SASFOR – October 21, 2011 —
I don’t know really how these duties are allocated between the CIA and the USAF. Presumably operations in the agreed-upon theater of war are conducted by the USAF. And operations elsewhere are conducted by the Agency. This division of labor insulates the military and provides (oft-implausible) deniability for the U.S.G. So I’m with you Chris, if the U.S. is going to argue that Yemen is at least at times in the theater of war – and people in Yemen people subject to the perils of war – then the military should conduct any operations conducted there on behalf of the people of the United States. But we are still divided on whether places and people outside Iraq, Afghanistan and border regions are legitimate military targets. To the extent we don’t really believe our rationale, we are stuck with clandestine operations.