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Red hot briefings

I’ve written earlier about the new mission for US Special Ops forces, so since Rumsfeld held a briefing yesterday regarding the U.S. Special Operations Command, I figure hey, may as well talk about it some more.

Let’s see. They’re increasing the budget, which strikes me as a rational step, particularly given these criticisms.

He’s giving Special Operations Command a supported command role, which means “the Special Operations Command will have the tools it will need to plan and execute missions in support of the global war on terror.” The Washington Times claims that this implies authority to plan their own assassinations, but that’s kind of unclear to me; if it’s true, then any command in a supported command role had that authority previously. Mind you, I’m still of the opinion that even Bush shouldn’t be authorizing assassinations as an instrument of US policy, but that’s me.

Rumsfeld blithely dodges the question, “is America’s military now capable, if asked, to go to Baghdad and win decisively?” Tsk. Instead, he says “we will recruit, organize, train, equip and exercise so that we will be capable, as a country, of, in two conflicts, near-simultaneously but not completely simultaneous, be capable of winning decisively; that is to say, occupying a country if necessary, and in another case, swiftly defeating and preventing an attack on an ally or friend.” That’s really interesting. Again: “not completely simultaneous.” Also, not two occupations. Next time someone says we can prevent a North Korean invasion at the same time as we invade Iraq, you can tell ‘em Rumsfeld says they’re wrong.

Also: “General Myers and his team […] have come to a conclusion that in fact we are better able to meet our current strategy than we were two years ago capable of meeting our prior strategy.” Which, I dunno, maybe a slip of the tongue? But he’s not saying we can do it, he’s just saying we’re closer to being able to do it. Note that this in itself is praiseworthy; progress towards a goal counts in the plus column. Just let’s be clear about the difference between progress and accomplishment.

He also mentions the tabletop strategies, which may or may not be discredited. It’s OK to go back and try again in a war game, but it’s a bad idea to artificially limit what the opposition can do.

Moving on, Rumsfeld discusses South Korean anti-US demonstrations: “And if you get demonstrators, a handful of demonstrators — I don’t know, what is it? — 10, 100, 1,000 — whatever the number may be at any given time, is that a good reflection of what the view of the country is? I don’t think it is, myself.” Tens of thousands, actually.

Fun times. It’s worth keeping an eye on the briefings; they post ‘em over at the DoD Web site. Get your news unfiltered. For god’s sake, don’t take my word for it — there’s a world of original sources out there.

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