"One of my favorite ideas is, never to keep an unnecessary soldier," Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1792. Neither Jefferson nor the other Founders could ever have envisioned the contemporary 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 unproven counterinsurgency doctrine.
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. 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.
Sensible yet provocative, dead serious yet seriously funny, Drift will reinvigorate a "loud and jangly" political debate about how, when, and where to apply America's strength and power - and who gets to make those decisions.
©2012 Rachel Maddow (P)2012 Random House
Everything you need to know about this book is really in the summary. Her argument is simply that the president has over time gained greater unilateral powers to wage wars. Most of the book is just a long historical narrative that sweeps through 40 plus years of US military history, breezing past some very interesting parts such as the cold war, without actually anchoring most of the historical trivia to any purpose other than simply what was stated above. There really is not any expansion of this argument, only the story of how it came to be.
it isn't the turth a all. A crazy paranoid reality of a demented person.
Her voice made it hard to follow.
The whole thing. It is filled with lies. Start over with the truth.
I want my money back. Never again. Wanted to see what the fus was about. I am terribly disappointed. Don't make the same mistake as me. If 2 plus 2 is 4 in your reality. Then this book is not for you.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
As Brutus tells witnesses to Caesar’s bloody death, “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.” Ironically, Rachel Maddow, foments a similar feeling about the American military in her book, “Drift”. She attacks executive branch’ usurpation of the Constitution’s separation-of-powers regarding declarations of war while burying the new American military that began changing after Vietnam.
Maddow is an intelligent liberal commentator for MSNBC. This labeling seems necessary because, though in many respects her analyses of change in the military are spot-on, there is an innate intellectual, liberal bias in her argument.
Human beings are good and evil; not one or the other but both. Humans also make mistakes; some from stupidity and others from ignorance. Maddow is a rationalist that looks at the Constitution and uses a liberal’s ideals to bolster a belief that adherence to war-making clauses of the Constitution will somehow result in slower and more rational decisions because of extensive debate in Congress. In the real world, there is only rationalization not rational decision making in going to war in advance of a decision to go to war.
War is only rational or correct in retrospect; never before declaration is made whether by strict constitutional or unconstitutional grounds. It may be that Maddow is acknowledging the irrationality of war by pointing out that the Constitution slows the process of declaring war rather than suggesting it makes the decision more rational but it still begs the question of whether slowing the process makes any difference in a good or bad decision to go to war.
“Drift” is not an enjoyable listen but it opens one’s eyes to the change that has occurred in the American military. In this reviewer’s mind, “Drift” praises the American military rather than buries it.
NOTE: Discussion about drones is a significant gap in this review and the consequence of their use remains an open question that is forthrightly raised in Maddow’s book. Drones are the next step in remote war begun by Hitler with the V-2. The consequence of technologically informed killing by drones does not change human nature. Remote killing is an objectification of war that savages morality and anesthetizes personal responsibility.
The best book I ever listened to. To hear it from the author just sends it over the top.
The detailing of the Abrams doctrine was eye opening!
Rules, what rules. Presidents don't need them.
thought provoking, interesting
Learning of things I didn't know.
Made me think and want to research more about some of the topics.
Good review of the topics. Gives insight to things possibly unknown or thought about. It is one perspective.
Ms. Maddow does an admirable job narrating her book, but you can tell she's not a professional at this particular art. Didn't interfere with the book, however.
There's a lot of interesting information, and a lot of conclusions drawn. I've not found any of the information to be false - and some I checked on immediately, as I wasn't aware of it.
While I agree with many of her conclusions, they're often not inescapable or inarguable, so be careful in building your own views. If, however, like me, you're an informed liberal, you'll find much of her work here interesting and compelling. She's not going to convert many people with this, though; it's mostly by a liberal for liberals - but, of course, reality has a well known liberal bias... :D
Love that Rachel does her own narrative.. Great history of the US military.
First military history I've read.
The squarndering of American might.
Drift is the kind of book you could listen to every couple of years to remind you of some of the things in history that are important, relevant to what is happening now and what we should have learned as lessons.
Rachel was great. We felt like she was sitting in our living room telling us this information.
This is a great book for any committed leftist that as no knowledge of or regard for history. Biased view that is the flip side of the right wing garbage from Limbaugh/Hannity. If you are seeking good insight into the mistakes made over the past decade, this isnt the place to find it.
Listening to this audio book was like having Rachel Maddow carpool to work with me. She does her homework, and obviously cares deeply about the subject. A fascinating (although disturbing) listen! As soon as I finished it the first time, I listened to it again. No other reader could have done justice to her style.
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