Tuesday, May 15, 2012
DRIFT by Rachel Maddow
DRIFT has the subtitle "the Unmooring of American Military Power." She also reads the book on audio, and deftly chides those good old boys who believe in the rightness of their every "patriotic" action (from Johnson to Nixon to Reagan to Clinton to Bush, and even to Obama). The premise is that the office of the President has effectively been given power to wage undeclared (and perpetual) wars (over Congress, which is usually a deadlocked club of paper pushers), using such power to gain political power over political rivals (by showing what a great leader and protective father figure he is while bringing home the bacon...or pork.) Military culture projects power using fear as a tool much like an insurance company or home alarm company might. With its stranglehold on appropriations (tax dollars) acquired by the Trinity (Army, Navy, Air Force), the military is now a multinational corporation-like force out to police the world and build more high-tech weapons, whether or not they are needed. And we seem oddly okay with this. (The F22 is but one recent example. For a real time cost of wars, click here.) Agree or not, these provocative and well-researched assertions will get you thinking, and as such this book is a good companion to "Washington Rules" by former Col. Andrew Bacevich, whose thesis is that we can no longer afford the conceits and deceptions inherent in ignoring that the world around us has changed. Okay, you might not want to spit on her after all.