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What could possibly go wrong?

The New York Times reports:

The top American commander in the Middle East has ordered a broad expansion of clandestine military activity in an effort to disrupt militant groups or counter threats in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and other countries in the region, according to defense officials and military documents.

The secret directive, signed in September by Gen. David H. Petraeus, authorizes the sending of American Special Operations troops to both friendly and hostile nations in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa to gather intelligence and build ties with local forces. Officials said the order also permits reconnaissance that could pave the way for possible military strikes in Iran if tensions over its nuclear ambitions escalate.

Oh, it gets better.

During the Bush administration, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld endorsed clandestine military operations, arguing that Special Operations troops could be as effective as traditional spies, if not more so.

Unlike covert actions undertaken by the C.I.A., such clandestine activity does not require the president’s approval or regular reports to Congress, although Pentagon officials have said that any significant ventures are cleared through the National Security Council. Special Operations troops have already been sent into a small number of countries to carry out limited surveillance and reconnaissance missions, including operations to gather intelligence about airstrips, bridges and beaches that might be needed for an offensive.

Here's Exhibit A of what is wrong with clandestine invasions of sovereign nations: they don't usually manage to stay very clandestine.

Our top military commanders have secretly authorized the deployment of US troops into friendly and unfriendly nations, in a manner which apparently does not require oversight by any elected representative of the American people.

What should be done about this?  What can be done?

Originally posted to Jay Elias on Mon May 24, 2010 at 06:27 PM PDT.

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