Oh heck, we just don't know who to kill
As Baghdad awaits Barack Obama's decision on air strikes against the jihadist army conquering much of Iraq, the senior US military officer suggested that the US still lacks sufficient intelligence to take action.
The good news is that the government can instantly locate every one of your postings to that medical marijuana message board for the last couple of years. So there's that.
Army general Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, told a Senate panel on Wednesday that "until we can clarify this intelligence picture" the US would have difficulty knowing who it would be attacking from the air, indicating military as well as political reluctance to any return to the skies above Iraq.
"It's not as easy as looking at an iPhone video of a convoy and then striking it," Dempsey told a Senate appropriations subcommittee as he and defense secretary Chuck Hagel focused far more on the limits of what the US can accomplish in Iraq than the possibilities. Both sounded far less urgent than Iraqi leaders.
Dempsey, who once commanded the training of the Iraqi military and police, cited the case of an Iraqi army facility in Mosul falling first to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) and then to the Kurdish peshmerga quasi-army within a 36-hour timeframe, raising doubts about the ability of the US air force or navy aviators to sufficiently know who they would be striking by the time of their arrival.
This does raise another question, but I'm not sure it really matters to any of those who call for military involvement at the drop of a hat: does it really matter who we hit with our aerial bombardment and drone strikes? It doesn't seem to have mattered much in the past ...
And anyway, I think it's mostly supposed to be a mechanism for us to show how shockingly awesome we are --- you know, to "send a message" (our most important weapon -- at least according to all of our national security and foreign policy wonks.) Nothing says, "don't fuck with us" like indiscriminate killing, amirite?
It seems to me, this is a perfect situation to make some really acidic lemonade out of sour lemons. The sooner we can show the world, once again, that we have a military machine like no other, we can go back to doing what we really do best --- ineffectually searching for a needle in a haystack by spying on innocent people.