ADDICTED TO WAR -- WHY THE U.S. CAN'T KICK MILITARISM (UPDATED TO INCLUDE THE WAR IN IRAQ)
Author's Preface to the 2004 Edition
I wrote the first edition of Addicted to War after the U.S. war against Iraq in 1991. The major news media had been reduced to wartime cheerleaders, and people in this country had largely been shielded from the ugly realities of the war. My aim was to present information difficult to find in the mainstream media, and to explain America's extraordinary predilection to go to war. Ten years later, events compelled me to update the book. The September 11 attacks provided an opportunity for George W. Bush to declare a "War on Terrorism," which in practice turned out to be an endless binge of war-making. The second edition was published in early 2002, following the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. The Bush Administration then turned to preparing for a new war against Iraq. A thin rhetorical veneer about combating terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction hardly concealed its underlying aim: to impose a new U.S. client regime in the Middle East and assure control over a country that has the world's second largest known oil reserves. As the present edition goes to press, the U.S. is occupying Afghanistan and Iraq. In an effort to quell armed resistance, the U.S. military is taking the harsh punitive measures against the civilian populations of both countries, feeding a spiral of violence that has repercussions around the world and is placing us all in greater danger.
This book chronicles over two centuries of U.S. foreign wars, beginning with the Indian wars. During this time, America's machinery of war has grown into a behemoth that dominates our economy and society and extends around the globe. Although the Bush Administration has been particularly bellicose, this country's addiction to war began long before Bush came to power and will undoubtedly survive his departure. The costs of this growing addiction are now being felt more acutely at home. Soldiers and their families are paying the heaviest price, but everyone is affected. Skyrocketing military spending is contributing to huge government deficits, causing sharp cuts in domestic programs, including education, health care, housing, public transport, and environmental protection. At the same time, the "War on Terrorism" is being used as an excuse to step up police surveillance and erode our civil liberties. I hope this book will spur reflection and debate about militarism, and encourage creative action to change our direction.
It's impossible to thank all of the people who have contributed to the creation of this book here. Instead, I will mention only three: My mother, Carol Andreas, who introduced me to anti-war activities; my father, Carl Andreas, who first encouraged me to write the book; and Frank Dorrel, whose tireless promotion made a new edition both possible and irresistible.
Joel Andreas, May 2004
I first read the original 1992 edition of Addicted to War three years ago. I located the author, Joel Andreas, and convinced him to update the book. In 2002, I published a new edition with the help of AK Press. The response has been tremendous. Since then, over 100,000 copies have been distributed in the United States. Addicted to War is being used as a textbook by many high school and college teachers. Peace organizations are selling the book at anti-war rallies, teach-ins, and smaller events. It is showing up in schools, churches, and public libraries. More and more bookstores are carrying it, including progressive independents, national chains, and comic book stores. Individuals are ordering multiple copies to give to friends, co-workers, and relatives. I have received thousands of calls, email messages, and letters from people telling me how much they love this book!
A Japanese translation of Addicted to War has sold over 70,000 copies and editions in Korean, German, Spanish,. Danish, Thai and other languages have been published or are in the works. There are also plans to make an animated documentary film based on the book. All these versions will help get the book's anti-war message out to greater numbers of people around the world.
I want to thank Joel Andreas for giving us a powerful educational tool that reveals the sad and painful truth about U.S. militarism. Thanks to Yumi Kikuchi for her support and for making the Japanese edition of Addicted to War possible. We are honored that some of America's most courageous peace educators and activists have endorsed the book. Special thanks to my friends, to my family, and to S. Brian Willson, for supporting this project from the beginning.
Finally, I want to thank you -- the reader -- for your concern about the issues addressed in this book. I encourage you to use it to help bring about a change of consciousness in this country. Please consider taking a copy to a teacher who might use it in class. Take a copy to your church, synagogue, or mosque. Send one to your congressperson, city council member, or someone in the media. Show it to friends and family. Education is the key. It's up to each of us to do our part. People around the world are counting on us to end our country's addiction to war.
Frank Dorrel, May 2004