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  #1  
Old 01-23-2003, 09:10 AM
Coda Coda is offline
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Who is more Formidable: Navy Seal or CIA Operative?

I used to know a guy who was a Navy Seal. He was one calm/formidable character. This guys forearms were as big as my thigh and his chest was probably a 55. No fat on the guy and he was 46 years old. He had seen plenty of live action in his days and he gave off the aura that nothing could happen that he wouldn't be prepared for.

Now I hear CIA operatives are more secretive but not as hulky. I am not sure what the main differences are, but I'd think CIA operatives are just as formidable but ten times more cloak & dagger-like.

Does anyone know for sure? Who is more formidable?
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  #2  
Old 01-23-2003, 09:54 AM
Enola Straight Enola Straight is online now
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On the field of battle, NOTHING is better than a SEAL...even Marines are in awe of them.

CIA are political, sneaky creatures whose primary purpose are to quietly amass information.

A SEAL is an elite warrior...we're talkin' heavy-duty Rambo shit here.
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  #3  
Old 01-23-2003, 10:12 AM
Woeg Woeg is offline
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My stepdad is a former SEAL. He is one of the few people in the world that I would never, not under any circumstances, want to piss off. I don't care if he was tied down, gagged, and blindfolded...because I know that somehow, he would escape, and my life span would be drastically shortened. I have a good number of friends who are former Marines, and all that have met him are in fear/awe of him. Despite that, he is one of the nicest, most gentle men I have ever known in my life. But I still won't piss him off.
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  #4  
Old 01-23-2003, 10:21 AM
BlackKnight BlackKnight is offline
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Straight field of battle, the CIA operative doesn't hold a candle to a SEAL. Not even close. But it's sort of like comparing a bear to a an octopus. There are certainly situations where a CIA operative would be a lot more useful.
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  #5  
Old 01-23-2003, 10:21 AM
MC Master of Ceremonies MC Master of Ceremonies is offline
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The Navy seals aren't really recognized the most elite fighting force in the world, this title usually belongs to the British SAS, the elite force in the French foreign legion or one of the Israeli elite forces (I forget which one).
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  #6  
Old 01-23-2003, 10:30 AM
UncleBill UncleBill is offline
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True, MC, but from down here they all look alike: Awesome.
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  #7  
Old 01-23-2003, 10:31 AM
Epimetheus Epimetheus is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Enola Straight
On the field of battle, NOTHING is better than a SEAL...even Marines are in awe of them.

CIA are political, sneaky creatures whose primary purpose are to quietly amass information.

A SEAL is an elite warrior...we're talkin' heavy-duty Rambo shit here.
Not really- SEALS are bad ass, don't get me wrong, but Ranger, Recon and SAS members trains just as heavily and are just as much as bad asses. I doubt very seriously you know any Marine Recon ops that are in "awe" of SEALS. Grudging respect perhaps. (I know this because in Basic one of my Drill Instructors was ex-Recon and out in the field one day he was talking about them and compared them to Recon training)

No Rambo shit either. Special Ops groups are taught to work as a team. Rambo didn't work as a team now did he?

You would be surprised at how normal CIA operatives look. I don't know any myself, nor have met any, but I have seen some specials on the CIA and read a few books and nothing I have seen nor read give the impression that the training is only slightly more advanced than FBI or police forces. (in combat training anyhow)

I would say it depends on the situation- Want to use espianoge to blackmail or bribe a possible contact in an enemy country? Use a CIA op. Want to send in an amphibious force to destroy an experimental ship/sub in an enemy harbor? Seal. Want to send some reconassance out in possible hostile country- Recon.

Special Ops are the best, and very good at what they do. But face it, in reality Rambo would die in 3 seconds. Nobody is that "good" and that "lucky".
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  #8  
Old 01-23-2003, 10:34 AM
Epimetheus Epimetheus is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by MC Master of Cermonies
The Navy seals aren't really recognized the most elite fighting force in the world, this title usually belongs to the British SAS, the elite force in the French foreign legion or one of the Israeli elite forces (I forget which one).
I read something suggesting the Russian Spetsnaz was considered one of the best in it's times. Of course I am sure more people died in training than any other country. LOL
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  #9  
Old 01-23-2003, 10:43 AM
Nametag Nametag is offline
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CIA officers, regardless of Tom Clancy's Mr. Clark, are mostly not fighters. They are trained to defend themselves, much as police are, but the duties of the CIA involve recruiting agents (spies, moles, "filthy traitors," etc.), sometimes working undercover themselves, and of course all the information-gathering that can be done from a distance, and passing information, analyzing information, and working with and advising foreign intelligence agencies.

Hell, even Clancy's field op was a former SEAL.
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  #10  
Old 01-23-2003, 10:46 AM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by MC Master of Cermonies
The Navy seals aren't really recognized the most elite fighting force in the world, this title usually belongs to the British SAS, the elite force in the French foreign legion or one of the Israeli elite forces (I forget which one).
The relative difference between Navy SEALS, SAS, and those sorts of guys is like the relative difference between Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson; maybe you can measure a slight difference, but if you go 1-on-1 with either man, you'll never know what hit you.
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  #11  
Old 01-23-2003, 10:50 AM
Epimetheus Epimetheus is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by RickJay
The relative difference between Navy SEALS, SAS, and those sorts of guys is like the relative difference between Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson; maybe you can measure a slight difference, but if you go 1-on-1 with either man, you'll never know what hit you.
Maybe. The measure of the skills of the SAS vs the SEALS is not on a 1 on 1 basis though. Rather on how well they work as a team, and their past history. Like a resume. That can be compared. Comparing groups to individuals like Jordan VS Johnson is not quite a fair analogy. How about comparing say, the Chiefs with the Raiders.
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  #12  
Old 01-23-2003, 10:54 AM
MC Master of Ceremonies MC Master of Ceremonies is offline
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Many secret service operatives would perform extremely poorly in any combat situation as they are not usually choosen for their ability in combat.

Taking James Bonds organization -MI6 as an example, despite what the films would have you believe, many of it's members have absolutely no aptitude for combat and only basic training in this area but they have skills that are far more useful in the field of espionage.
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  #13  
Old 01-23-2003, 11:01 AM
MC Master of Ceremonies MC Master of Ceremonies is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by RickJay
The relative difference between Navy SEALS, SAS, and those sorts of guys is like the relative difference between Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson; maybe you can measure a slight difference, but if you go 1-on-1 with either man, you'll never know what hit you.
One of the main reaons that the SAS always comes out better in comparisions is that it is nearly always fighting somewhere around the world, meaning it's memebers usually have more combat experince.

Plus the fact that they have gained a repuatation for being stupendously successful in operations (everybody remembers the embassy siege, but also on less publicized missions, for example when a team of about five SAS members held a position from an assault by several hundred armed Yemenese tribesmen)
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  #14  
Old 01-23-2003, 11:03 AM
Elethiomel Elethiomel is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Epimetheus
Maybe. The measure of the skills of the SAS vs the SEALS is not on a 1 on 1 basis though. Rather on how well they work as a team, and their past history. Like a resume. That can be compared. Comparing groups to individuals like Jordan VS Johnson is not quite a fair analogy. How about comparing say, the Chiefs with the Raiders.
I think the point was that if you (as in Joe Average) were to try and take on even one of these special ops, you wouldn't notice much difference in how fast you got your ass handed to you.
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  #15  
Old 01-23-2003, 11:12 AM
Epimetheus Epimetheus is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Elethiomel
I think the point was that if you (as in Joe Average) were to try and take on even one of these special ops, you wouldn't notice much difference in how fast you got your ass handed to you.
In what situation? Do you think a person that fights amateur boxing could hold his own in a fistfight? A 20-30 year old SecOp? Maybe not. A 35+? yeah. I work with two guys that are large in shape and compete in IMAC. (6'4 220+lbs) I would wager that these guys, at around age 24-27, would hold a pretty good chance. Give em guns and put em on a battlefield and the SpecOps guy will dominate.

Special Ops members have specialized training- they train for special goals and they domiate at those goals. Some guys train to fight hand to hand 4-5 times a week for several hours a day, and have for years. They are not special ops, but they spend more time fighting and preping to fight hand to hand than a spec ops guy does. (who spends most of his time learning battlefield traning with a light to moderate level of hand to hand training at most)
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  #16  
Old 01-23-2003, 11:16 AM
Epimetheus Epimetheus is offline
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I know- you said Joe Average. Which covers such a broad area I picked guys that are not weak, but not top in their field either. (I think one of the guys has won 3 out of 7 of his competitions, and one has only one 2 out of 6)

I consider a slight, non-aggressive man with no fighting experience below average or at least lower average.
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  #17  
Old 01-23-2003, 12:25 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Epimetheus
[B]In what situation? Do you think a person that fights amateur boxing could hold his own in a fistfight? [/.QUOTE]
Epimetheus, I think you rally did miss my point. I'm not literally saying a Navy SEAL could always beat up an average joe; as you point out, a soldier without his buddies isn't the same thing. That doesn't have anything to do with anything.

My point, and the point to my metaphor, was that trying to decide who's better between SEALs, SAS, JTF2, Spetznaz, or what have you is a case of argument by insignificant distinction. There's simply not any difference between them that matters in the grand scheme of things.

Now, if you were to compare Navy SEALS to the combat capabilities to, say, infrantry reservists, that's a valid distinction. Reserve infantry do not have the same capabilities as Navy SEALS; they're less quaified, lack many of the skills SEALs have, and aren't as experience, and those differences are very significant.
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  #18  
Old 01-23-2003, 12:49 PM
plnnr plnnr is offline
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A relative of mine is in the clandestine services at the CIA (we think, the subject of "what do you do?" doesnt' come up much), and he does not give the impression of being particularly fearsome. He's of average size, and, on the few times that I've seen him do anything physical, he hasn't impressed me too much (he has a wicked serve to my backhand, however). All that being said, he's also the smartest person I've ever met in my life, and what's more important, he can be incredibly charming. I've seen him talk to complete strangers at parties and within 5 minutes they're opening up to him like they've known him all his life. His success in meeting and romancing gorgeous women is awe inspiring.
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  #19  
Old 01-23-2003, 12:57 PM
Jayrot Jayrot is offline
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Choose 1 CIA operative and 1 SEAL at random. Send them both an email telling them to kill the other. They can't recruit their buddies, but they can use any resources at their disposal. Who wins?

I'd go with the CIA agent with his skills of non-detection and possibly disguise. Of course if you stick em both in a ring, it won't be much of a competition, but this isn't exactly what I imagined the OP was asking. After all, he/she did mention the cloak and dagger aspect. Possibly analogous to a Ninja vs. a Karate expert.

Whaddya think?
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  #20  
Old 01-23-2003, 01:28 PM
NotBob13 NotBob13 is offline
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In the e-mail scenerio quoted above, I'd bet on the CIA-op. Seals are trained to fight, the CIA is trained to know things. Things like how do I assanate someone, how do I pin it on a loner in Texas, etc.
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  #21  
Old 01-23-2003, 01:45 PM
Epimetheus Epimetheus is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by RickJay
My point, and the point to my metaphor, was that trying to decide who's better between SEALs, SAS, JTF2, Spetznaz, or what have you is a case of argument by insignificant distinction. There's simply not any difference between them that matters in the grand scheme of things.

Now, if you were to compare Navy SEALS to the combat capabilities to, say, infrantry reservists, that's a valid distinction. Reserve infantry do not have the same capabilities as Navy SEALS; they're less quaified, lack many of the skills SEALs have, and aren't as experience, and those differences are very significant. [/B]
There is no such thing as "grand scheme of things" and if there was, how good any group was wouldn't matter anyhow. However, the point of the OP was which was more formidable. As in difficult to surmount, defeat, etc.
I took your metaphor to be in concordance to the OP's question. You could compare SAS and SEALS teams, the SAS would probably defeat the SEALS. The SAS has outpreformed SEALS in similar missions before IIRC, and unless SEALS training and abilities has changed, probably do as well today.
The spirit of the OP's post wasn't about a SEAL vs the common guy, but SEALS vs what he thought was an elite force member. (CIA). It is obvious a reservist doesn't have what it takes, and it wasn't part of the OP.

My point (Re your metaphor) was that you cannot compare individuals to suggest the skills of a team. Piting Jordan VS Johnson is well and dandy if you are looking to see how good each of them are. Piting Jordan VS Johnson is pointless if you are trying to decide what team is better skilled as in Spartans VS Bulls (they still play for these teams right?).

Like I said though- the spirt of the OP was which was better "what he mistakened for a CIA op, think James Bond", or a SEAL. Not which is better and has more a discernable difference in the real world- Fat lazy army reservist or a Fit, leathal killing machine SEAL.
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  #22  
Old 01-23-2003, 02:00 PM
catdog catdog is offline
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Future Marine Officer and OCS graduate here...

Special Forces are exactly what the name implies. A force with heavy training to do a specialized task. Give them something else to do and they'll be like fish out of water: SEAL's in Panama when they were taking that airfield, forget the name.

An infantry squad of well trained Marines vs. a Squad of well trained SEAL's where neither force has surprise and equal tactical advantages?

Would be fun to watch, that's for sure.

Oh, and I'm not in awe, they're just very good at what they are trained to do: small level attacks where stealth and manuverability are essential.

Marines are good at what we are trained to do: kick the door down, win the first few battles and then let the army mop up the rest and win the war. (or what it's supposed to be)

army... yeaaaaaaaaaaah.
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  #23  
Old 01-23-2003, 02:03 PM
Jayrot Jayrot is offline
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Epimetheus, what about my scenario? I'm not so sure the OP was necessarily thinking about James Bond. Do you deny that in some situations, the CIA op has a clear advantage? I like NotBob13's comment.
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  #24  
Old 01-23-2003, 02:05 PM
trustno1 trustno1 is offline
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The SEAL is a better killer once the target is found--but you need the CIA operative to find the target.
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  #25  
Old 01-23-2003, 02:15 PM
Tapioca Dextrin Tapioca Dextrin is online now
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jayrot
Choose 1 CIA operative and 1 SEAL at random. Send them both an email telling them to kill the other. Who wins?
Whaddya think?
I think you won't be having many more restful nights sleep
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  #26  
Old 01-23-2003, 02:29 PM
Epimetheus Epimetheus is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jayrot
Epimetheus, what about my scenario? I'm not so sure the OP was necessarily thinking about James Bond. Do you deny that in some situations, the CIA op has a clear advantage? I like NotBob13's comment.
Oh definately. It is all situational. I agree with catdog.
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  #27  
Old 01-23-2003, 04:17 PM
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plnnr accurately describes a successful CIA operative: ..."he's also the smartest person I've ever met in my life, and what's more important, he can be incredibly charming. I've seen him talk to complete strangers at parties and within 5 minutes they're opening up to him like they've known him all his life. His success in meeting and romancing gorgeous women is awe inspiring." This is what the CIA does in the field, it gets people to do things they wouldn't otherwise do. It's certainly not just collecting information. The ability of CIA people to talk themselves out of dicey situations in legendary. Hence, in Jayrot's scenario ("Choose 1 CIA operative and 1 SEAL at random. Send them both an email telling them to kill the other. Who wins?") I'd put my money on the CIA guy. He'd recruit the Seal to work for him.
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  #28  
Old 01-23-2003, 04:31 PM
li'l Dickie Dirtz li'l Dickie Dirtz is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Enola Straight
On the field of battle, NOTHING is better than a SEAL...even Marines are in awe of them.
Quote:
Originally posted by Epimethius
Not really- SEALS are bad ass, don't get me wrong, but Ranger, Recon and SAS members trains just as heavily and are just as much as bad asses.
My brother-in-law's brother-in-law was in Delta Force. He told me directly that Navy SEALS wash out of the training for Delta at a higher rate than any other particular serviceman -- Ranger, Green Beret, etc. Make of that what you will.
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  #29  
Old 01-23-2003, 04:47 PM
Nametag Nametag is offline
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Why the hell would a Navy SEAL be in Army training? D'ja ask your BIL that?
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  #30  
Old 01-23-2003, 05:58 PM
Phoenix Dragon Phoenix Dragon is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nametag
Why the hell would a Navy SEAL be in Army training? D'ja ask your BIL that?
1st SFOD-DELTA recruits from all branches of the millitary (Including the Coast Guard, IIRC).
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  #31  
Old 01-23-2003, 06:10 PM
culture culture is offline
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Yes, let us pose yet another example:

1 Platoon of Abrams equiped 1st Armoured Division vs. 1 Platoon of SAS/Seals/Recon (your choice), on the open plains of Kansas.

You would be able to put the SEALs though a colander after it was over. To know who is "best" you have to posit the exact situation (equipment, location, knowledge, mission, etc). There are armoured guys as well trained at what they do as there are SEALs trained at what they do. Don't kid yourself otherwise.
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  #32  
Old 01-23-2003, 06:27 PM
MC Master of Ceremonies MC Master of Ceremonies is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by li'l Dickie Dirtz
My brother-in-law's brother-in-law was in Delta Force. He told me directly that Navy SEALS wash out of the training for Delta at a higher rate than any other particular serviceman -- Ranger, Green Beret, etc. Make of that what you will.
Delta Force is the US's most equivalent unit to the SAS, it was set up in the 70's (?) by an officer who had been a member of the SAS with the direct purpose of making an American equivalent.
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  #33  
Old 01-23-2003, 06:35 PM
Alessan Alessan is online now
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[hijack]

Quote:
Originally posted by MC Master of Cermonies
The Navy seals aren't really recognized the most elite fighting force in the world, this title usually belongs to the British SAS, the elite force in the French foreign legion or one of the Israeli elite forces (I forget which one).
Probably Sayeret Matkal (General Staff Recon), although the IDF also has its SEAL equivalent, Flotilla 13 of the Israeli Navy. From what I uinderstand, Matkal does "prestige" missions, often preparing several months in advance for every op, while Sh13 does quicker, simpler missions - including rapid-response stuff - at a much higher frequency, often several missions a week. Recently, they've picked up a reputation as the hardest working unit in the IDF.
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  #34  
Old 01-23-2003, 06:38 PM
UncleBill UncleBill is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by culture
1 Platoon of Abrams equiped 1st Armoured Division vs. 1 Platoon of SAS/Seals/Recon (your choice), on the open plains of Kansas.
SEALs and such know how to hide. Tanks don't hide so well. That would be a fun one to watch.
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  #35  
Old 01-23-2003, 07:32 PM
Princhester Princhester is offline
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Actually, the one that wins is the one played by the biggest male lead. So if Harrison Ford is playing the CIA guy, and say Sean Bean is playing the SEAL, the CIA guy will come up trumps in the final battle, and he will get the girl.

If the two male leads have equal billing (say Harrison Ford playing the CIA guy and ummm, Russell Crowe playing the SEAL) then they will be in conflict until final battle, in which each will use their respective talents to save the other, before they limp off supporting one another in a trio with the girl in between.

Is everything clear now?
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  #36  
Old 01-23-2003, 07:47 PM
tsunamisurfer tsunamisurfer is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jayrot
Choose 1 CIA operative and 1 SEAL at random. Send them both an email telling them to kill the other. They can't recruit their buddies, but they can use any resources at their disposal. Who wins?

I'd go with the CIA agent with his skills of non-detection and possibly disguise. Of course if you stick em both in a ring, it won't be much of a competition, but this isn't exactly what I imagined the OP was asking. After all, he/she did mention the cloak and dagger aspect. Possibly analogous to a Ninja vs. a Karate expert.

Whaddya think?
I think the Bullshit Quotient of this thread is off the charts.

The question is poorly phrased, the parameters are ill-defined, the responses lack cites and rely on samples of one, and thus they conclusions hold no water.
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  #37  
Old 01-23-2003, 08:17 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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All of the special forces troops are close enough in overall ability that the difference will come down to unit leadership and individual competence, and how well that particular battle fits the skill set of the soldiers.

Canada, for example, has an elite force that almost no one knows about (JTF-2), but they are supremely kick-ass.

And of course, you can be as tough as you want, and it won't help you if a Canadian sniper shoots you from 2 miles away. Canada has maybe the best snipers in the world.

And 'CIA Operative' is an almost meaningless phrase. What kind of operative? A 'CIA Operative' could be a guy with thick glasses reading foreign newspapers. Or a 55 year old diplomat collecting intelligence on the side. Or a political operative working with Green Berets to win the hearts and minds of the enemy.
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  #38  
Old 01-23-2003, 08:33 PM
Bippy the Beardless Bippy the Beardless is offline
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[Hijack] I have seen on TV, and even met a few SAS members. What supprised me was that they were of fairly normal physique. These people were able to pass off as normal citizens in undercover operations without looking in any way dangerous.
Do the seals have similar characteristics, or are they more Ramboesque.

As to the OP, comparing SEALS to CIA agents is like comparing Star Destroyers to the Enterprise. (no one here really knows what either is capable of, or if they did wouldn't be able to say due to security restrictions).

Cheers, Keithy
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  #39  
Old 01-23-2003, 08:55 PM
Triskadecamus Triskadecamus is offline
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Things which were done by a unit five years ago are history. Special Ops is a darwinian sort of thing. The best survive, unless intelligence sends them in with bad information. They all of them die, good or bad. The best ones don't stay the best for long. They do become instructors.

If you hear about it, it was a failure, and a bunch of good guys died. The successful special op is just a mystery to whoever it was that thought they had whatever they used to have. Now they don't have it. And your country gets to express its sorrow over the bad news.

CIA ops (And there are fewer of them than people think) are different. If the bad guys find out what happened, it's a failure. You don't want them to know what it is they don't have anymore until they get ready to use it. Killing a bunch of people is not going to slip by them. Killing one guy, maybe. But you don't get into a fight with him. You poison him with ricin in a pellet you stick into him with an umbrella, as you walk by. A guy who can do that can take out a Navy Seal, or an SAS commando. You don't fight fair.

Assassinating someone doesn't take a great deal of skill, unless you have a really bad operations department. You plan it, so that it's easy, and reliable. Killing a guy who is armed, and looking for you is a different thing entirely. A spook is not going to get into a stand up fight. He lost back when you found out he was coming. He went home, and told them the op was compromised. They changed the plan. Now they are framing you for the murder of the guy he did have to kill, when he was escaping.

So, the CIA guy probably can't take on the Seal guy in a fight. But he probably knows ten or twelve other guys who are willing to take out the seal guy when they have an easy shot, and also willing to sit around a week or so waiting for that shot. The spook just hides, and he is real good at that.

Tris
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  #40  
Old 01-24-2003, 10:20 AM
Alessan Alessan is online now
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Quote:
Originally posted by keithmac
[Hijack] I have seen on TV, and even met a few SAS members. What supprised me was that they were of fairly normal physique. These people were able to pass off as normal citizens in undercover operations without looking in any way dangerous.
Do the seals have similar characteristics, or are they more Ramboesque.
Admiral Ami Ayalon, former Flotilla 13 commander, IDF Navy chief of staff, head of the Shin Bet and 5'8" in army boots once said that "short guys make better commandos because their brains are closer to their balls."

Thery're also smaller targets.
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  #41  
Old 01-24-2003, 01:30 PM
catdog catdog is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by culture
Yes, let us pose yet another example:

1 Platoon of Abrams equiped 1st Armoured Division vs. 1 Platoon of SAS/Seals/Recon (your choice), on the open plains of Kansas.
Yeah, and give those SEALS a few Javelin anti-tank weapons... It'll be all over.

That again, would be fun to watch.

And as I said earlier, you choose the unit for the task.

Would I send a platoon of SEAL's to take out a platoon of M1A2 Abrams? Heck no! Would I send a few Air Force A-10's, Army Apaches or Marine Cobras against the armor? Heck yeah!

Would I send A-10's or Apache's on a Combat Air Patrol against potential threats from MiG 29's or other fighters? Heck no!

Although units are extremely versatile, you must be mission specific in order to maximize their utility. You could use SEAL's as infantry, but why?
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  #42  
Old 01-24-2003, 02:14 PM
mazzer mazzer is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2000
Ninjas have the REAL Ultimate Power. They are cool; and by cool, I mean totally sweet.

Facts:
1. Ninjas are mammals.
2. Ninjas fight ALL the time.
3. The purpose of the ninja is to flip out and kill people.
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  #43  
Old 01-24-2003, 02:28 PM
tsunamisurfer tsunamisurfer is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Quote:
Originally posted by Sam Stone
Canada, for example, has an elite force that almost no one knows about (JTF-2), but they are supremely kick-ass.

And of course, you can be as tough as you want, and it won't help you if a Canadian sniper shoots you from 2 miles away. Canada has maybe the best snipers in the world.

"Smelling salts! Is there a doctor in the house with smelling salts?"

Reuters News Service
Iraq, Saddam's palace --


General: "Sir, I have grave news. The Infidels are at our perimeter!"

Saddam: "We will smash the imperialist marching spiders and drive them into the sea!"

General: "But, sir, you don't understand. They're wearing maple leaves on their uniforms! Big red maple leaves!"

Saddam: "For the love of God, not the Canadian special forces! Surrender! Surrender! Don't you know they have maybe the best snipers in the world?"

------------------------------------
Sorry, Sam, couldn't resist.
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  #44  
Old 01-24-2003, 02:47 PM
Coda Coda is offline
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Formidable:
1 : causing fear, dread, or apprehension <a formidable prospect>
2 : having qualities that discourage approach or attack
3 : tending to inspire awe or wonder

I guess I should have been more specific. But for those who say the OP was il-worded let me clarify.

Who would be more efficacious against enemy combatants?

A group of hightly trained Navy Seals?

Or a CIA operative? By operative I mean someone who is trained to infiltrate, gather data, and deal with extreme situations quickly, i.e. being discovered inside an Iraqi Presidential Palace what do you do?
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  #45  
Old 01-24-2003, 03:17 PM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is online now
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Posts: 23,500
The SEALs...no question. The CIA is an intelligence agency, not a combat one, and while its operations officers have training in small arms fire and hand to hand combat, it isn't really combat training. SEALs are trained to kill people and blow things up, CIA officers are trained to gather and analyze information. Big difference.

OTOH, if you were to sit a CIA officer and a SEAL down, give them satelite photographs of a terrorist camp, and say "Tell me what this base is used for and aproximately how many people are using it", the CIA officer will have an edge.
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  #46  
Old 01-24-2003, 03:32 PM
smiling bandit smiling bandit is offline
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This is like taking one apple, one orange, and then asking people which one tastes more like an avacado. Fact is, neither of these groups operate like the OP is thinking.

1) Special Forces are not supermen. They are smart soldiers. The difference? SF troops plan their assault, lead surgical strikes, and generally cause mayhem as fast and cleanly as possible.

2) CIA... well, which CIA? There are satelite watchers (checking satelite imagery), agent handlers, and many other small, unglamorous jobs. The best CIA operatives often have no training in combat - they are defectors from the enemy, and will quietly sift trhough information and send choice bits to us.
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  #47  
Old 01-24-2003, 05:13 PM
JoltSucker JoltSucker is offline
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Back in the early 90s I worked for an ex-Seal. Even though his hair was gray and his skin wrinkled, he would show off his agility by leaping on to his desk from a seated position. He had this aura of calm scariness, sort of like you knew that if you pissed him off one moment, you'd be dead the next. He was the only armed service member who was credited with a "tooth kill" in Vietnam. When he got into hand-to-hand with a VC, and both hands were occupied, he bit the other guy in the jugular...
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  #48  
Old 01-24-2003, 05:36 PM
Joe_Cool Joe_Cool is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Epimetheus
Maybe. The measure of the skills of the SAS vs the SEALS is not on a 1 on 1 basis though. Rather on how well they work as a team, and their past history. Like a resume. That can be compared. Comparing groups to individuals like Jordan VS Johnson is not quite a fair analogy. How about comparing say, the Chiefs with the Raiders.
I agree. I'm sure lots of people can take a SEAL or Recon or SAS soldier one on one. The trick is that no 3 regular people would have a chance against 3 SEALs. No 10 regular people would have a chance against 5 SEALs. (assuming they're prepared for the conflict, of course)
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  #49  
Old 01-24-2003, 05:52 PM
Mephisto Mephisto is offline
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What is formidable? Really, there are so many individuals with so many varied strengths and weaknesses that I don't think the question can be answered. To me the comparison of various elite (or non-elite, even) forces is like comparing universities. Which is better, Harvard or Yale? You could probably come up with some kind of criteria, do comparisons, and come up with an answer for a few specific things, but I don't know if you would ever really know which was the "best."

I don't have cite sites handy, but I know basic descriptions for the training of both SEALs and CIA officers of various kinds is online and is available in many books that are said to be accurate by people who should know.

It should be noted that the CIA does field paramilitary teams that sometimes resemble military special operations units. You don't hear about them much. The most recent use of them that I know about is in Afghanistan. Some mention of these teams is made in a book I read for school, Bob Woodward's recent Bush At War. Not a terribly bad book, but not worth the hardback price, IMHO. Coda may be interested to know that at least one of the teams has utilized people with a SEAL background.

Personally, it is the Star Fleet officer that impresses me that most. Worf could kick Rambo's ass on a star ship and in the backwoods of Kentucky. Picard, of course, could take on both Rambo and Worf.

For the record, I received some training from a very impressive indivual from the CIA. Few people on Earth can weild a knife like my old friend.

And now I shall duck and run.
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  #50  
Old 01-24-2003, 06:28 PM
astro astro is offline
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While the Seals are formidable the super elite, very hush hush Army Penguins are generally regarded as the most deadly fighting force known to man in the modern world. Recruited not only for their superlative physical conditioning and fighting skills these shadow warriors ....urrrrkkk...
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