is what happens after that.