Saturday, April 14, 2012
Drift by Rachel Maddow
Drift by Rachel Maddow This is a great, important, well researched, and well written book that I just could not read. That's not exactly accurate--I read the prologue, the first chapter, and the epilogue in detail. The problem was all the chapters in between. I just couldn't take the return in excruciating detail of Grenada, Iran-Contra, and Oliver North, from there we move on to Kuwait, Halliburton, and Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, followed by Bosnia, leading inexorably to Afghanistan and Iraq. It was like nails on a chalkboard for 7 of 9 chapters. Don't get me wrong, Maddow nails it completely in the description of our not so slow drift toward the replacement of our Constitutionally designed plan that going to war should be a difficult thing to do to our current state of perpetual war which can be initiated unilaterally by the President. It's just that I lived through all of it and I just get mad all over reading about it. Now for the really great parts of the book: the beginning and the ending. Wow! She begins with Jefferson's great worry that a standing army would drain resources and overwhelm public sentiment. His goal was to never have one unnecessary soldier. The epilogue Going to war, being at war should be painful. From now on when we go to war, let's pay for it--taxes, bond drives, cake sales, whatever. Let's do away with the secret military. The entire chain of command should be accountable to Congress. Let's get the chain of command straight: the President does not defer to the commanders in the field. The President is elected by the people to execute their will. Let's scale back the use of contractors. When the contractors commit illegal acts such as rape or murder, they should be prosecuted not given a new name and a new contract. Every international problem or conflict is not ours to solve with military. "We just need to revive that old idea that America is a deliberately peaceable nation. That's not simply our inheritance, it's our responsibility."