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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Sep 9, 2013 12:44 AM Flag

    Delay for Syria Debate Lets Pentagon Spot Missile Targets

    Delay for Syria Debate Lets Pentagon Spot Missile Targets

    By Tony Capaccio & Gopal Ratnam - Sep 5, 2013 10:47 PM MT

    A delay to let Congress debate authorization for U.S. military strikes sets up a cat-and-mouse game in Syria, giving Bashar al-Assad time to seek hiding places for troops and equipment as the Pentagon steps up surveillance to find targets for Tomahawk cruise missiles.

    The Syrian president’s regime is already “moving resources around” and placing prisoners or other civilians in places it thinks the U.S. may attack, Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told lawmakers at a U.S. House hearing on Sept. 4.

    The delay, though, isn’t just to Assad’s advantage, Dempsey said.

    “Time works both ways,” he told a Sept. 3 Senate hearing. “We have some pretty significant intelligence capabilities and we continue to refine our targets.”

    President Barack Obama announced Aug. 31 that he would ask Congress to support his decision to launch a military strike, “limited in duration and scope,” in response to an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus. At the time, Obama said Dempsey told him “that our capacity to execute this mission is not time-sensitive -- it will be effective tomorrow, or next week, or one month from now.”

    The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, controlled by Democrats, approved a resolution Sept. 4 authorizing military action. More congressional hearings are scheduled for next week. Leaders in the Senate and House haven’t set a schedule for voting on Obama’s authorization request.

    ‘Plausible’ Plan

    Karl Mueller, an air-power analyst with the Rand Corp., a U.S. sponsored research organization, said Dempsey’s correct to suggest that, by shifting men and materiel, Assad may expose them to U.S. surveillance.

    “Moving things around in the process of hiding them can make them more visible” to intelligence agencies, Mueller said in an e-mail. “So the idea that delay helps us make an attack t

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