Losing Our Grip

Drift: The Unmooring of American Military PowerDrift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I confess that it was not that long ago that I did not know who Rachel Maddow was. I do now. Perhaps it's because I have a tendency to avoid extremes and prefer my news to be centrist in character. But I have a healthy respect for Maddow now. Her analysis of the growing disconnect between the American military and American citizens and what that means for our democracy and our country's place in the world should be read by everyone. War is a terrible thing, and in this day and age it has become easier to wage without appropriate management and oversight. The title of this book is suggestive of a rowboat floating away from the dock. "Drift" is an apt term, because it suggests something that slips up on you, little bit by little bit. But the consequences of that drift are much more than just losing a boat to the breeze.

This is not the kind of book you can finish and forget. I'm sure previous reviewers have debated various points of Maddow's critique, so I won't jump into that fray. Whether you agree or disagree with Maddow, you can't help coming away feeling the need to react to her arguments. But the question is, react how?

In my case, I better understand now why certain aspects of how our government is run disturb me. Yes, I'm aware of the phenomenon known as "confirmation bias." I'm also aware that members of my generally-conservative extended family have depended for their livelihood on military contracts. And I am curious how an opposing viewpoint would counter Maddow's arguments.

But for now, I plan to continue reading. I need to return to, and finish reading, Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries by Naomi Wolf.

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