Fortress America: The American Military and the Consequences of Peace

William Greider, Author
William Greider, Author PublicAffairs $22 (202p) ISBN 978-1-891620-09-6
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
Expanded from his three-part series in Rolling Stone (for which Greider is national editor), this important critique calls for rethinking America's global military strategy and substantially scaling back the size of our armed forces. According to the author, despite the Soviet Union's dissolution, the U.S. military--unchecked by a complacent public--remains committed to maintaining its enormous scale and structure inherited from the Cold War. Greider's eye-opening report underscores the massive redundancies of weapons systems and casts doubt on the alleged economic benefits of defense spending, as more and more U.S. weapons manufacturers move production and jobs overseas. Despite huge domestic layoffs and a wave of mergers and consolidations in the U.S. military-industrial complex, American taxpayers, he contends, bear the burden for astronomical overpricing, government subsidies, defense plants lying idle with overcapacity and hundreds of millions of dollars in federal ""reimbursements"" that Clinton and the Pentagon allowed defense contractors to collect against projected future savings, a reward for restructuring. The U.S. spends $260 billion every year on defense, both Democrats and Republicans project hefty increases, and the Clinton team aggressively pushes weapons sales to Central Europe, Latin America and other Third World nations. Greider (Who Will Tell the People) contends that this lays the groundwork for future conflicts. He further argues that the globalizing economy offers the U.S. a historic opportunity to build a world around economic equity, social inclusion and human rights, instead of supporting repressive regimes such as China and Indonesia. He finds support in three very different voices--conservative Republican Arizona senator John McCain, former Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart and ex-Reaganite political scientist Michael Vlahos--all of whom favor military cutbacks and an end to America's role as imperial policeman. Agent, Janklow & Nesbit. (Nov.)
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