Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Drift, by Rachel Maddow

(hb; 2012: nonfiction)

From the inside flaps:

" 'One of my favorite ideas is, never to keep an unnecessary soldier,' Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1792.  Neither Jefferson nor the other founding fathers could ever have envisioned the modern national security state, with its tens of thousands of 'privateers'; its bloated Department of Homeland Security; its rusting nuclear weapons, ill-maintained and difficult to dismantle; and its strange fascination with an overproven counterinsurgency doctrine.

". . . 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 ise 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.  Ultimately, she shows us just how much we stand to lose by allowing the priorities of the national security state to overpower our political discourse."


Sometimes humorous, often disturbing and provocative, yet logic-based/non-alarmist and streamlined read that I found near-impossible to set down (eventually, drowsiness, born of a long working day compelled me to do so). 

If you're interested in the state of our military, past and/or present, this is a must-read.  Even if you disagree with Maddow's reasoning and take on her meticulously researched facts, you should check this out - Drift is that great.

Not only is this book worth owning, it's worth re-reading (which I intend to - hope to - do in the next year or so).

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