I bought this book recently, realizing full well, that it was already out of date. It was published in 1998 by William Greider - a journalist and political writer with a sophisticated economic slant on the national and world situation. I read one book by Mr. Greider and then decided to read all of the books that he has published.
This book “Fortress America” was written during a period in Modern American History that may, in retrospect, be considered a time warp. It was after the disassembling of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Russian Empire and before 9/11. It was written during that brief period of time when the American government was looking at a balanced budget and what was assumed to be a ballooned, anachronistic Military Industrial Complex looking for an viable and justifying enemy. The Cold War had suddenly vanished. Our enemy of nearly the last hundred years was vanquished and now standing in line for American assistance - in the new Capitalist welfare world. The political talk around the Nation was of a “peace dividend”. At long last it was no longer necessary to keep expanding our Military Industrial Complex which had been necessitated by World War II, justified with the fall of the Iron Curtain, and expanded paranoiac proportions ever since. Finally the Military Complex could be simplified - money could be given back to the taxpayers or recycled to enhance social responsibility or national well-being. But this would be easier said than done and “Fortress America” was a book designed to highlight that problem. Trying to stop the growth and expansion of the Military Industrial Complex was like trying to stop a rushing locomotive or to skid an Aircraft carrier at full sped ahead to a halt - or maybe more realistically like trying to stop a avalanche in progress or turn back a tsunami.
During this brief moment in time the United States was suddenly dumping tanks into the ocean and sinking battle ships to make fishing reefs in the ocean. We were giving away battleships and aircraft and selling weapons of all sorts at ten cents on the dollar. It was like a military clearance sale or going out of business give away. But overall the whole idea was impossible. Trying to cut back on the Military was like trying to become less pregnant. War ships had to be maintained, crews had to be trained, modern computer technology couldn’t be moth-balled - it had to be used. Not only did it have to be used it had to be upgraded and improved.
Cutting military preparedness sounded good but in the short run it was nearly impossible, and in the long run things didn’t look that much better. As strange as it might seem it might just as well have been easier - politically and economically -to start another war.
Of course, Mr. Greider didn’t say this. He established in “Fortress America” exactly what I had expected that he would. He detailed the expense and the costs; he outlined the enormous difficulties; he pointed out the political pressures and he closed with an array of positive suggestions on how an economic “peace” could be attained while down-sizing and converting the huge Military Industrial Complex into a quasi Military/Consumer Complex. Just as the Consumer Industrial Complex was gradually converted into the World War II Military Industrial Complex now the time had finally come to start the reverse process. It would be difficult and it would take bold political leadership and courage but ... with the advent of 9/11 all of Mr. Greider thoughts and suggestions will no longer be necessary; for better or worse war and the threat of future war have been re-established. It will - from this day forward - be business as usual. It seems at this day in the year 2006 the Military Industrial Complex is alive and well; there may even be a revived new style nuclear arms race.
At the end of this book Mr. Greider has a number of quotes by a Senator McCain on how America should avoid “foreign entanglements” and wars of moral righteousness - which all seem so very interesting when one considers what Mr. McCain will be saying in a year or two from now. Actually most of what he says is rather revealing when read today - but it should sound even more ironically sad in 2008.
I ordered this book knowing that it would not contain a picture of the future America. I bought it because I knew that it would be filled with numbers and the dollars and cents of the exorbitant and wasteful costs of the Military Industrial Complex. I figured that this might be the last time - for a long time - that I might find such numbers displayed so openly.
I’m thinking that this book by Mr. Greider may become a collector’s item. A few years from now it will probably be inconceivable to think that there was ever a time when the theme of this book - How to Downsize the Military Industrial Complex - was ever a serious topic for political discussion. This book is already an historical classic. Another like it will not appear in my life time - maybe never ever again. Once again we have been saved from the horrible prospects of “peace”.
Books by Richard Edward Noble. Click on covers below for more info and purchasing instructions.
Classic Tragic Novel
Don't Laugh - This Could Have Been Your Life
Funny stories and some strange characters.
Monkey Dishes and Cocktail Fawks
My Harrowing days in the restaurant business. Great Read.
It's a Long Story
Long Short Fiction - Great stories!
Bloggin' Be My Life
"Bloggin' be My Life" contains a selection of some of my more popular Hobo Philosopher blogs.If you enjoy reading this blog, you should love Bloggin' Be My Life.
It's All About Love
It's All About Love is ... all about love. This is the 2nd book of poetry from The Bard From Chelmsford off Arlington. Every poem in this book comes with a prose introduction. If you enjoy poetry this is a simple choice. Have fun!
A Little Something
Traditional poetry from The Bard From Chelmsford Off Arlington with some poignant prose introductions. If you enjoy any type of poetry, you will enjoy this volume. Thanks.
Talking To Myself
This is my third book of poetry.
Bits and Pieces
The Hobo Philosopher - My first book using the Hobo Philosopher brand. Featuring a variety of writing styles and ideas. Look for the Thoughtful Hobo on the cover.
A Baker's Dozen
The Hobo Philosopher: My Second book of Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction and Short Stories. All varieties of short stories - lots of laughs!
Cat Point - and Them Dang Oyster People
Cat Point is the sequel to "The Eastpointer." Both books contain humorous tales about life in a fishing community on the Florida Panhandle. Lots of laughs.
Won 1st Place award for humor in 2007 from Florida Press Association. More wit, wisdom and humor from the yet to be world famous author, R.E. Noble
A Summer with Charlie - Lawrence
Fiction - Salisbury Beach, Lawrence, Mass. Featured in Merrimack Valley Magazine July /Aug. issue 2010
Travel, Humor, Commentary on migrant farm work and illegal immigration still very pertinent today.
"Just Hangin' Out Ma"
Thank God for the Street Corners of Lawrence, Mass. Anecdotes and humorous escapades about growing up in an industrial mill town in the 40s,50s and 60s.
This is the sequel to "Just Hangin' Out, Ma"
That Old Gang of Mine
This is # 3 in my Lawrence Hometown series. The series is about growing up in the 40's, 50's and 60's in an industrial mill town. Sorta like a Huck Finn goes to vist Uncle Ralph, the bus driver, who lives in a big, rundown city. Lots of fun.
Come On-A My House
This is # 4 in my Lawrence Hometown series.The old homested at 32 Chelmsford ST is pictured on the cover..
Down By The Old Mill Stream
# 5 in the Lawrence My Hometown series.
Standing on the Corner is # 6 in the lawrence My Hometown series.
The old Howard Playstead on Lawrence St.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
# 7 in the Lawrence my Hometown series.
Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother
Classic tragic novel written from child's perspective. Deals with abuse, poverty, unemployment. Pulls no punches.
Noble Notes on Famous Folks
Humorous, satirical notes on everybody from Constantine to Bill Clinton. Inspiration: Willy Cuppy.
America on Strike
History - documented survey of labor strikes in America
Mein Kampf - An Analysis of Book One
Who are the American Nazis - the Liberals or the Conservatives?
MY NAME IS RICHARD EDWARD NOBLE. I AM A FREELANCE WRITER AND I HAVE PUBLISHED 12 BOOKS:"THE EASTPOINTER" - SELECTIONS FROM AWARD WINNING NEWSPAPER COLUMN - "A LITTLE SOMETHING" - POETRY WITH PROSE -"HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER" - A NOVEL ABOUT GROWING UP IN THE NEW ENGLAND MILL TOWN OF LAWRENCE, MASS, "HOBO-ING AMERICA" - A WORKINGMAN'S TOUR OF THE U.S.A. - "A SUMMER WITH CHARLIE" - THE STORY OF A YOUNG SAILOR'S LAST DAYS AT SALISBURY BEACH, "NOBLE NOTES ON FAMOUS FOLKS" - HUMOROUS ANECDOTES ON FAMOUS FOLKS IN HISTORY,
"AMERICA ON STRIKE" HISTORY BOOK - A SURVEY OF LABOR STRIKES IN AMERICA; "A BAKER'S DOZEN" A BOOK OF HUMOROUS SHORT STORIES; "JUST HANGIN' OUT, MA" - GROWING UP IN THE 40'S, 50'S AND 60'S IN LAWRENCE, MY HOMETOWN, "TENEMENT DWELLERS" - SEQUEL TO JUST HANGIN OUT, MA; MEIN KAMPF - ANALYSIS OF BOOK ONE - HISTORY. CAT POINT - AND THEM DANG OYSTER PEOPLE - SEQUEL TO THE EASTPOINTER
All 12 BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM, BARNES AND NOBLE AND OTHER INTERNET SOURCES OR FROM NOBLE PUBLISHING. ALL 12 OF MY BOOKS ARE NOW ON KINDLE AT BARGAIN PRICES TOO. IF YOU WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT DISCOUNTS AND SPECIAL OFFERS E-MAIL ME. MY EMAIL IS ON MY PROFILE PAGE.