Shadow Warfare: The History of America’s Undeclared Wars

Larry Hancock, with Stuart Wexler. Counterpoint (PGW, dist.), $30 (592p) ISBN 978-1-61902-244-7
Hancock and Wexler (co-authors of The Awful Grace of God) present a comprehensive, well-researched, and up-to-date analysis of U.S. shadow warfare: the covert and clandestine operations that began with the Cold War and extend into the current War on Terror. Covert warfare’s objective is “to obtain results without visible American military involvement in the actual fighting.” Its legality has been disputed, but it has been authorized by “a succession of presidents over some seven decades.” The Communist conquest of China was countered by involvement with Nationalist exile forces in Burma; by two decades of covert operations in Tibet; and by a final throwdown in Indochina—all unsuccessful. Long-term covert warfare against Castro’s Cuba also proved a total failure, though in the Congo, American efforts were more successful. Yet throughout the 1970s, covert warfare increasingly came “under the legislative microscope,” and its “dark side” manifested in actions conducted through the 1980s against revolutionary movements in Latin America. Simultaneously, in Afghanistan, support for anti-Soviet insurgents midwifed a generation of Islamic terrorists. Fighting these new adversaries has produced a merging of the “covert and conventional,” emphasizing nation-building on one hand and individual targeting on the other, but, as the authors note, the success and prospects of both remain limited. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/20/2014
Release date: 03/01/2014
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-61902-357-4
Paperback - 608 pages - 978-1-61902-473-1
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