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Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power
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39 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Rachel Maddow has a gift. She has a talent for breaking complicated subjects down into manageable segments. She is articulate, insightful and quirky - a combination that works well in explaining difficult subjects. You may not agree with her politics, but at the end of this book, you will know more about the business of war in the modern world economy. And that is a gift in itself.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Many in this country can be forgiven if they have not been aware that there have been two wars fought simultaneously during the last ten years. After all only a tiny segment of Americans have fought those wars and who have have been deployed numerous times. During this time income taxes have been reduced; and during this time our government has outsourced more war related task than ever before. For something as egregious as war we, as a nation, have been insulated from it.

This seems to bother Rachel Maddow; truly it should bother us all. How this state of insulation came about is what Rachel Maddow's book is about. It blames no one party; it ascribes no nefarious plot; it just carefully relates how this sorry state of affairs came about.

Those viewers of Maddow on MSNBC will recognize her voice in the writing and will see her trademark extraordinary research.

She suggests, rightly I think, that it is dangerous for a country to become comfortable with endless war. This makes the flippant one star reviews posted all the more disturbing. To be sure some may disagree with her premise but if they do they should make their case regarding how endless war is a good thing or where real substantive issues are inaccurate. But they do not. It is clear they are rating their feelings about Maddow and not about the book. Ignore the one star reviews; they are written by dishonest people.

The issue is extremely serious and I applaud Maddow for bringing it up. This is an important book.
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48 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I always read the pros and cons on here prior to reading any book. I haven't finished reading and frankly am surprised that others read this book in one day. I suspect some have written negative for that sake.

This is a good read and Rachel did her homework and did get input from others when writing. It is always important that every book written is open to interpretation this one no different. For her first book, this one Maddow got right.
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Congress shall have the power: "To declare War..." That statement in the United States Constitution seems clear enough, yet it has been honored in the breach almost from the beginning of our Republic. But, until the middle of the twentieth century, the undeclared wars were relatively minor examples of a growing nation flexing its muscles, and could be dismissed as simply "incursions", not worthy of being dignified as wars. The Korean War and then, even more effectively, the Vietnam War put paid to even that shibai. And, according to Maddow, Ronald Regan became the chief grave digger to bury this principle, joined later and enthusiastically by Bushes I and II, Clinton, and now Obama. She spends many pages on the Great Communicator because she shares neither the right's view that he is deserving of a place on Mt. Rushmore nor the left's view that Regan was suffering from incipient Alzheimer's from his earliest days in office. According to her, and she presents a great deal of supporting evidence, Regan deliberately misled the Congress with the full intent of prosecuting a war--this time on a miniscule Grenada--in order to avoid any war-declaration foolishness. From then on, and with his actions as an example, it was a simple matter for presidents to slide into the wars of their choice, from Iraq, to Yugoslavia, to Afghanistan, to Iraq once again, to Libya, and eventually to Pakistan, Iran and other destinations. A few bombings of yet other nations also occurred in the meantime. The documentation is there. She cites it at length, though it's already all in the public domain. But it's nice to have it all together here, and spelled out in detail. Add to all that, new armies of mercenaries, wars with no firm goals in mind, and an American public lulled into acquiescence because the costs are put off into some distant future. This is a remarkable book that should be read along with Peter Van Buren's "We Meant Well" to see how badly we botched the meaningless enterprise in Iraq, something which we are now repeating in Afghanistan.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Very fitting that I read this book as I was waiting to greet President Obama as he visited Atlanta, Georgia on a fundraising trip.
As I transition inside "the bubble" and waited for POTUS (President of the United States) I was struck of all the layers of security that encompass this institution that revolved around one individual, the President.
In Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow, the author takes the reader through a history of the evolution of the current military industrial complex. More importantly how this military has somehow disconnected from the American psyche. There was a time not so long ago that most Americans worried about the dough boys across the pond as they fought for freedom. Today, when the war against Iraq came to an end, it was only blip on the national screen. No parades, spontaneous celebrations, or large commemorations.
The book also delves into how many of the duties once held by the military have been transferred to private firms. The United States is no doubt the leader of the free world, but what is our duty to use that power? Should we or are we required to be the world's police?
This though provoking book, Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power, is a amazing analysis of the current state of American military power.
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Despite what some of her fans might have wanted, Rachel has once again proved herself the Rhodes Scholar of the current political media figures and decides to write a REAL book with a focused thesis. Excellent. I can understand negative reviews in the sense that the humor she (in my opinion) sprinkles into her arguments does reveal her own political leanings. That being said, the point she is making cannot be written off no matter what your political leanings.

If you don't agree with her on her television show, BUT you have a brain you'll still get a lot out of this book. If you, however, are a Fox News sheep and refuse to do your own thinking....well...what are you doing reading books? Any of reviews that have been written thus far are from people who have not read this book, or if they have they actively choose to not live in the world that exists.

I just wish there were more intellectuals writing focused books about topics that aren't discussed in our politically divided country.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Having recently read several autobiographies & biographies about our American founders, you realize how much debate occurred during the time of the "Constitutional Convention whether America should have a standing Army, even George Washington was opposed to it and only wanted a "well-regulated militia" to be called upon for use in a declared war only. The Founders "feared that to maintain a standing army would drain our resources and be a temptation to use it" as described in the beginning of Rachel Maddow's, easy to read and well written book. Her main thesis is that American Military Power has "drifted off that historical course" and just needs a "small c" "conservative course correction back to our constitutional roots".

Even if you are diametrically opposed to her political views in general, the book is still worth the time to read. There are many valid arguments, points made and a lot that you might be vehemently opposed too. But, they need to be made and discussed. We will probably see again diminished military budgets and different global strategies in the near future. Do we still want to use & pay for civilian contractors? Use more High tech and less troops? These and more are the questions this book discusses.

Having served as a US Army Officer from the Post-Vietnam era through the Gulf War and the later Wars in the Balkans, I have seen and experienced many of the examples she presented in her book. As active duty personnel at the end of 1980's Total Force policy, we started training Reserve and National Guard units to higher standards being told in the future they will be called up for overseas duty. And, sure enough the first Reserve units arrived to my active Army unit in the desert during the Persian Gulf War and since then, for almost all major campaigns we have seen them again and again called up for active duty. Or the cycles of the money that flow through the system, where we were told "blow it all" so we do not get our budget cut and then came a few years later "doing more with less"

My examples are endless. However, Ms. Maddow is trying to describe for us what happened and why, but never really wrote any detail on how to fix it. You may agree or not with her book, but we do need to look at the problems and possibly fix the system. It is "not broke" just needs a nudge back on course as she says.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
When she documents how ignorant we are of the true history of our conflicts and how they are hatched and executed it is frightening that we as a nation allow our politicians to remain in office.
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28 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Rachael Maddow does a fine job of explaining how the Military Industrial Complex now eats up a quarter of Federal spending at the expense of our Children and grandchildren. Now with too many Generals, armored vehicles, Carrier's and Bombers, lobbyists representing Defense interests will warn of a hollow military and weakened defense industrial base.

Our DOD Base Budget is 530.5 525.4 Widely reported by the press as the "base" DOD budget, and our Overseas Contingency Operations 115.1 88.5, add to that DOE/Nuclear (Total) 18.5 19.4, International Affairs (Total) 61.3 69.8 Includes $8.2 billion in OCO for Budget Function 150. The OCO grand total is $96.7 billion.

Veterans Affairs (Total) 124.6 137.7 This spending encompasses the effects of past and current wars; spending for veterans of the last ten years will be increasing dramatically in coming years.

Homeland Security (Total) 46.0 46.3 Includes HS spending in DHS and all federal agencies not shown on this summary.

Subtotal of the Above 928.7 930.6 Total Federal Spending is $3.8 trillion in outlays in 2012 and 2013.

This totals an alarming 24% of net Interest on the Debt 57.4 63.7 The outlays of the above programs comprise 25.5% and 25.7% of total federal outlays for 2012 and 2013.

The final grand total 986.1 994.3...NEARLY ONE TRILLION PER YEAR SUPPORTED BY THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL CONGRESSIONAL COMPLEX.

Bravo Rachael Maddow for adding humor to this dire situation. The only way out of this death spiral is for term limits that discourage a cozy relationships based on campaign contributions and non contributing defense jobs.
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31 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I can think of no one on the contemporary scene who has the insight, pithy style, creative ability to make apposite connections, and overall common sense that Rachel Maddow possesses. Her dazzling prose, her sparkling perceptions, make this book an intellectual delight to read.

And of course, vastly more important is her point: we have delegated the fighting of wars to a few politically non-influential families, and profiteering corporations, and hidden the costs while we blame the poor for ruining our national budget through medicare and welfare.

Read this book. It is brilliant. It is morally bracing. We need, once again, to WAKE up to what is happening, NOT just to keep DRIFTing.

Signed, Hezekiah
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