How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything

How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything

Tales From the Pentagon

Book - 2016
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The first serious book to examine what happens when the ancient boundary between war and peace is erased.

Once, war was a temporary state of affairs--a violent but brief interlude between times of peace. Today, America's wars are everywhere and forever: our enemies change constantly and rarely wear uniforms, and virtually anything can become a weapon. As war expands, so does the role of the US military. Today, military personnel don't just "kill people and break stuff." Instead, they analyze computer code, train Afghan judges, build Ebola isolation wards, eavesdrop on electronic communications, develop soap operas, and patrol for pirates. You name it, the military does it.

Rosa Brooks traces this seismic shift in how America wages war from an unconventional perspective--that of a former top Pentagon official who is the daughter of two anti-war protesters and a human rights activist married to an Army Green Beret. Her experiences lead her to an urgent warning: When the boundaries around war disappear, we risk destroying America's founding values and the laws and institutions we've built--and undermining the international rules and organizations that keep our world from sliding towards chaos. If Russia and China have recently grown bolder in their foreign adventures, it's no accident; US precedents have paved the way for the increasingly unconstrained use of military power by states around the globe. Meanwhile, we continue to pile new tasks onto the military, making it increasingly ill-prepared for the threats America will face in the years to come.

By turns a memoir, a work of journalism, a scholarly exploration into history, anthropology and law, and a rallying cry, How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything transforms the familiar into the alien, showing us that the culture we inhabit is reshaping us in ways we may suspect, but don't really understand. It's the kind of book that will leave you moved, astonished, and profoundly disturbed, for the world around us is quietly changing beyond recognition--and time is running out to make things right.
Publisher: New York :, Simon & Schuster,, [2016]
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781476777863
Branch Call Number: 355.033573 BRO
Characteristics: viii, 438 pages : illustration ; 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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