Friday, February 10, 2017

The Raid

Don't Politicize the Failed Yemen Raid. America cannot punish its elected officials for allowing its military, diplomatic corps, and intelligence services to take risks necessary to pursue its interests.
Excerpt: I am inclined to disagree. My experience as a senior Department of Defense official in the last two years of the Obama administration leads me to the conclusion that the way we did things—with the military required to provide a “CONOPS,” or concept of operations, to be picked over by deputy cabinet secretaries and usually the secretaries themselves prior to being forwarded to the president for approval—was slow and ponderous in a way that created real opportunity costs and denied subordinate commanders the flexibility to exploit opportunities they saw on the battlefield. Yes, it eliminated a lot of physical and political risk, but in doing so it negated one of the primary advantages the U.S. military enjoys, which is a highly trained and capable officer corps in the field that can exercise independent judgment. At one point toward the end of the Obama administration, cabinet secretaries—cabinet secretaries!—were literally debating whether or not it made sense to move three helicopters within Iraq and Syria. That decision should have been left to the very capable, very experienced commander on the ground, U.S. Army Lieutenant General Steve Townsend.

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