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Thursday
Apr122012

Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow

Have you heard all the talk of a possible war with Iran brewing? Yeah, don’t break out the “Mission Accomplished” banner just yet. Rachel Maddow has a few things to say first. Readers spoiling for a partisan fight from Maddow might find one in her lengthy criticism of the Reagan administration, but this forms merely the foundation of her central argument: that war has become a quiet, private affair, wherein a handful of specialists do the dirty work while the rest of us carry on in peace. That Iran–Contra style operations have become legalized and legitimized. That the groundwork has been laid for a 1984-style state of continuous warfare. Okay, maybe it’s not that bad. Yet. Early in the text, Maddow writes, “The only audience for defense wonkery is defense enthusiasts, and they’re not paying the price of admission to hear that defense is overrated”, and this line perfectly summarizes a tension that runs through Drift: not that Maddow might be wrong, but that she might be ignored. “We can go back,” Maddow urges, and I hope she’s right, but I don’t feel as though she’d fault me for my doubts. -Spenser Isdahl 

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