How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything

How Everything Became War and the Military Became EverythingHow Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon by Rosa Brooks
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on August 9th 2016
Format: audiobook
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Synopsis


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.

My thoughts on this book

I found Rosa Brooks via David Rothkopf’s Deep State Podcast. As a neophyte to foreign policy, listening to the podcast has been a learning experience. I downloaded the book from Audible as I thought it might be easier to digest it by listening (and it was, at least for me it was).

Rosa Brooks is the daughter of Barbara Ehrenreich, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and, a columnist for Foreign Policy magazine. From April 2009 to July 2011, Brooks served as counselor to the Under Secretary of Defense for policy, Michele Flournoy. She is the mother of two girls and married to an Army Special Forces officer.

Her book basically talks about how the military has taken over many of the responsibilities (by which I believe she means both government and private institutions) that deal with solving global problems. I first saw this in Afghanistan when the military started building projects and assisting tribal leaders in getting money from the local government for these projects.

Her time in the Pentagon has given her insights that are amazing, she displays a level of honesty that is very compelling making this book a very thought-provoking read.

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