Another polemic from the left-leaning (now posthumously-so) pen of Lens (The Crisis of American Labor, Radicalism in...

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PERMANENT WAR: The Militarization of America

Another polemic from the left-leaning (now posthumously-so) pen of Lens (The Crisis of American Labor, Radicalism in America, and Poverty: America's Enduring Paradox). Lens berates the growth of what he calls ""the second government"" and ""the National Security State,"" which he claims makes a mockery, through its usurpation of constitutional rights, of all that America stands for. He outlines this secretive and authoritarian state in chapters that cover America's military ventures, internal espionage, and the refashioned power elite (running from the Pentagon through a civilian-militarist faction in Congress, large contractors for the Pentagon, various research and academic organizations that buttress military aims, and the leadership of the AFL-CIO). The problem that Lens sees is that we have out-Sovietized the Soviets. ""The goal was to checkmate the Soviet Union and the revolutions that the Kremlin allegedly were promoting. You did that any way you could. . .the question of legality was incidental."" The author finds most disturbing the manner in which the National Security State has co-opted dissenters: ""By a process of political osmosis the militarist Élan has seeped into important milieus which normally would be anti-establishment."" By this, Lens refers to academia, foundations, labor, and even churches. Lens tackles his subject in a methodical, cumulative fashion that is impressive, though perhaps myopic: an intriguing legacy.

Pub Date: July 24, 1987

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Schocken

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1987