Drift—The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel
Maddow (2012 nonfiction)
This is an entertaining yet scary book. Rachel Maddow (of CVHS, Stanford, and Oxford) examines various facets of the American Armed Forces, and discovers a monster out of control. She never refers to Eisenhower’s military industrial complex warning, but his 1961 warning foreshadowed Drift. The U.S. Army is more powerful than all other world forces combined, and its costs are unchecked and over half that of the rest of the world. The basic Constitutional check of Congress on Presidential executive war making power has been eroded and ignored since Lyndon Johnson. Presidents now act first and consult later. The historic composition of the Army has been altered from that of Jefferson’s citizen soldier army to an excessive reliance on National Guard, Reserves, and an unknown degree of privatization.
Maddow spares no one and lets the documented facts speak. Reagan and the Grenada fiasco make amusing reading. The never-ending and irrational nuclear shield is described, complete with terrifying mishaps and inept inspections. The scandals, financial and humanitarian, of unsupervised privatization are recalled. She concludes with eight bullets, steps leading to recovering our national inheritance—America as a deliberately peaceable nation. Read and ?????.
Reviewed by Martin Waldron