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The Military-Industrial Complex:
A Reading List

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General U.S. Military:

The New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War by Andrew Bacevich. One of the leading critics of American militarism.

House of War (2006) by James Carroll is an immense chronicle of the U.S. military's amassing of power and influence from WWII to the present. As the son of an Air Force officer, he writes from the perspective of one who grew up in the military, but rebelled against it during the Vietnam War.

Permanent War: The Militarization of America by Sidney Lens (1987) may be old, but it's one of the most straightforward examinations of the topic ever written.

Roots of War by Richard Barnet (1973) is also a classic.

Imperial Delusions: American Militarism and Endless War(2005) by Carl Boggs examines the roots of militarism in American society that have had accelerated consequences since 9/11. Like C. Wright Mills and other great political scientists, Boggs' examines various aspects of American militarism, including its historical roots, and cultural, economic, and political dimensions. Boggs' next book, The Hollywood War Machine: U.S. Militarism and Popular Culture (2006, with Tom Pollard) is also a hard-hitting critique of the culture of militarism in America.

War is a Racket (republished in 2003) by Smedley D. Butler is a classic by the WW I Colonel who later led the Bonus Army veterans in protest.

Grand Theft Pentagon by Counterpunch editor Jeffrey St. Clair is a good overview of defense contractor abuses.

Saving Private Power: The Hidden History of “The Good War” (2000) by Michael Zezima (aka Michey Z) explores war profiteering in World War II.

America’s Military Today (2005) by Tod Ensign.

Full Spectrum Disorder (2003) by Stan Goff is a raw critique of the military by a former Special Forces NCO with experience in numerous operations.

The Permanent War Economyby Seymour Melman explores how we can convert the centers of military-industrial production into civilian industries and reorient our economy toward reindustrialization. Melman updated his argument in a 2003 article for Counterpunch.

How Much Did You Make on the War, Daddy? by William Hartung is an irreverent, well-researched investigation into the arms industry, its ideological backers at certain warmongering think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, and their revolving-door cronies in the Pentagon and White House.

The Profits of War (1937) by Richard Lewinsohn was the first systematic and comprehensive survey of war profiteering, with a particular focus on financiers, manufacturers, munitions-makers, contractors and speculators.


Private Military Companies:

Corporate Warriors (2003) by P.W. Singer is a revelatory exploration of the new private military corporations that have grown enormously in the past decade as a result of the privatization of military operations. The lack of any effective Congressional oversight makes their increased use in Iraq, Afghanistan, Columbia and Africa (where they first appeared) and elsewhere a potentially huge problem. For an interview with Singer go here.

The Market for Force: The Consequences of Privatizing Security by Deborah Avant is a sophisticated, somewhat academic treatment of the topic.

Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Private Army (2007) by investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill is a highly-critical examination of one of the key PMCs operating in Iraq and around the world.

Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror by Robert Young Pelton is another good book on the topic.


American Foreign Policy and Empire:

Killing Hope (updated 2004) by William Blum is the definitive history of U.S. military and CIA interventions since World War II.

American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips explains how three forces -- oil dependency, militarism and right-wing religious fundamentalism -- threaten to bring down the American republic. A masterful synthesis by the former Republican stategist whose last book, American Dynasty examined the Bush family's dark history.

Rogue States: The Rule of Force in World Affairs (2006) by Noam Chomsky.

Nemesis by Chalmers Johnson (2007) argues that the U.S. military-industrial complex is destined to destroy the American Empire. Watch this interview with Chalmers Johnson to learn more. The book is a sequel to Sorrows of Empire (2004), which argued that, with over 725 and counting military bases around the world (many conveniently located near the world's largest petroleum reserves), U.S. policymakers have used the 9/11 attacks as cover for pushing an Imperialist agenda.

Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq (2006) by Stephen Kinzer.

The Roots of American Foreign Policy by Gabriel Kolko.

The Forging of the American Empire: A History of American Imperialism from the Revolution to Vietnam, by Sidney Lens is another excellent book by the labor activist and author.

America: The New Imperialism by V. G. Kiernan.

Naked Imperialism: the U.S. Pursuit of Global Dominance by John Bellamy Foster

Resurrecting Empire (2004) by Rashid Khalidi is a powerful and lucid analysis of America's involvement in the Middle East.


The War in Iraq:

Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq by Thomas Ricks is a one of the best critical overviews of the war.

Iraq, Inc. by CorpWatch editor Prataap Chatterjee is the best expose on war profiteering in Iraq.

Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, and Corporate Greed in Iraq by T. Christian Miller of the L.A. Times is an excellent expose of the botched Iraq reconstruction project.

The Bush Agenda: Invading the World One Economy at a Time by Antonia Juhasz explains the war within the context of corporate globalization and the drive to control Iraq's oil for reasons of geopolitical strategy.

Globalization and Empire: The U.S. Invasion of Iraq, Free Markets, and the Twilight of Democracy (2006) by Stephen John Hartnett and Laura Ann Stengrim explores the deeper economic and political roots of the Iraq war and the consequences for globalization.

Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone by Rajiv Chandrasekaran exposes the incompetence of Paul Bremer and the Coalition Provisional Authority

Secrets and Lies: Operation "Iraqi Freedom" and After: A Prelude to the Fall of U.S. Power in the Middle East? by Dilip Hiro is a tough critical view of the war.

The Freedom (2004) by Christian Parenti was one of the first books to expose how the war was turning against the U.S.

Truth, Torture and the American Way by Jennifer Harbury explains how Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo are the logical result of an extended military policy.

Out of Iraq (2006) by former Senator George McGovern.

Blood of the Earth: The Battle for the World's Vanishing Resource (2007) by Dilip Hiro is another great book about the war for oil.


Other Books of Interest

The Iron Triangle: Inside the Secret World of the Carlyle Group (2003) by Dan Briody. It's hard for anyone to write objectively about the Carlyle Group without sounding like a conspiracy theorist. But Briody manages to pull it off. And his sequel, The Halliburton Agenda (2004) only reconfirms the assertion that "access capitalism" is the future if business in America.

The Terrorism Industry (1989) by Edward Herman and Gerry O'Sullivan is a prescient exploration of the think tanks and ideological institutions that circumscribe the definition of terrorism to exclude state and corporate crimes. Prescient.

IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black is the dark history of Big Blue's early collaboration with the Nazis. "IBM, primarily through its German subsidiary, made Hitler's program of Jewish destruction a technologic mission the company pursued with chilling success," writes Black, a son of Holocaust survivors. Other books that explore corporate fifth columnists include American Axis, Max Wallace's exploration of Henry Ford as a Nazi sympathizer and Saving Private Power: The Hidden History of "The Good War" (2000) by Mickey Z.

Friends in High Places: The Bechtel Story (1989) by Laton McCartney tells the story of one of the biggest Reagan-era corporate cronies, now the second biggest contractor in Iraq.


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