Vol. 1 No. 3 (2013): CISS Insight Bimonthly News & Views, June - July 2013
Book Reviews

The Way of the Knife: The Untold Story of USA’s Secret War

Dr. Afsah Qazi
Assistant Professor at Department of International Relations, National Defense University
Published August 12, 2013
How to Cite
Dr. Afsah Qazi. (2013). The Way of the Knife: The Untold Story of USA’s Secret War. CISS Insight Journal, 1(3), P62-64. Retrieved from https://journal.ciss.org.pk/index.php/ciss-insight/article/view/114


Mark Mazzetti is a well-known journalist, currently working for the New York Times as the national security correspondent and a Pulitzer Prize winner. He has also won a number of other awards. He has previously written for the Los Angeles Times and the Economist. His book ‘The Way of the knife’ revolves around a central theme which is accurately depicted by its subtitle ‘the untold story of USA’s secret war’. It is a detailed account of the hidden war that has been waged in parallel with the military’s war on terror, but is still unknown to many. This war is being fought in lands beyond the territories believed to be the major battleground, mainly Afghanistan and Iraq. The author has revealed that this war has relied more on the ‘military-intelligence complex’ instead of depending solely on the military-industrial complex. The former was created during the war. The important factor witnessed during its creation is the inter-change of their traditional roles by the CIA and pentagon.

CIA gave up its role of traditional espionage that focused on looking for the secrets of foreign governments and became involved with hunting and killing; usually the task of the military. The legal, legislative and administrative process through which the Bush Administration had authorized such actions for CIA has been discussed in detail. The sweeping mandate which the Congress had give to Bush for waging war against terror and the ‘license to kill’ granted by President bush to the CIA has enabled its activities to go much beyond the limits laid down for war-fighting. Just as CIA transformed itself from a spy agency into a killing machine using expedient ways to eliminate its targets, a similar shift was witnessed in the structure and function of the Pentagon. Military increasingly came to be engaged in spying and intelligence missions.