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The American Way of War: Guided Missiles, Misguided Men and A Republic In Peril

1 rating: 4.0
2008 non-fiction book by Eugene Jarecki

In the sobering aftermath of America's invasion of Iraq, Eugene Jarecki, the creator of the award-winning documentary Why We Fight, launches a penetrating and revelatory inquiry into how forces within the American political, economic, and military … see full wiki

Author: Eugene Jarecki
Genre: Public Policy
Publisher: Free Press
Date Published: October 14, 2008
1 review about The American Way of War: Guided Missiles,...

What President Eisenhower warned us about so many years ago!

  • Nov 30, 2008
  • by
In his Farewell Address to the nation in January of 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned a largely unsuspecting nation of the dangers of what he referred to as the emerging "military-industrial complex". In his new book "The American Way of War: Guided Missiles, Misguided Men, and a Republic in Peril" author Eugene Jarecki reveals that Eisenhower had originally coined what he was describing as the "military-industrial-congressional complex" but backed away from this potentially controversial term for rather obvious political reasons. "The American Way of War" takes a critical look at how our carefully crafted system of government has been undermined and subverted over the past 60 years. It is a real eye opener.

Eugene Jarecki is an award winning filmmaker, author and educator. He points to the passage of the National Security Act of 1947 as the nucleus of many of the problems we are dealing with today. The National Security Act of 1947 authorized a major reorganization of both the foreign policy and military establishments of the U.S. Government. Among other things, this legislation created the National Security Council, the Department of Defense, the Air Force and the Central Intelligence Agency. As a result of these wide-ranging changes the power to make war in this country became concentrated in the executive branch of government. This was definitely not what the Founding Fathers had in mind! In that same year of 1947 the Truman Doctrine declared that "a threat to free people anywhere is a threat to America." This was a radical change in our outlook on the world. No longer would America mobilize when necessary to address specific threats to our national security. Rather, the country would be required to remain in a permanent state of military preparedness. The scene was now set for what would emerge over the next six decades. Our Founding Fathers would be appalled!

In the ensuing chapters of "The American Way of War" Jarecki discusses how these these rather significant changes in the way our government was organized affected our approach to the wars in Korea and Vietnam and other adventures such as the Bay of Pigs and Iran-Contra. Fast forward now to 9/11. The attack on the World Trade Center presented President Bush and the neoconservatives who were in charge of national security with the perfect opportunity to implement a policy they had advocated for quite some time--the overthrow of Suddam Hussein. Jarecki seeks to explain why there was such little resistance in Congress. He quotes West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd who observed in the run up to the Iraqi war in February 2003: "On this February day as the nation stands at the brink of battle, every American on some level must be contemplating the horrors of war. And yet this chamber is for the most part ominously, ominously, dreadfully silent. You can hear a pin drop. Listen. There is no debate. There's no attempt to lay out for the nation the pros and cons of this particular war." And when you come to understand that of all the monies spent on foreign affairs in this country a whopping 93% passes through the Department of Defense and only a mere 7% through the State Department it is easy to see why Defense usually has it's way. Jarecki goes on to define what he calls "mission creep" and illustrates how the Bush administration utilized this concept to justify the war in Iraq. In addition, Jarecki explains in considerable detail why he is so opposed to the idea of privatizing functions that had been previously performed by the military and cites numerous examples of the folly of this approach. Not surprisingly, exhibit A is Halliburton.

When all is said and done I found "The American Way of War: Guided Missiles, Misguided Men, and a Republic in Peril" to be an exceptionally thought provoking book. Although Eugene Jarecki's political leanings became more apparent towards the end of the book I thought that he bent over backwards to be fair to all parties concerned.  Furthermore, I thought his analysis of the problem at hand was usually right on the money. Towards the end of "The American Way of War" Jarecki opines that what we are really dealing with these days is what he refers to as "The Corporate-Congressional-Military-Exectutive Complex".  Whatever you want to call it, what is going on at the highest levels of our government poses a real threat to our civil liberties.  The monster is out of control. Jarecki believes it's time to have an national conversation about these compelling issues and to come up with a new National Security Act that restores more power to the legislative and judicial branches of government. This is certainly a proposal worth looking at. "The American Way of War" is an extremely well written, logically laid out and meticulously documented book.    This is an extremely important book and one that I can highly recommend.

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