Here is Jennifer’s note:
A senior US military official intimately familiar with the planning that has gone into carrying out a strike on Syria tells me that the delay in a decision to strike has several effects:
1) This source says that the delay hurts Assad as much as it does Pentagon planners. The main cost to the Pentagon is literally money as US Navy assets burn through a lot of fuel as they steam around the Mediterranean and a US air force carrier group steams from the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea rather than returning home via the Pacific. This is not cheap. Every day that goes buy involves large costs. “Posturing is expensive,” a senior defense official told Fox.
2) From a targeting point of view, the conventional wisdom is that Assad has time to hide his military assets. However, moving those assets allows the Pentagon to see those assets. “If you move it, we see it,” this senior US defense official tells Fox. The US is watching carefully as Assad moves his assets. This exhausts the Assad regime forces as much as anything else.
3) Pentagon planners go back and readjust some targeting which takes a matter of hours, not days, BUT as every day goes by that they wait, the real toll on the US military is keeping its forces in a state of readiness, cocked and ready to go – if that drags on, people get tired, jaded, morale can be affected and mistakes can be made. Remember it was an inversion of coordinates that led to the Chinese Embassy being bombed mistakenly in Kosovo.
Finally, the Russian ship being deployed to the Mediterranean could be a problem from the point of view of “unintended consequences.” In some ways that is why the USS Nimitz – the aircraft carrier group is out there in the Red Sea – not because the President now wants to send planes over Syria (he doesn’t) but to tell any would be adversaries, “We are here. Don’t try to come to the aid of the Syrian regime.”
Also bottom line a strike against the regime could last up to 96 hours, I am told (though not likely). There are plans presented to that effect but more likely it will be over within 24 hours, I am told. “We don’t want to buy this one,” a senior Pentagon source told me.