Rosa Brooks Examines War’s Expanding Boundaries

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Media Outlet: New York Times Book Review

Rosa Brooks' new book, "How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything," was the cover of the New York Times Book Review on August 7, where it was called "psychic," "impressive," and "perceptive":

Is Rosa Brooks psychic? Her book had gone to press before the killings of July 2016 broke upon us. Did she have a crystal ball to yield an image of the ambush in Dallas in which, from a sniper’s vantage point, a veteran of the ­Afghan war in body armor machine-gunned 12 policemen, killing five? Or of the military bomb squad robot that ended the terror without the police risking more lives? Or of the ambush in Baton Rouge by a veteran who shot three policemen to death? Or of another loner in Orlando, Fla., who was able to walk into a gun shop to buy what Army Special Ops calls a “Black Mamba”? That’s a Sig Sauer MCX assault rifle capable of firing 24 bullets in nine seconds, advertised by its makers as “an innovative weapon system built around a battle-proven core.” Forty-nine people died innovatively in the ­battle-proven core of the Pulse nightclub.
All these elements of the infiltration of military weapons and methods into American life are within the broad compass of Brooks’s perceptive book, “How Everything ­Became War and the Military Became Everything.” She has seen the paradoxical effects of the inflation of metaphor on law and institutions: how the police have become more like the military, and how soldiers, in nation-building efforts, have become more like police (and farmers); how police forces have bought hundreds of armored cars from the Pentagon for “the war on terror”; how “the war on drugs” has incarcerated more than one million Americans; how large cities now have SWAT (special weapons and tactics) teams. And she has seen how a quiet word in a drone command center can end the life of a young terror suspect thousands of miles away.
In impressive and often fascinating detail, she documents that the boundaries between war and peace have grown so hazy as to undermine hard-won ­global gains in human rights and the rule of law. 

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Rosa Brooks is an ASU Future of War senior fellow at New America, working with the International Security program and the ASU Future of War project. She writes about the changing nature of warfare, the changing role of the U.S. military, and need to rethink core assumptions about the laws of war.