Review – House of War by James Carroll

The subtitle of this book is “The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power” which is pretty accurate, based on the book’s assertions.

Every so often I read a book which really makes me mad about the fucked up way that the world works, and the atrocities and madness which have been perpetrated in our names by governments. Although I am not American, I felt like the story of Australia’s post WW2-history was interwoven into so many of the events, due to our being dragged into so many of America’s conflict.

The book follows the history, political and power developments which occurred through the lifetime of the Pentagon from its construction in the second world war, through to what it has become today. Chiefly the author focuses on a number of events which occurred on September the 11th in various years, and it is certainly interesting how so many pivotal events occurred on that particular date.

The author certainly takes an anti-military industrial complex stance in the book. However, it is hard not to feel that the world may well have been a different place if it were not for military forces creating an atmosphere of fear and suspicion about what the Russians were doing in the world. What great works, or how many of the world’s problems might have been solved if billions and trillions were not being spent on preparing for a nuclear war which never came. 
I remember reading a quote a while ago, although its origin now escapes me, which goes something like this:
“How many times over do we need to be able to kill everyone on the planet with nuclear weapons? About three times should do it.”
It’s just fucking crazy, and it’s fucking madness. 
All in all, House of War is an interesting look at the relationship between the military leadership and the civilian politicians they are answerable to throughout the decades. 
4.5/5 stars

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