Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power
by Rachel Maddows
Crown, 2012. 288 pgs. Nonfiction
In this concise and well-written book, Ms. Maddow describes how the military and nation as a whole have essentially become disconnected, operating in two separate spheres. Starting in the Vietnam era when LBJ wanted to have his war without the complications that a full national engagement in the struggle would entail, the author describes how subsequent administrations and a mostly pliant Congress have made it possible to engage in military action all too easily. By expanding executive powers and making use of expedients such as private contractors, governments can take us to war without the necessity of bringing the country as a whole on board. Ms. Maddow outlines the process of this transformation with numerous examples and ends with a few suggestions as to how to restore Constitutional principles that make war a difficult decision, as it ought to be.
This is a quite interesting book. I would recommend this to anyone who has an interest in current events and/or politics, whatever their position on the liberal-conservative spectrum. While Rachel Maddow is considered by some to be on the loony left, this was a well reasoned argument for more consideration and thoughtfulness when military action is contemplated. Yes, there are a good deal of flippant comments sprinkled throughout, but it serves to lighten the tone and make the book a more enjoyable read rather than detracting from the points she is trying to make. And she does so concisely, at about 250 pages, when another author might have flogged the reader with a lot of extraneous data or bitter invective.