Obama orders clandestine support of Syrian rebels

NBC News just reported that the President Obama has signed an order allowing military support (unmanned, I think) for the rebels in Syria.

It’s the right thing to do. Good for him.

Not very clandestine now, is it?

This administration has awful, awful problems with leaks and/or publicizing information that should be completely unknown. From confirming that Stuxnet was American to this, they really need to get their shit together. Yes, opposing the Syrian regime may (possibly) be good for the regional in general, especially if it stops Iran from funneling weaponry to Hezbollah quite as easily. But letting the world know we’re doing it?

Fucking stupid.

Meh. How long could they keep non-stealthy drones a secret anyway?

Notice I didn’t say, “Good for NBC News.”

The world will (and did) find out anyway. Trying to hide something like this just makes us look dishonest and incompetent when we are found out.

Also, there are reporters in Syria now. You think the undisciplined rebels are going to keep quiet about the US weapon drops? They’re gonna be thanking every American reporter in the area.

I think he was complaining about the administration, rather than NBC.

I’d rather see it done openly.

Yes, and I’ll have to look up the specific article as I haven’t seen a link, but there are even those on the left side of the aisle who’ve noted that Obama’s administration is quickly developing very, very bad habits when it comes to covert action. For instance, Israel has long borne the brunt of Iran’s ire over Stuxnet, to the tune of assassination attempts against ambassadors and, most likely, the recent attack on Israeli tourists on the 18th anniversary of the Argentinian Jewish community center bombing. When dealing with regimes which have a direct connection to forces like Hezbollah, it is bizarrely unwise to call them out and invite military retaliation if we’re not fully committed to rubbling their military infrastructure in the event of actions taken against us.

No, not necessarily. And even if they would find out eventually, doing it immediately simply adds fuel to fears about American influence in the region. Surely you of all people understand pathological, consuming hatred of the very idea of America? In any case, publicizing covert actions is an absurdity. Let the world suspect if required, now all that many groups will see is America trying to destabilize yet another “Muslim” regime. Besides, if we were going to take an active role in the conflict, arming the rebels is a mildly retarded way to go about it. Announce that all generals and ranking members of the political regime have 72 hours to lay down arms and institute a cease fire or we’ll begin assassinating them. That would be a far more useful, and less bloody solution than sticking weapons in the hands of any Tom, Dick and Harry who wants to take a pot shot at Syrian military targets.

We still don’t know a lot about the rebels, but it’s the right move. It is past time for Assad to go. And this news was going to get out anyway, so I don’t see the point in complaining about the leak.

The Arab League wants Assad gone. Al Jazeera has been broadcasting accounts of his atrocities for months, and decent people in every country know he’s a tyrant of the worst sort.

I think an open campaign to help topple his regime wins us many more friends than enemies.

Yes necessarily, given that they already have. And even if it wasn’t leaked now, there’s no way you can secretly arm something on the scale on one side in a civil war without people finding out.

Hardly; doing it secretly just adds to the (somewhat well founded) suspicion that everything the West does has some underlying nefarious motive.

Until we fail to successfully deliver on our threat, and kill a lot of random bystanders trying.

Who are the rebels? There are literally dozens of groups, some fighting each other. I hope we picked the good ones.

I agree with Finn…it’s pretty freaking stupid to have allowed this to leak. I’m not sure if direct US intervention is the right thing to do, to be honest. I definitely agree that Assad and his merry men need to go, but I find it ironic that some folks in this thread are so seemingly gung-ho for the US to be involving itself in this mess directly.

I suppose now that the cat is out of the bag we probably should go about this openly. Maybe it will work out (for us) as well as Libya did…

I’m pretty sure if we have that capacity we wouldn’t warn them about it.

We have the capacity to field armed stealth drones and have for some time now.
And the warning is essential. Carefully, surgically applied lethal force can be a very powerful bit of leverage.

How many people in the Arab world, do you think, wanted to see Sadam removed from power?

We’re not arming them.

Stealthier, not stealthy.

What makes you think we know where they are with that level of precision?

I guess the problems I see with this are:
If you tell them, they will hide and try to make it so you don’t know where they are any more.

If you miss and kill 500 civilians that’s bad for America, whereas giving aid to the rebels is seen as positive for America.

They didn’t want to see him replaced with a massively destructive American occupation, and Iraq left as a chaotic wreck.

I was responding to you: