“National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism” explores the fundamental question of whether the US military and CIA are now serving foreign policy or actually driving the policy itself.
“In this impassioned expose of the astronomical costs of America’s defense policy, former CIA analyst Goodman demonstrates how post–cold war neoconservatives . . . promoted a pugnacious militarism that has led to a string of foreign policy debacles and unprecedented levels of military spending. Few will finish this precisely argued polemic without the uneasy feeling that military spending is out of control.” — Publishers Weekly
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Truthout talked with Melvin Goodman about the military and intelligence network machine that maintains America’s empire:
Mark Karlin: Almost every political and American history follower knows of President Dwight Eisenhower’s warning against the growing threat of an expanding “military industrial complex.” He issued this alarm in a speech as he was ending his second term. What caused the supreme allied commander during WW II, a military man to the core, to come to such a conclusion. After all, it was the ramping up of US military capacity toward the end of the depression that was essential in winning the Second World War. What changed the mind of this West Point Grad and veteran of two world wars?
Mark Karlin: Isn’t our modern militaristic foreign policy, ironically, an outgrowth of winning World War II? We became a nation that represented approximately 25 % of the world’s wealth, isn’t it the tacit reality that our military and intelligence services are, in part, protecting our market position, relative standard of living for the privileged, and access to fossil fuels and mineral resources?
Melvin Goodman: I don’t agree with this Marxist interpretation of US military policy. Again, Ike had it right. We created a huge military-industrial complex, which relied on exaggerated threat perception and constantly expanding military budgets. The power of the Pentagon expanded under Ronald Reagan despite the decline of the Soviet Union. And presidents such as Clinton and Obama seemed intimidated by the military and much too willing to bow to pressure from the Pentagon on arms control and international agreements.
Mark Karlin: Given your 24-year career as a CIA analyst, you write about how the Bush administration militarized intelligence. We know about Cheney’s visits to Langley to coerce intelligence reports favorable to making the case for an invasion of Iraq. What are some of the other ways that the administration leaned on the intelligence community to make the “facts” fit the game plan?
Mark Karlin: You detail how Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice and Bush all point fingers at each other in their memoirs for the failed claims that launched the Iraq War, and the disastrous months after the occupation. But the drive to overthrow Saddam Hussein really goes back to the Project for the New American Century, which Cheney and Rumsfeld supported in the ’90s.
Mark Karlin: Is the growth of the military-intelligence community-industrial complex a bi-partisan Capitol Hill affair? Are the differences between the two parties on the growth of the Pentagon-CIA assertion of a militarized foreign policiy significant or just relative?
Mark Karlin: Why did you oppose Robert Gates, who later became secretary of defense, as nominee for CIA director in 1991? In your mind did Gates represent a new era of senior intelligence officials who would fix intelligence to achieve administration political goals?
Mark Karlin: In chapter seven, you state that “no boondoggle has been around longer and will end up wasting more U.S. taxpayer money than national missile defense.” Then why is it still an active project?
Mark Karlin: What do you mean when you refer to the “militarization of the national security state”?
Mark Karlin: Given the behemoth power of the military-industrial complex, is it safe to say that if we didn’t have an enemy, the Pentagon would invent one.
Mark Karlin: At the end of chapter six, you close with the biblical inscription in the front of CIA headquarters: “The truth will set you free.” How ironic is that?
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