Catch Rachel Maddow's "Drift"

"Drift" by Rachel Maddow


Television commentator Rachel Maddow has transferred her skills as a broadcaster into writing a book, "Drift: The Unmooring of American MilitaryPower." This treatise covers presidential tenures from LBJ through the present, focusing on how the executive branch of government has taken over American military policy. I remember many of the events she describes, although not as many facts and quotes as she recounts. Maddow maintains that we the people have allowed the use of the US military to drift away from the authority of our representatives in Congress.

The nation's founders wanted war to be difficult to declare. They meant for warfare to involve the public, even or especially when it hurts. War was not supposed to be a tool of foreign policy or diplomacy.

In the past 50 years, however, the act of war has drifted further from the executive branch into the hands of a cabal of private contractors, answering only to stockholders. Meanwhile, the CIA extends its mission to gather intelligence by sending special ops to engage in war-like actions, some of which are supposed to remain beyond public view. To remove the horrors of war one further step from public awareness, joystick "pilots" in obscure corners of the nation's capital now direct drone aircraft to global targets.

Maddow maintains that the problem is "fixable" by dismantling a bloated 50-year old nuclear arsenal that is literally moldering underground; removing layers of secrecy behind which privateers and specialized executive agency squads operate; and mandating that Congress take back its constitutional power of deciding when our country goes to war.

While war powers have been allowed to drift, Maddow scores a direct hit in "Drift."

--Bob S., Rock Road Branch



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