Customer Review

274 of 316 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Life Of Its Own, March 27, 2012
This review is from: Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power (Hardcover)
"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger." - Hermann Goering in Nuremberg where he was found guilty and sentenced to death for crimes against humanity.

Maddow has written a concise guide about the war economy and mentality our country has fallen into - a mentality that seems to infect every president the moment he enters the White House. At least since Wilson, we have been in virtually continuous war, originally with the excuse of democratizing the world. Some of these squirmishes have protected American corporations in various countries. At times we took sides with democratic regimes and other times we sided with more totalitarian groups (See "America's Mission" by Tony Smith. It chronicles the wars each president has engaged in since Wilson).

More recently, as Maddow describes, the privatization craze has extended to the war business. We have been involved in little undeclared wars that we have rarely even heard about. We spend more money on our military than the next umpteen countries combined. Our brave all volunteer recruits constitute an ever diminishing segment of our population and the recent wars have exacted a tremendous toll on them and their families. We support a huge war industry that demands to be fed and buys off our elected representatives. No wonder we can't seem to afford good things that would better serve our people like universal healthcare.

This book is reasonable, carefully researched, and written with personality. There are other ways to be patriotic than to blindly follow warlike policies that have somehow taken on a life of their own. I highly recommend that you read it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 

Comments

Tracked by 1 customer

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 42 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 31, 2012 11:13:59 AM PDT
Karl Tschanz says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 1, 2012 5:10:14 PM PDT
Quirk's Exception: Intentional invocation of this so-called
"Nazi Clause" is ineffectual.

Sorry, KT. Nice try, though.

Posted on Apr 16, 2012 11:56:46 AM PDT
Enigma says:
>>>We support a huge war industry that demands to be fed and buys off our elected representatives. No wonder we can't seem to afford good things that would better serve our people like universal healthcare.

1965 Defense Spending 7.4% GDP
1975 Defense Spending 5.8% GDP
1990 Defense Spending 5.2% GDP
2011 Defense Spending 5.0% GDP

In reality Defense spending has been falling however something else has been growing:

1965 Entitlement Spending 2.5% GDP
1975 Entitlement Spending 5.4% GDP
1990 Entitlement Spending 6.4% GDP
2011 Entitlement Spending 10.0% GDP

Cheers

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 21, 2012 12:44:46 PM PDT
Hi Enigma - Where did you get this data?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 22, 2012 9:18:59 AM PDT
Enigma says:
It came from two sources:

1) http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals

The charts can be confusing to read and you have to cull a lot of the data, for example the government lumps SS and Medicare together but exclude a whole host of other entitlement programs as they were enacted. Their military expenditures on some lists include overseas consulate offices, their living expenses and travel as part of the military budget, but it's not consistent on a year by year basis

The simplest, imo, yet not exactly accurate table to look at is 15.5 http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2013/assets/hist15z5.xls

Using the defense numbers that include international expenses (which increases defense costs) and then using only SS and Medicare those numbers are listed in brackets:

1965 Defense Spending 7.4% GDP (8.1%)
1975 Defense Spending 5.8% GDP (6.0%)
1990 Defense Spending 5.2% GDP (5.5%)
2011 Defense Spending 5.0% GDP (5.0%)

I removed the amount that was spent for international diplomacy from every year but 2011, which I did not have a accurate number for. That is the numbers are lower. NOTE: If I had used the larger number it would bolster my point that defense spending has fallen even more rapidly.

In reality Defense spending has been falling however something else has been growing:

1965 Entitlement Spending 2.5% GDP (2.5%)
1975 Entitlement Spending 5.4% GDP (5.0%)
1990 Entitlement Spending 6.4% GDP (6.2%)
2011 Entitlement Spending 10.0% GDP (8.5%)

My entitlement spending numbers are larger because different entitlement programs have been added that were not-categorized under SS/Medicare. (EITC, veterans benefits, Head Start, Unemployment, Food stamps, etc, etc.)
Just to show that I am not making the numbers up my second source backed up my spreadsheet for 2010.

" The CBO projects that "spending for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other health care programs will grow from 9.9 percent of GDP in 2010 to 12.0 percent by 2021"
2) http://www.cbo.gov/publication/22043

When one looks at the US budget as a whole you will find that entitlement spending accounts for over 50% of all of our outlays. One thing is certain:

" This unfavorable combination of demographics and per-capita rate increases is expected to drive both Social Security and Medicare into large deficits during the 21st century. Unless these long-term fiscal imbalances are addressed by reforms to these programs, raising taxes or drastic cuts in discretionary programs, the federal government will at some point be unable to pay its obligations without significant risk to the value of the dollar (inflation).["
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_budget#Mandatory_spending_and_entitlements

I think we can both agree that we are headed for a train wreck, military spending is too high and we cannot keep the entitlement spending/taxing on a steady course. Either serious tax increases OR reductions in payments OR a combination of both need to be done quickly. Every congress just kicks the can down the street and imo we are almost at a cliff.

Cheers

PS You asked me what time it was and I told you how to construct a watch - sorry.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 22, 2012 10:54:16 AM PDT
Hi Enigma - Thanks for the thorough reply. I had already googled it and satisfied myself that your original entry was accurate. I was used to seeing those entries as percentages of Gross National Expenditures, not GNP. Certainly, we need to decrease our spending.

Regards,

DB

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 27, 2012 9:51:56 AM PDT
Enigma says:
And increase our revenues.

Cheers

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 29, 2012 11:52:04 AM PDT
absolutely!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 30, 2012 11:51:20 AM PDT
Fred Bichl says:
I have an issue with your entitlement spending related to GDP.
GDP has been based more and more on lower paying, lower income and lower taxed service employment. If the income of American workers had been kept up, especially in the later years, the resulting taxes would have kept entitlements down to a much more manageable rate. If the well paid jobs had not been shipped overseas and outsourced, GDP would have risen to keep pace with entitlement needs. I say this is a major and correctable flaw of the American capitalist system. It could well be a planned trend to squash entitlements altogether.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 30, 2012 12:21:29 PM PDT
Hi Fred - I completely agree with your assessment. Thanks for the input.

DB
‹ Previous 1 2 3 4 5 Next ›

Review Details

Item

4.6 out of 5 stars (797 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (596)
4 star:
 (126)
3 star:
 (33)
2 star:
 (14)
1 star:
 (28)
 
 
 
$25.00 $19.17
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: Salado, Texas

Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,224