I’ve been wanting to read about the US military for a few years now, since something seems off with one country having military installations in 28 other countries (this is my rough count, from here).
Unfortunately, I’m not particularly interested in military equipment, tactics or battles which is what a lot of military writers focus on, so this is the first book on the topic I’ve read.
Rachel Maddow’s Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power is thankfully not a book about such things. Instead, Maddow applies the wit and thoughtfulness you’d expect from her show to the topic. (An aside: when I had cable, I always enjoyed catching Maddow’s show on MSNBC when I had a chance).
Maddow walks through modern military history to explain how we got to a place where we could perpetuate 2 wars in the past decade with little perceived cost to American domestic life.
The author is a notable liberal (and is particularly hard on Reagan, darling of the right), but she doesn’t give Democrats a pass, showing how each president and congress has led us further down what she would argue is the wrong path. Each reasonable obstacle that our Founding Fathers put in place to keep us from going to war without considering the cost has been carefully removed.
In the end, Maddow argues that we re-erect the reasonable obstacles to war (putting the decision back in the hands of the many, instead of the few) and stop outsourcing military duties to those who are not ultimately accountable to the American people.
If you are an American, I would recommend reading Drift regardless of your current stand on our military. I doubt most of my readers would come to the same conclusions that Maddow does, but I think she makes a carefully argued point that demands consideration.