The American Interest
Policy, Politics & Culture
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History Lessons US Entering New Era of Dirty Wars?

Americans don’t always like to acknowledge it, but the U.S. has a long history of fighting so-called dirty wars. Perhaps rather than insisting we should never get involved in these conflicts, we should learn how to do so as cleanly and efficiently as possible.

Published on August 22, 2014
Back in May in a brief Rose Garden address, President Obama announced his plan for ending the war in Afghanistan. The effort involves cutting the present troop level of 32,000 down to a residual force of just under 10,000 American soldiers by the end of this year. That reduced number would be halved at the end of 2015 to around 5,000 troops, and trimmed 12 months later to a tiny, almost diplomatic military mission thereafter. As he told the American people, “We’re finishing the job we started” after the 9/11 attacks in what has turned out to be...