The American Way of War: Guided Missiles, Misguided Men and a Republic in Peril
by Eugene Jarecki
Free Press / 2008
Eugene Jarecki (pictured below) carries forward the exploration of the pervasive influence of the "military-industrial complex" in American culture presented in his powerful 2006 documentary Why We Fight. The publisher describes The American Way of War as
a penetrating and revelatory 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. This is a story not of simple corruption but of the unexpected origins of a more subtle and, in many ways, more worrisome disfiguring of our political system and society.
While in no way absolving George W. Bush and his inner circle of their accountability for misguiding the country into a disastrous war -- in fact, Jarecki sheds new light on the deepest underpinnings of how and why they did so -- he reveals that the forty-third president's predisposition toward war and Congress's acquiescence to his wishes must be understood as part of a longer story
In his farewell address 47 years ago, President Eisenhower identified the "conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry" as both new and far- reaching. Its influence was not just military but "economic, political, even spiritual" thus involving "the very structure of our society."
Bringing to light the connections through which the military-industrial complex extends its influence throughout American culture is what made the Why We Fight documentary so effective. The "spiritual" aspect -- broad but very real ways -- comes through with depth and poigniance. If The American Way of War reinforces and extends the quality of analysis found in the documentary, it will be an exceptionally valuable book.