Ethics & International Affairs Volume 3 (1989): Articles: Public Policy Secret Action [Abstract]

Dec 2, 1989

Exploitation of the executive exercise of covert operations has presented a dilemma, but Colby maintains that even in peacetime a "democratic society must have and respect some secrets." Does democracy, by its inherent nature, preclude the employment of covert action, even under exceptional conditions? Colby argues that the constitutional decision-making process is an ethical and legal one. In wartime, a "just" war is the goal, and the use of covert action must be evaluated by two essential criteria: self-defense and proportionality to the act requiring self-defense.

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