Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow

Economics and politics are are daunting, and so entangled we can’t decipher one without the other.  I picked up Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow (2012) hoping for some perspective. Okay, so I got this book because Maddow is so darn smart and, I’ll admit it, wicked handsome.

It took a while; I read To Kill a Mockingbird and Are You My Mother? in between Drift chapters, but I read every word.

I knew it, I just knew it!  But I never had the evidence in one place and right in my hands as Maddow offers. We, the American public, allow politicians to slide, slip and slide, right over our rights and responsibilities as citizens. We just don’t know how to stop this tsunami of cheating, lying and disrespect. Mr. Reagan made a war on his own, and since then so has everyone else, defying constitutional structures and protocol.   No one seems to know where the plans are for out-dated nuclear devices, no one knows how to keep the fungus off wings of stockpiled bombs.  The private army hides the actual costs of wars.

Why have we become a warring nation? What happened to diplomacy and working for peace?

Do we have to wait until the Freedom of Information Act kicks in, too many years from now, to find out why so many trillions have gone out of the taxpayers’ pockets and disappeared into the ether of war so the taxpayer has no job, no health insurance, or emergency fund for disasters?

Maddow offers the research, the names and numbers to answer these questions.  She takes the covers off the secrecy of the last thirty plus years of U.S. government and exposes the vast resources (money, faith in government, and our military personnel) we’ve lost to extreme abuses of power.

Maddow writes, “Republicans and Democrats alike have options to vote people into Congress who are determined to stop with the chickenshittery and assert the legislature’s constitutional prerogatives on war and peace. It would make a difference and help reel us back toward balance and normalcy” (p.252, italics mine).

We  have to convince everyone to vote for the greatest good rather than individual fear. The other day I overheard a young man of twenty-something saying to his friend, “When the Apocalypse comes, I want to be ready.”  Did he mean he’ll be buying an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, or preparing his gardens for year-round food for his family and neighbors?  I wish I’d eavesdropped a little longer.


Posted on July 29, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Nice to see this great resource, Shelley. Thanks for getting in going. I had to respond to two sentences of this entry:

    Why have we become a warring nation? What happened to diplomacy and working for peace?

    In its modern form, the US has ALWAYS been a warring nation. Diplomacy (sic) is just an extension of imperialistic war-mongering.

    You’re referring here to the nation-state in its relations with the world. But let’s not forget the bloody history of the conquest of the Americas and the engine of economic growth. The extermination of indigenous peoples and the cruelty of the trade in enslaved persons are in the DNA of this aggressive polity.

    Warring is as American as apple pie.

    • Mark—Great to hear from you! I see what you are saying about taking land and killing in the name of manifest destiny. The history of the Americas is one of devastation of the First Nation peoples beginning with the Spaniards prior to the Anglo invasion. Slavery and genocide are timeless and culture/color blind in origin. But why, in 2012, are we still captive of flight or fight at the sight on another dissimilar to self? Is that instinct necessary today, so far as we are from the Neanderthal epoch?

      What would an economy based on the construction and production of non-fossil fuel infrastructure and local food look like? Van Jones’ The Green Economy (2008) is on my mind. Annie Leonard (The Story of Stuff, 2007) has just produced a new video, The Story of Change (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIQdYXCKUv0). Is this a possible enormous paradigm shift for American economies?

      Interesting you should mention Apple Pie…..the apple is originally from Kazakhstan and Pie is from the 1540s when the crust was used as a box or basket to preserve food items. (NPR had a week of Pie stories not long ago.) As so many things American, we are what we’ve collected from other places.

      Thanks for the ideas— Shelley

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