Thursday, February 9, 2012

Banks on "Shadow Wars"

William C. Banks, Syracuse University, has a short essay in the Journal of National Security Law and Policy on "Shadow Wars."  "In the post-9/11 environment," he writes,
the United States confronted the Taliban, al Qaeda, and associated terrorist and insurgent groups, where the conventional military force that quickly forced Iraq’s retreat from Kuwait and subdued the Milosevic regime in Kosovo in the 1990s was far less effective. Paramilitary campaigns waged by the CIA and contractors became an integral part of the counterterrorism response to these new enemies, and our military greatly expanded its own capabilities to collect intelligence and carry out clandestine operations. Over time, first in the Bush administration and now in an expanded and more aggressive strategy by the Obama administration, the United States has been conducting what The New York Times described as a “shadow war against Al Qaeda and its allies”:
In roughly a dozen countries – from the deserts of North Africa, to the mountains of Pakistan, to former Soviet republics crippled by ethnic and religious strife – the United States has significantly increased military and intelligence operations, pursuing the enemy using robotic drones and commando teams, paying contractors to spy and training local operatives to chase terrorists.
The essay introduces a special issue of the Journal (currently on the website's first page), guest edited by constitutional war powers scholar Louis Fisher.  Banks' compelling essay concludes by arguing that these covert actions "reach almost every corner of the globe," and call for scholarly attention.

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