Rachel Maddow

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rachel Maddow, host the Emmy Award–winning "Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC, talks about the rise of executive authority and the gradual outsourcing of war to private contractors, and argues that this distances the American people from the human and financial costs of war. In Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power, she makes the case that the priorities of the national security state have been allowed to overpower our political discourse. She'll also talk about the upcoming election, politics, and her show.


Rachel Maddow

Comments [23]


Operation Iraqi Freedom. Now check this out

Apr. 01 2012 04:57 PM
Peter Talbot from Harrison, NJ

A bright lady, but questions abound despite her rhetorical gifts. Questions for Ms. Maddow (and all of us) to ponder:

American internal popular political debate regarding American military "adventuring" did not begin until the newspaper wars (Pulitzer/Hearst vs. the Trib/Times)caught up to McKinley, Root and Hay in 1901. The sting that Root, Hay, Dewey, Taft and other Teddy Roosevelt colonial administrators (PR, Cuba, Philippines, Tianjin, Panama) took for American imperialist expansion was substantive but more a result of huge changes in US domestic demographics (and the need to sell papers) than any real "political discourse".

What did we learn?

The big stick is too heavy for a democracy to wield effectively due to changes in administration. Wilson destroyed what Taft setup and ended up empowering the Sugar and Fruit monopolies. He did this simply because Taft was a Republican.

The American people don't care about any project or cost that goes on longer than a story cycle in the newspapers: two months at most. The vast ignorance, parochialism and pettiness of the electorate and their monumentally slavish representatives in Congress is such that no American adventure overseas to "build nations" is ever more than laughable: Cuba, Vietnam being salient cases in point.

Americans like to think their team is a winner. This means constant stories of punctual victories over straw men, a dependence on keeping costs out of the publics' eye, and the increased use of deniable mercenary actors (including the intelligence services) to effect public policy.

Public policy is entirely related to election cycles. Obama's mewling to Medvedev should not surprise, and was identical to the Bush family's seances with the Saudis.

Rachel seems to think that public debate is laudable and would improve the efficacy (perhaps even the morality) of American state action. She is right about the ever expanding rubber band of executive power. The fact that the Patriot act is still with us, that illegal rendition on suspicion alone is now "legal" despite the Constitution, that Guantanamo is still open, and that we are still exposing our young people to another cold winter with RPG's and IED's in Afghanistank to avoid a tongue lashing from the tea baggers are all positive proofs that the President is a time-server looking to extend his lease on the big house as his prime objective.

Could it be any different? Rachel seems to think so. The evidence is to the contrary: American leadership is doing exactly what the pollsters tell them they can get away with. No more, no less. Ethical behavior? American values? Religious convictions? All irrelevant fantasies now. The Constitution is being abrogated by every branch of government. All people may have been created equal, but some are clearly more equal than others according to everyone that haunts Washington.

Mar. 30 2012 11:43 AM
shm224 from New YOrk

did I just hear her say, Oh, LBJ didn't want to start a war, but had no choice. Then she turned the table around for Reagan and accused him of lying and his henchmen coming to his defense..

This is hilarious!!!

Mar. 30 2012 09:00 AM

Rachel is a disgusting human being on the purported left who is just as much a sell out as the neocons.

Never forget the time she first donned her camouflage, pranced around and sucked up to the U.S. military. Haven't paid a scintilla of attention to her since.

Mar. 30 2012 12:20 AM
Theresa from Brooklyn

Erm, her dad was an officer in the US Air Force.

Mar. 29 2012 12:47 PM
Deborah from Hell's Kitchen

Thank you, Rachel, for keeping us informed about all the attacks on women's health and personal sovreignty. This is truly a public serice.

Mar. 29 2012 12:38 PM
Calls'em from Here, there & everywhere

Can you ask the guest about her family's long term connection to the Communist Party in the US and her socialization as a socialist or communist when she was young? I believe that her dad, granddad or an uncle or great uncle was a member of the Communist Party and black-listed in Hollywood. BTW - I watch and enjoy her show. She is clearly one of the smartest and funniest quasi-news people on TV. I just don't think that she believes half of what she says. She's a paid spokes person for the left. Her attacks on the right are cute, but are often extenuated to lengths that no sensible person - left, right or middle can believe. She is funnier than Colbert without trying to.

Mar. 29 2012 12:34 PM
astro from still on Earth unlike some.

the efforts to destabilize the middle east is a program of unofficial material support, coordination and training by Clinton's head and activation of a program designed by the Bush II administration to use technology to mobilize destabilizing efforts. as far as covert actions, we have a history of this since the American revolution and are our most effective tactical tools.

Mar. 29 2012 12:31 PM

Astro: I believe the US Military is in fact the largest.

Mar. 29 2012 12:30 PM
Bartelby from Red Hook, NY

I'm wondering if you could ask Ms. Maddow about the often unrecognized byproducts of the *kinds* of growing wars she's discussing. That is, it isn't just the complacency about perpetual war, but it seems to me there's a growing acceptance about the kind of counter-insurgency wars that we're increasingly fighting. As a consequence, there seems to be a kind of wartime trauma - through being involved in secrecy, covert operations, and torture - that's very grave, but rarely discussed. I believe Ms. Maddow once referenced the book "None of Us Were Like This Before" to make this point.

I would very much like her to speak about this point.

Thank you.

Mar. 29 2012 12:29 PM
john from office

I find this woman very sexy!!!Oh God!!!

Mar. 29 2012 12:24 PM

Can Ms. Maddow explain why the expression "nation building" has come out of favor in Washington? When it is still what their foreign policy aims for anyways? IE this tradition of propping up regimes that Washington finds favorable to fight those which it does not.

Mar. 29 2012 12:22 PM
Hugh Sansom

I remember Tom Foley on camera outside the House chamber shortly after the news of Iran-Contra broke. Foley said he thought they might be looking at "impeachable offenses." That was the last time I heard a member of Congress mention the possibility of impeachment, though Reagan had clearly violated the Constitution and his oath of office.

Today, despite the vitriol often seen in Congress, it is utterly unimaginable that Congress might challenge a president's war-making. They'll impeach over a dalliance with a White House intern, but not over constitutional violations.

Mar. 29 2012 12:22 PM

Did the low casualty numbers of the 1st Golf war have something to do with a new executive mentality that wars are acceptable to the US population as long as not too many soldiers die. Didn't George W Bush say something to that affect in his mission accomplished speech?

Mar. 29 2012 12:16 PM
Forgotten War

Regarding the debate Congress undertook before entering WWI: Remember during the Great War, literally tens of thousands would die in one day in one battle (the British alone lost 20,000 men on the first day of the Battle of the Somme). Military casualties, though number does not diminish the fact that every death counts, are much lower in scale compared to the major wars of the past.

Mar. 29 2012 12:15 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

What about the "unintended consequences" on the issue of "invisible warfare" of the abolition of the draft, and the creation of the all-volunteer army?

That change in our society was a legacy of the left who, correctly (but ironically) complained about the unfairness of how the draft was applied (ironic, because it was largely the sons of the educated -- the "left" that got the deferments for college, etc.), but didn't appreciate how the burden would then shift to those segments of our society that had the least to lose in going into the military -- those with less glamorous options in life.

Mar. 29 2012 12:15 PM
astro from Earth grounded not like Ms.Maddow

the Chinese military is the largest on earth not the US.
this author searches out for individuals with similar views if she seriously think that most are disturbed by the state of conflict. Todays conflicts are the least bloody in history and the earlier we involve in conflicts the more successful at stemming atrociousness and threats.

Mar. 29 2012 12:14 PM
Laura from UWS

Didn't General Smedley Butler say much the same thing in the 1930s in "War is a Racket"?

Great segment. Thanks.

Mar. 29 2012 12:14 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

I think the Left, and particularly the left-wing media have caused hysteria and make it think that what is going on is something relatively new. But in fact, Jefferson led us into war back in 1801 to fight the North African Muslim pirate states. We have been fighting wars for over 200 years. None of what is happening now is new. And America was stone broke after the Revolutionary War and still had to fight the pirates to engage in commerce in the Mediterranean. Congress reluctantly created a navy against its best instincts, because it was decided we could not engage in trade without a navy. Read "Jefferson's War" by Joseph Wheelan.

Mar. 29 2012 12:12 PM
Jeenee from nyc

I think that the wars are like the Gladiator Colosseum of Roman times.

Something to distract the "folks". Our "folks" are out fighting the non citizens.

Mar. 29 2012 12:11 PM
Benny from UES

I've followed Rachel since her Air America days. Her fact-based, reasoned articulate approach is refreshing in today's media landscape. I do wonder if she has ever considered going the direct "journalist" route rather than the progressive slant? Rachel is one of the few you can trust on television.

Mar. 29 2012 12:06 PM
Linda from Jersey Shore

I posted this comment on HuffPo about an hour ago. It sums up how I feel pretty well. <<“Read the preamble online at amazon and can't wait to read this book. One insight that I had after 9-11 was seeing my little town have all this new equipment that didn't seem to make sense to me. They strutted around with mega trucks with all the bells and whistles (now aging re-tooled suburbans). Who was going to do what in those trucks? Ride to the next terrorist attack?
Rachel is brilliant and expresses what many of us were wondering about for years. But of course if we said anything we were "anti American">>

Mar. 29 2012 11:49 AM
Political Pop

I just want everyone to know I will not vote this year? WHy? Exactly...

Mar. 27 2012 07:49 PM

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