Sep 1, 2012

Drift - Rachel Maddow

Drift: the unmooring of American military power - Rachel Maddow

Summary: "Written with bracing wit and intelligence, Rachel Maddow's Drift argues that we've drifted away from America's original ideals and become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war, with all the financial and human costs that entails. To understand how we've arrived at such a dangerous place, Maddow takes us from the Vietnam War to today's war in Afghanistan, along the way exploring the disturbing rise of executive authority, the gradual outsourcing of our war-making capabilities to private companies, the plummeting percentage of American families whose children fight our constant wars for us, and even the changing fortunes of G.I. Joe. She offers up a fresh, unsparing appraisal of Reagan's radical presidency and shows us just how much we stand to lose by allowing the priorities of the national security state to overpower our political discourse."

Booklist Reviews
The U.S. has drifted into a state of military hypervigilance that is wasting enormous sums of money and threatening our economic stability, argues Maddow, host of the MSNBC program that bears her name. She traces the historical roots of concerns about maintaining a standing army and the reliance on citizen-soldiers when needed, creating a reluctance to go to war and an eagerness to end conflicts and send soldiers home. She details how the Cold War threat justified the sanctification of defense spending and the Vietnam War pushed Congress to reassert its exclusive authority to declare war. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, presidents have gained greater latitude in going to war, with little consideration for the implications for the nation's economy or polity, even as citizens become more estranged from the military. Maddow concludes with suggestions on how to turn the trend around, including paying with specific taxes, reversing the privatization of war, and constraining the power of the president to go to war. An insightful look at the cost of military vigilance to ideals of democracy. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The host of the popular The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC has fans in both the Twitter-sphere and among TV watchers, many of whom may cross over to buy her book. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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