WASHINGTON — After a decade of costly conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, the American way of war is evolving toward less brawn, more guile.
Drone aircraft spy on and attack terrorists with no pilot in harm's way. Small teams of special operations troops quietly train and advise foreign forces. Viruses sent from computers to foreign networks strike silently, with no American fingerprint.
It's war in the shadows, with the U.S. public largely in the dark.
In Pakistan, armed drones, not U.S. ground troops or B-52 bombers, are hunting down al-Qaida terrorists, and a CIA-run raid of Osama bin Laden's hide-out was executed by a stealthy team of Navy SEALs.
In Yemen, drones and several dozen U.S. military advisers are trying to help the government tip the balance against an al-Qaida offshoot that harbors hopes of one day attacking the U.S. homeland.
In Somalia, the Horn of Africa country that has not had a fully functioning government since 1991, President Barack Obama secretly has authorized two drone strikes and two commando raids against terrorists.
In Iran, surveillance drones have kept an eye on nuclear activities while a computer attack reportedly has infected its nuclear enrichment facilities with a virus, possibly delaying the day when the U.S. or Israel might feel compelled to drop real bombs on Iran and risk a wider war in the Middle East.
The high-tech warfare allows Obama to target what the administration sees as the greatest threats to U.S. security, without the cost and liabilities of sending a swarm of ground troops to capture territory.
But it also raises questions about accountability and the implications for international norms regarding the use of force outside of traditional armed conflict.
- Better than a raise: The smallest thing you...
- Many Mormon missionaries who return home...
- WestJet airline video goes viral as Santa...
- Adjunct professors unionize for respect and...
- Little difference between PG-13 and R-rated...
- Looking beyond the premium is a 2-tiered...
- 50 things you might not know about 15 of your...
- Companies make CEO changes in U.S. and Canada
- Many Mormon missionaries who return... 136
- Judge orders Colo. cake-maker to serve... 124
- Can Mandela's legacy revive the GOP? 30
- Health care debate about presidential... 24
- Space and religion: How believers view... 24
- Health care signups increase to... 19
- Looking beyond the premium is a... 16
- India's Supreme Court upholds anti-gay... 14