How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything

How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything

Tales From the Pentagon

Book - 2016 | First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
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The Pentagon's a strange place. Inside secure command centers, military officials make life and death decisions--but the Pentagon also offers food courts, banks, drugstores, florists, and chocolate shops. When Rosa Brooks gave her family a tour, her mother gaped at the glossy window displays: "So the heart of American military power is a shopping mall?" In a sense, yes: the U.S. military has become our one-stop-shopping solution to global problems. Today's military personnel analyze computer code, train Afghan judges, build Ebola isolation wards, eavesdrop on electronic communications, develop soap operas, and patrol the seas for pirates. Rosa Brooks traces this seismic shift in how America wages war from an unconventional perspective. She is a former top Pentagon official and the daughter of antiwar protesters; a human rights activist and the wife of an Army Special Forces officer. Her book is by turns a memoir, a work of journalism, and a scholarly exploration of history, anthropology, and law. But at its heart it is a rallying cry, for Brooks shows that when the war machine breaks out of its borders, we undermine the values and rules that keep our world from sliding toward chaos. And as we pile new tasks onto the military, we make it increasingly ill-prepared for the threats America faces. Brooks sounds an alarm, forcing us to see how the collapsing barriers between war and peace threaten both America and the world. And time is running out to make things right.--From dust jacket.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2016
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781476777863
Branch Call Number: 355.0335 BROOKS
Characteristics: viii, 438 pages ; 24 cm


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Jan 13, 2017

"You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you."-Leon Trotsky
Perhaps the only positive outcome of 9/11 is that it forced Americans to take a greater interest in the military, the intelligence community, and America's foreign policy. Many books have tried to make sense of the post-9/11 era, and Rosa Brooks's "How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything," despite its provocative title, does not add much to the conversation. Brooks's pedigree is impeccable: she's a law professor at Georgetown, a senior fellow at New America, a columnist, and has worked at the Pentagon, the State Department, and for Human Rights Watch. So she knows what she's talking about, but the book covers familiar ground and offers no new insights. It lacks a focus and strong thesis and it jumps all over the map, with some anecdotes from her own experiences clumsily woven in. Her voice, while informed, adopts a somewhat jaunt tone at times, which belies the gravity of the subject. I also think the famous Clausewitz quote about war ("War is nothing but a continuation of politics by other means.") comes up 3 times. My favorite out of context quote, about Lindsay Graham, who is "nowhere near as dumb as he tries to appear." Some more helpful books in navigating the treacherous waters of our current era: "Dirty Wars," "Drfit," "Ghost Wars," and "Black Flags."


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