Fox News is reporting today that two senior Defense officials told Fox News that President Obama has authorized the U.S. to fly surveillance drones over Syria. Why in the world is this being announced? Did former Presidents announce surveillance flights over other countries? We are not actually at war with Syria, so why in the world should we make this announcement? I am not opposed to the surveillance flights–we should have been doing them all along–I am opposed to the fact that the Obama Administration announced them.
The article reports:
Sources told Fox News that Obama approved surveillance missions in Syria for the first time over the weekend; they have since begun.
It remains to be seen whether the Syrian government will raise any objections to the move. On Monday, the Syrian regime demanded that the U.S. seek permission before launching any airstrikes on its territory against Islamic State targets, but did not discuss its position on surveillance drones.
The internal discussion over whether to expand the U.S. mission into Syria comes after the U.S. military earlier this month began launching a volley of strikes against Islamic State targets in northern Iraq. Top Pentagon officials have said that the only way the threat from the militants can be fully eliminated is to go after the group inside neighboring Syria as well.
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Tuesday that the U.S. wants more clarity on the militants in Syria, but declined to comment on the surveillance flights.
“Clearly the picture we have of ISIS on the Iraqi side is a more refined picture,” said Dempsey, using one of the acronyms for the Islamic State group. “The existence and activities of ISIS on the Syrian side, we have … some insights into that but we certainly want to have more insights into that as we craft a way forward.”
The action is considered the first “intrusive” surveillance by the U.S. in Syria since the country’s civil war began. This differs from protective surveillance, such as the U.S. used in the failed mission to rescue American hostages held in Syria.
I don’t have a problem with destroying ISIS, but I think we need to take a very close look at who we are supporting when we oppose ISIS. In opposing ISIS, we are supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. We also need to remember that Iran also opposes ISIS. ISIS is a horrible group of people, but do we really want to align ourselves with Bashar al-Assad and Iran? I am not sure there are any good guys in this. We need to help the Kurds defend themselves, but I am not sure we need to do anything else.