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The American Way of War: Guided Missiles, Misguided Men, and a Republic in…

af Eugene Jarecki

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1204173,422 (3.7)7
In the sobering aftermath of America's invasion of Iraq, documentarian Jarecki launches a penetrating inquiry into how forces within the American political, economic, and military systems have come to undermine the carefully crafted structure of our republic--upsetting its balance of powers, vastly strengthening the hand of the president in taking the nation to war, and imperiling the workings of American democracy. Surveying a scorched landscape of America's military adventures and misadventures, Jarecki's account includes interviews with leading figures in the Bush administration, Congress, the military, academia, and the defense industry. Their insights expose the deepest roots of American war making. As Jarecki powerfully argues, only concerted action by the American people can, and must, compel the nation back on course.--From publisher description.… (mere)

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For better or worse, it's obvious that this was written by a film-maker. For better, because he writes very clearly and has a good eye for anecdotes. For worse, because it's pretty disordered, sometimes overly polemical and other times overly credulous.

The best of all is the way he contextualizes the Bush administration's use of executive power in the prosecution of the Iraq war, picking out the most important changes in America's attitude towards its role in global matters (e.g., FDR, Truman, Ike) and showing how they come together in recent presidencies. The worst of all is his apparent belief that ethical standards can be found mainly in the wise words of Our American Forefathers, (particularly Madison and Eisenhower, neither of whom exactly qualify as robust moral exemplars) or, even more perversely, military strategists who more or less get their military strategy from the self-help books of the later twentieth century (John Boyd).

And you already know everything in the last two chapters: he goes through the Bush/Cheney/Perlites and their various turpitudes in an unenlightening, boring manner.

Jarecki admits at the end that his own understanding of some of his heroes was changed by his research, and that's all for the better. Now if only he could recognize that The Federalist Papers are no more divine than FDR, he'd really be on to something. ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
This is an important book, one of a very few for a popular audience that attempts to chart the rise of the military-industrial complex and the evolution of our current political imbalance among the three branches. The book often feels clunky and padded, unfortunately. Still, it is one of a very few books out there that attempts seriously to explain how the U.S., that is, us, became a militarist imperium. Worth reading for that alone, but the final chapters, where he discusses John Yoo's arguments in favor of extraordinary presidential power and suggests some starting points for reform, are also quite thought-provoking. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
Soros inspired attack on sound military policy and misunderstands the Founders. Jarecki does not deal with the failure of Obama to change the American way of war, in fact, he never deals with Obama's escalation at all. Jarecki seems to misunderstand the Western tradition of war entirely. He does not seem to be aware of Victor Davis Hanson's important works on the nature of Western warfare which was always devastating, and importantly so.

Cf. http://blogsmithconsulting.blogspot.com/2012/03/americans-war-presidents-and-911...

Limits on American Power?
http://www.librarything.com/work/5654532/edit/43172030

Or, have we not pursued national interests and power enough?
Niall Ferguson, Civilization
http://www.librarything.com/work/book/91501766
  gmicksmith | Dec 31, 2012 |
A really good, informative read. I greatly enjoyed the parts about Eisenhower. He was so right. There was quite a bit about the Bush administration, and I had never really considered how much the Bush policies were such a continuation of prior administrations. It makes one wonder what the heck the future holds..... ( )
  bermandog | Oct 24, 2010 |
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In the sobering aftermath of America's invasion of Iraq, documentarian Jarecki launches a penetrating inquiry into how forces within the American political, economic, and military systems have come to undermine the carefully crafted structure of our republic--upsetting its balance of powers, vastly strengthening the hand of the president in taking the nation to war, and imperiling the workings of American democracy. Surveying a scorched landscape of America's military adventures and misadventures, Jarecki's account includes interviews with leading figures in the Bush administration, Congress, the military, academia, and the defense industry. Their insights expose the deepest roots of American war making. As Jarecki powerfully argues, only concerted action by the American people can, and must, compel the nation back on course.--From publisher description.

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