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The Inevitable Consequences of Sending Special Forces on Missions in 120 Different Countries-- Endless Conflict Around the World and Blowback on U.S. Soil

The expansion of U.S. special forces to conduct covert warfare sacrifices long term interests in peace, stability and the rule of law for short-term political gain.

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Sixty thousand U.S. special operations forces now conduct assassinations, night-raids, training missions, joint operations and exercises in  120 countries around the world, twice as many as when Obama came to power, with deployments in about 70 countries at any given time.

In The Politics of Heroin, Alfred McCoy described how the CIA formed secret alliances with Nationalist Chinese generals in Burma and Thailand, Corsican gangsters in Marseilles, Afghan warlords, Haitian military officers, Manuel Noriega in Panama and Nicaraguan Contra commanders. In every case, the CIA's partners exploited their impunity as U.S. allies to become major players in the global drug trade. Now former Mexican special forces trained at Fort Bragg and Fort Benning run the Zetas drug cartel, and the  new police chief installed by a U.S. offensive in Kandahar province in Afghanistan in 2011 reportedly earns  $60 million a year from opium smuggling.

The current expansion of U.S. special forces to conduct covert and proxy warfare sacrifices U.S. long term interests in peace, stability and the rule of law for short-term political gain, just as when U.S. "advisers" were sent to Vietnam in the 1950s and to Central America and Afghanistan in the 1980s. But which of the 120 countries where U.S. special forces now operate will become the next Vietnam or Iran or Guatemala?

Could it be India, which holds  50 joint training exercises a year with U.S. forces, the most of any country in the world, as it battles separatists in Kashmir and Assam and a "people's war" by Naxalites or Maoists in 7 other provinces?

Or what about Uganda, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Djibouti or Kenya, where U.S. forces are training African Union "peacekeepers" to fight the Al-Shabab militia in Somalia? Or the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic or South Sudan, where U.S. special forces have been sent to track down Joseph Kony but are suspected of planning a covert war against Sudan?

The pervasiveness and perversity of America's military madness could produce severe "blowback" from any one of the 120 countries where U.S. special forces now operate. So how will we respond when the inevitable blowback comes? Will we once again fall in line as our leaders lash out at some new enemy? Or will we know enough of our own history to look in the mirror and recognize the real source of the violence and chaos that our irresponsible leaders keep unleashing on the world?

Nicolas J. S. Davies is the author of "Blood On Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq." Davies also wrote the chapter on "Obama At War" for the book, "Grading the 44th President: A Report Card on Barack Obama's First Term as a Progressive Leader."