The Best Defense

How to know if President Obama has ordered covert actions against Assad

Like I said the other day, I expect that even if Congress declines to authorize the use of military force in Syria, President Obama will order a variety of covert actions in support of the rebels.

How can we know if these are occurring? Basically, I think we should look for things happening that the rebels would have liked to do a long time ago but were unable to carry out. For example, assassinations of senior Syrian officials. I could see, for example, stealthy drone attacks on the convoys of the officials who oversaw the use of chemical weapons -- but credit being given to Syrian rebels. I also think we could see things like signals intercepts being passed to the rebels, as well as other helpful intelligence, like real-time satellite imagery. Basically, any anomalous action bears a second look.

Fast transmission of targeting info could significantly boost the effectiveness of the opposition, I think. I've been told that, during the Iran-Iraq War, the U.S. provided Saddam Hussein's air force with good photo imagery of Iranian military targets, such as major supply depots and corps-level headquarters, and that the subsequent Iraqi airstrikes broke an Iranian offensive and so changed the balance of the war.

Yet even as I discuss this, I wonder: If the rebels win, how will they treat Armenians, Jews, Christians, and other minorities?


The Best Defense

What I don't understand about the Manning case -- and what that may say about accountability in today's Army

Speaking of nutjobs, what I don't understand about the Manning case is where the hell his chain of command was. The guy was clearly unstable, it would seem from the testimony. So why was he let within 100 feet of classified information?

I did a Google search but couldn't find any indication that his senior NCO, or his company commander, have been held accountable. I did see a reference saying that his company commander was unaware of Manning's behavioral issues. I don't think that ignorance is a good alibi here. At the very least here, there is probably a good case study of commanders being asleep at the wheel.