Mitchell Reports | December 10, 2012
>>> call or click today.
>>> a rescue operation saved -- today the defense department identified the seal as 28-year-old nicolas check, a highly decorated combat veteran. he was killed while rescuing dr. joseph, an american doctor doing relief work who was kidnapped by the taliban last week. general barry mccaffrey , military analyst, joins me now from new york. thank you very much, general mccaffrey. the tragedy for this navy s.e.a.l., let's talk about the rescue operations. the president apparently made this decision because they had information that indicated that the doctor was at risk of being killed by the taliban.
>> yeah. well, it's a comment on our incredibly sophisticated intelligence keepability, among other things. they're able to read these situations to quickly and locate the kidnappers and then get a plan of action and, of course, those navy s.e.a.l.s and army's delta force and the army specialized aviation helicopters and air force are an incredible tool, andrea. a lot of these special ops guys, including these navy s.e.a.l.s, many of them are on ten or 12 or 15 combat deployments since the start of this war. they're incredibly experienced, courageous, and competent.
>> terrible tragedy for the loss of the s.e.a.l. and his family. i want to talk about syria because the president has issued a red line last week against any use of chemical weapons , but according to our roshgt from richard engel and others, the rebels in the field are not taking it very seriously, because they don't think that there is really a military option. what would be the military option if there were any use of chemical weapons by the assad regime?
>> well, you know, it's not a situation -- i've been an expert on chemical warfare for 25 years. they don't work very well at all against well trained, well equipped military forces , such as our own. having said that, if these weapons were used against syrian civilian populations to include the rebels, it could be devastating. the vx nerve agent are enormously lethal and almost impossible to deal with it if you don't have the technology both protective gear as well as anecdotes if you are exposed. you know, i think assad is about to go down catastrophically here in the coming year. he has -- the army is going to turn on him. it will be tempting for him -- he has already murdered 40,000 people -- to use these chemical weapons during the final days.
>> is there anything that the united states can do to carry out the president's threat to -- that there will be consequences against assad and his regime if he were to do this is this.
>> i think the threat of u.s. airpower is enormous. when we put the u.s. naval air carrier to the syrian armed forces and the u.s. air force , it would be their end within 90 days , so i think there's a huge deterrent capacity from the president's announcement. if he uses chemicals, we could go after his delivery system. if we could go after the -- i heard a discussion, you couldn't really bomb them because you would set them off. that's what we do. we go after them with very hot munition to try and destroy them before they were used. do we really know where they are, have they moved them, consealed them? it's a tough target.
>> one more question. al misra, this group that is alive with al qaeda in iraq , the u.s. is set to designate that as a terror organization, but among the rebel leaders, they, like al misra because they are openly the al qaeda leaders are openly recruiting there among the rebels. how does this complicate hillary clinton 's task this week going to mare concern and preparing to designate a rebel group as the new interim operational leaders.
>> well, tough to sort through. i mean, secretary clinton is just a magnificent diplomat and will put a face on our policy that seems acceptable to our own principles. having said that, i have always thought we don't pick winners and losers very effectively in a situation like this. we should be supporting the insurgency and then sort out the next set of terrible problems that will eminate when assad goes down.
>> barry mccaffrey , thanks so much. general, always good to see