Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power

driftDrift: The Unmooring of American Military Power
by Rachel Maddow
2012 / 288 pages
Read by Maddow / 7h 31m
Rating – 8.5

My sister recommended this – I found it on Audible and promptly got it. I have no problem with Maddow’s politics – I usually agree.   But while this book really sounds like it’s preaching to the choir – it’s apparently being touted by conservatives as well.

The material itself is quite interesting and includes the views of Thomas Jefferson and some of his fellow Republican views,   a quickie run through US history to Reagan’s administration and then we get a somewhat long and cheeky chapter on him and his dated and hawkish views,   charismatically transmitted,  bumblingly executed.

Basically,  Maddow is outlining the way we got ourselves into the fix we’re in where it’s become way too easy to use the military and contractors to conduct war around the world without the approval of Congress.    It would seem that Reagan started the “drift,”  and the succeeding presidents don’t seem to have done anything to slow it down.

Then came GW Bush I,  the Gulf War I,  oil,  Kuwait,  etc. a court case,  congressional hearings and so on.   What is this,  war by public opinion?  Yes – that’s the way the Constitution set it up.   War is not within the scope of the president’s job description.  He must ask Congress – (Bush  actually did.)

The White House seems to just itch to go to war – after Bush there was Clinton and Bosnia,   Bush II and now Obama with his unaccountable drone activities in Pakistand and Afghanistan.  We don’t send our citizens to war – we are almost entirely unaffected by our wars.   The Bush war in Iraq was probably the worst.   Wolfowitz,  Cheney and others encouraged the presidents with minimal political repercussions.

The reason the Constitution was set up as it is was to keep the idea of a “citizen soldier” and keep it hard to get involved in a war.   The public has to support it to the point of being willing to sacrifice for it.  We are barely touched by the wars.   Contracted warriors are a whole lot cheaper than the official American military.  Soldiers are lost to suicide more often than to any kind of fire.  Others are sent on repeat tours – this keeps the home damage minimal.

And our wars these days are almost non-stop – around the world – fought by the privateers.

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