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August 01, 2012

Headline: Obama Authorizes Secret Support For Syrian Rebels

Just ponder that headline for a moment. Take it in.

I support the policy, by the way. (But more on that later.)

I just wonder if the Obama's National Security folks are using the same dictionary that I am, or if the page with the word "secrecy" on it is missing.

Remember when SEAL Team Six didn't exist? Or back when details of SEAL tactics were not supposed to be known by the world at large? Or back when it was a secret that the FLAME computer virus used the neat-o tactic of sending its data to nearby Bluetooth-equipped phones and laptops, to get the information transmitted from the secure (not connected to the internet) networks?

Yes, that was "secrecy" before Barack Obama needed a reelection boost, back when "secrecy" meant "we don't leak this information to our partisan agents in the media."

And now: Obama secretly orders secret help for our secret friends in the Syrian rebellion. It's in all the papers, like good secrets should be.

President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing U.S. support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government, U.S. sources familiar with the matter said.

Obama's order, approved earlier this year and known as an intelligence "finding," broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad.

...

The White House is for now apparently stopping short of giving the rebels lethal weapons, even as some U.S. allies do just that.

Rolling eyes. Either it's true and it's sooo typically Obama, or it's not true -- and this then is him "keeping a secret," even though it's preposterous that Syria wouldn't suspect we were sending arms.

As for why I support this: For one thing, so long as we're supplying armaments and not US armed forces, I don't consider it "war" so I don't think we need Congressional approval, necessarily. Reagan didn't seem he needed it for this sort of thing, asserting it fell under the Foreign Policy Power of the Executive in the US.

Further, Syria is a major bad actor, Iran's best friend. (Well... apart from Mother Russia.) If the Syran rebels succeed, not only will they rid the world of an anti-American despot, and not only will Iran's influence and reach be diminished, but the Syrians will likely spill many of the secrets of the old terrorist-supporting, Iran-allying regime to foreign governments, such as our own.

Further, the Arab/Muslim world is in desperate need of reform. I don't know how that will happen, or when it would happen; but I think we should generally favor attempts at freedom. Evicting a tyrant is not sufficient for a people to claim their human dignity and become friends of liberty (see Egypt), but it is almost certainly necessary for such a transformation to take place. Even if that transformation takes 40 or 60 years.

If Syria frees itself, it might also have the indirect but benevolent effect of freeing Lebanon as well (currently under rule by Hezballah, thanks largely to Syria's and Iran's determined promotion of that terrorist group).

I think the War on Jihadism is like the Cold War. Meaning: It is going to go on for so long that we will have to make judicious use of proxy wars and limited commitments. Looking back, I think Iraq and Afghanistan were mistakes in the way they were fought; we fought them at a very high tempo, with a lot of US troops, and lots of US treasure. (Meaning: If we take on Iran, which we must, it will first an airwar to decapitate the state and destroy the army, and then a speedy invasion with the sole purpose of capturing its nuclear materials and equipment (and "accidentally" shooting its nuclear scientists when they flee) and then evacuating the country. The public will not support an occupation or a "rebuilding," and I think it best to just accept that and plan accordingly. They will have to work things out for themselves. If you have only two enemy regimes that need subduing, a lengthy and costly and bloody rebuilding might make sense; if you realize that maybe you'll have ten such engagements in the coming decades, then such large commitments seem impossible.)

But that sort of very-high-tempo warfare is only sustainable for a six or eight years. If Jihadism could be knocked out relatively quickly -- like the Japanese Empire or Nazi Reich could -- it would make sense to use WWII style total commitment high-tempo warfare against it.

But I don't think it can be, which suggests to me we must employ strategies that can be sustained for a long period of time. Which means things like sending arms and intelligence to the enemy of our enemies.

My thinking on this is that Reagan Was Right on foreign policy, and the so-called foreign policy "neoconservatives" (of which I was one) were far too optimistic and idealistic about things. I think Gingrich said things like this: "I'm a hawk, but I'm a cheap hawk."

I think Bush's policy was simply too costly to serve as a model going forward.


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posted by Ace at 07:43 PM

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