The Costs of Covert Warfare

McCoy, Alfred W.
September 2003
New England Journal of Public Policy;Fall/Winter2003, Vol. 19 Issue 1, p223
Academic Journal
Over the last fifty years the United States has fought four covert wars by using a unique combination of special operations and airpower as a substitute for regular ground troops. Such covert wars are removed from Congressional oversight and conventional diplomacy. Their battlegrounds become the loci of political instability. In highland Asia, while these covert wars are being fought, CIA protection transforms tribal warlords into powerful drug lords linked to international markets. Arguably, every nation needs an intelligence service to warn of future dangers. But should this nation have the right, under U.S. or international law, to conduct its foreign policy through such clandestine operations?


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