When Thomas Jefferson spoke of ‘never keeping an unnecessary soldier’, neither he nor America’s other founding fathers could have envisaged the national security state that the country has become. They could not have imagined its tens of thousands of ‘privateers’; its bloated Department of Homeland Security; its rusting nuclear weapons, ill-maintained and difficult to dismantle; and its strange fascination with an unproven counterinsurgency doctrine.
Written with bracing wit and intelligence, Rachel Maddow’s Drift argues that America has drifted away from its original ideals and become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war, with all the financial and human costs that entails. Maddow takes us from the Vietnam War to today’s war in Afghanistan, exploring the disturbing rise of executive authority, the gradual outsourcing of war-making capabilities to private companies, the plummeting percentage of American soldiers in the military, and even the changing fortunes of GI Joe. Ultimately, she shows us just how much we all stand to lose by allowing the priorities of the national security state to overpower political discourse.
Sensible yet provocative, deadly serious yet seriously funny, Drift has already reinvigorated a political debate about how, when, and where America’s strength and power should be applied — and who gets to make those decisions.