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"The U.S. military-industrial complex, as we have known it, is in the process of devouring itself, literally and tangibly. The awesome interlocking structure of armed forces, industrial interests, and political alliances that has sprawled across American public life and purpose for two generations cannot endure for long," writes Rolling Stone correspondent William Greider in the introduction to Fortress America. Although shorter than his previous books on the Federal Reserve and the global economy, Fortress America is vintage Greider: strong reporting and sharp analysis on a topic of current and compelling interest. Greider doesn't address U.S. defense strategy so much as the perverse economics underlying the American military establishment. Costs and commitments forever escalate as basic military readiness deteriorates. The Pentagon continues to request next-generation fighter aircraft and Congress agrees to fund them even as fundamental training exercises go wanting. The problem isn't that the United States will lose its next war, but that massive waste and incredible redundancy make national defense a pricey behemoth. Greider calls for a fundamental reordering of priorities; this is an argument Washington--and, increasingly, the public--cannot ignore. --John J. Miller [via]