Shooting yourself in the foot.

I read a non-public US intelligence estimate last night which hinted that a US JSTARS watched the Israeli attack in which the il-20 was shot down and it was very clear that Israel used the il-20 as cover both as they were inbound and after they had launched their weapons and were turning to leave. Israel planned the mission that way and succeeded because they recognized that the Russians were not capable of thinking through all of the possible scenarios and planning for them … and repeated routines which allowed strike planners to beat them, at least once – which, in a critical or strategic scenario, is all it takes.

Neither Russian nor Syrian defenders are capable of adapting to unexpected challenges. This is a huge intelligence coup for the west because it demonstrates that Russian military tactics are relatively inflexible and that Russia can be beaten by thinking out of the box by doing something which causes the opposing commander to have a brief moment of indecision.

Creating that moment of indecision causes people to either freeze and do nothing, or to panic and make the wrong decision. It is the goal of both sides in warfare (or in business) and boils down to what is called the ‘OODA loop’ which basically codifies getting inside your opponent’s head and thinking ahead of him; exactly the way chess is played.

The best weapons in the world can’t overcome a tactician who can get you to shoot yourself in the foot.