American Elephants

First You Conduct the Operation, Then You Can Tell the Bad Guys About It, If There Are Any of Them Left. by The Elephant's Child


I wrote back on the 16th that the president seems to feel free to announce our military operations in advance, in effect warning our enemies about just what we’re up to. Our enemies not only read our papers and the internet, but devote considerable expertise to hacking intelligence sources to find out what we are doing.

Is it standard military procedure now to announce everything we are doing or going to do in advance? Or is this Obama, stung by the response to his State of the Union everything is dandy speech trying to show that he’s not either a weak doormat, and does too send needed troops, but can’t manage to do anything without bragging about it first? Seems odd. But then Obama has had a habit of always telling the enemy what we’re going to do, then tacking on restrictive rules of engagement to make sure nobody gets hurt so that he cannot be blamed. But what do I know, I’m just a civilian worrier.

General Joseph Votel, chief of U.S. Special Operations Command wrote to Defense Secretary Ash Carter demanding that the Pentagon stop discussing the operations of elite American troops.

The White House announced in October that a small number of special operations forces—less than 50 —would be deployed to Syria to fight the terror group there. Then Carter told lawmakers that the U.S. would deploy a specialized expeditionary targeting force” to fight Iraq to fight ISIS. These special operators will over time be able to conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence and capture ISIL leaders, Carter told the House Armed Services Committee hearing, according to the Hill.

An anonymous defense official questioned about the memo told Foreign Policy that Carter “shares Gen. Votel’s concerns about the public disclosure of SOF operations, especially any reporting that could expose our personnel to additional risk and undermine their chances for success.”

He further stated, however, that the Pentagon is obligated to keep the public informed.

I don’t think the Pentagon is obligated to keep the public informed before an operation. After will do just fine. I just don’t want the president or the Pentagon making a mission more dangerous by announcing it beforehand, when it is not necessary. Americans may be casual about keeping up with the latest troop movements. Our enemies are not. Shouldn’t that be basic common sense?


4 Comments so far
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That “anonymous defense official” needs a dope slap, and then he needs to read the regs again. The Pentagon’s “obligation” to keep the public informed does NOT mean a press release with every troop movement; it is a requirement that the appropriate oversight authorities (committees in Congress and the national security team in the Executive) so that external review is possible without endangering mission objectives.

Obama simply wants people to stop thinking he’s some kind of wimp who is afraid to let our armed services off the leash. A little late for that, tho’.


Comment by Lon Mead

Exactly! There’s a lot of dopey stuff coming out of the military lately. It looks as if the pressure to be politically correct is pretty pervasive. The task of government seems to be to tell everyone how to conduct their business, how much to pay their employees, what signage they need. For the military, it’s ‘inclusiveness’ about who may serve in what capacity and just where the transgendered fit in, and who can have a gun and who can’t. I’m still betting that he never saw a war movie nor read a military history.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

“…nor read a military history.”

From what I’ve seen, the man is light on knowledge of history in general. He knows what he knows (and only what he knows), and refuses the venture outside of it.

Ignorance is natural, and can be overcome.
Stupidity involves choice, and is often fatal.


Comment by Lon Mead

Back in 2008, Richard Epstein did a video on Uncommon Knowledge, in which he said that Obama was very dogmatic, and once he made up his mind, it was set in concrete — he didn’t change his mind. He knew Obama at U. Chicago and through his next door neighbor who was a close friend of Obama’s. Ive always found that to explain a lot.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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