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National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism

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"Mel Goodman has spent the last few decades telling us what's gone wrong with American intelligence and the American military, and now, in National Insecurity, he tells us what we must do to change the way the system works, and how to fix it. Goodman is not only telling us how to save wasted billions--he is also telling us how to save ourselves." -- Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker

Upon leaving the White House in 1961, President Eisenhower famously warned Americans about the ...

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Overview


"Mel Goodman has spent the last few decades telling us what's gone wrong with American intelligence and the American military, and now, in National Insecurity, he tells us what we must do to change the way the system works, and how to fix it. Goodman is not only telling us how to save wasted billions--he is also telling us how to save ourselves." -- Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker

Upon leaving the White House in 1961, President Eisenhower famously warned Americans about the dangers of a "military industrial complex," and was clearly worried about the destabilizing effects of a national economy based on outsized investments in military spending. As more and more Americans fall into poverty and the global economy spirals downward, the United States is spending more on the military than ever before. What are the consequences and what can be done?

Melvin A. Goodman, a twenty-four-year veteran of the CIA, brings peerless authority to his argument that US military spending is indeed making Americans poorer and less secure while undermining our political standing in the world. Drawing from his firsthand experience with war planners and intelligence strategists, Goodman offers an insider's critique of the US military economy from President's Eisenhower's farewell warning to Barack Obama's expansion of the military's power. He outlines a much needed vision for how to alter our military policy, practices, and spending in order to better position the United States globally and enhance prosperity and security at home.

Melvin A. Goodman is the Director of the National Security Project at the Center for International Policy. A former professor of international security at the National War College and an intelligence adviser to strategic disarmament talks in the 1970s, he is the author of several books, including the critically acclaimed The Failure of Intelligence.


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this impassioned exposé of the astronomical costs of America’s defense policy, former CIA analyst Goodman (Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA) demonstrates how post–cold war neoconservatives, energized by the recent dissolution of the U.S.S.R. and the United States’ unrivaled position as the world’s premier superpower, promoted a pugnacious militarism that has led to a string of foreign policy debacles and unprecedented levels of military spending. Kicked into high gear by Reagan, expenditures slowed during the 1990s under Bush and Clinton, but skyrocketed after the 9/11 attacks and during the second Bush’s “ultra-expensive and un-winnable wars.” Obama, having inherited “a national security state that violate civil rights at home and human rights abroad,” promised reforms, but has been reluctant (or unable) to actively reduce military expenditures. The military-industrial complex, presciently denounced decades earlier by Eisenhower, rumbles on. The obligatory how-to-fix-it chapter contains much bipartisan, cost-cutting rhetoric, but it’s clear that the majority of both parties in Congress consider the defense budget sacrosanct, or at least immutable. Few will finish this precisely argued polemic without the uneasy feeling that military spending is out of control. (Jan. 15)
From the Publisher

"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

"'We have hundreds of military bases all over the world,' Melvin A. Goodman observes in National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism (City Lights). 'Few countries have any.' Goodman, a former Army cryptographer and a longtime C.I.A. analyst who taught at the National War College for eighteen years, is one of a growing number of critics of U.S. military spending, policy, and culture who are veterans of earlier wars."--Jill Lepore, The New Yorker

"Goodman's value added is his focus on the role of the militarization of intelligence. . . . crucial to establishing that mortal threats to America perennially loom--out there--demanding bloated military budgets and frequent wars. . . . With a convincing accumulation of examples, Goodman reveals how our political leadership's occasional impulse to arms-control accords or defense budget cuts have come to be thwarted by an ever more powerful Pentagon."--San Francisco Chronicle

"With a focus on the most recent such 'adventures' in Iraq and Afghanistan, Goodman summarizes much of what any impartial informed view of these wars, especially the Iraq disaster, must conclude -- they have been a 'monumental blunder,' as former New York Times editor Bill Keller, a former supporter, had to conclude from the evidence a decade into the war."--Steve Heilig, Huffington Post

"Goodman, currently director of the National Security Project at the Center for International Policy and an adjunct professor of government at Johns Hopkins University, has firsthand experience with war planners and intelligence strategists, and critiques the military economy from President Eisenhower through President Obama."--East Bay Express

"A 25-year CIA veteran examines how recent presidents have handled the military and defense spending. Engaging reading for those interested in foreign policy and military spending." -- Kirkus Reviews

“Melvin A. Goodman is a damn fine author, and National Insecurity is a damning assessment of U.S. defense spending and covert operations.”--New York Journal of Books

"Formidably well informed and written with exceptional clarity, Mel Goodman makes a compelling case that now is the time to return the U.S. military to its constitutional role of defending the nation." -- Robert White, Former Ambassador to El Salvador and Paraguay, and Senior Fellow, Center for International Policy

"In National Insecurity Mel Goodman shows how every president since Eisenhower has ceded authority to the Pentagon, to the detriment of our security and our democracy. But he doesn't just lament this dangerous condition -- he provides a road map for demilitarizing our security policy at abroad and at home." -- William D. Hartung, author, Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex

"Beyond his prescriptions for finally curbing the money that feeds the military-industrial complex, Goodman also recommends a national recognition that the United States must finally see itself realistically as part of the community of nations, not as a self-directed policeman."--Robert Parry, Consortiumnews.com

Praise for The Failure of Intelligence:

"An important and eye-opening account for policy makers and concerned citizens alike."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"In this study, Mel Goodman tells us that of the misunderstandings, mistakes, and misapplications of American intelligence and force that we've seen since 9/11 are nothing new -- our CIA has been at it since the early days of the Cold War. But Goodman also tells us, with fresh information and insight, about the CIA's successes in those years and, most importantly, he names names again and again. His purpose is not payback, or 'Gotcha,' but to right a dangerous wrong."—Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker

"Mel Goodman's career in intelligence has positioned him perfectly to document the Failure of Intelligence, as he has in this critical, timely book. Mel Goodman thoroughly details the Bush administration's lies and manipulations in the lead up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq, as only a CIA insider could. As the lame duck Bush Administration beats the drum for war with Iran, Mel Goodman's Failure of Intelligence is essential reading."—Amy Goodman, Democracy Now

“One of the agency's prickliest and most highly regarded analysts, Melvin A. Goodman, has given us an insider autopsy. . . . What is most valuable here is the amassing of insider details.” —Bookforum

From the Publisher
"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

"'We have hundreds of military bases all over the world,' Melvin A. Goodman observes in National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism (City Lights). 'Few countries have any.' Goodman, a former Army cryptographer and a longtime C.I.A. analyst who taught at the National War College for eighteen years, is one of a growing number of critics of U.S. military spending, policy, and culture who are veterans of earlier wars."--Jill Lepore, The New Yorker

"Goodman's value added is his focus on the role of the militarization of intelligence. . . . crucial to establishing that mortal threats to America perennially loom--out there--demanding bloated military budgets and frequent wars. . . . With a convincing accumulation of examples, Goodman reveals how our political leadership's occasional impulse to arms-control accords or defense budget cuts have come to be thwarted by an ever more powerful Pentagon."--San Francisco Chronicle

"Goodman, currently director of the National Security Project at the Center for International Policy and an adjunct professor of government at Johns Hopkins University, has firsthand experience with war planners and intelligence strategists, and critiques the military economy from President Eisenhower through President Obama."--East Bay Express

"A 25-year CIA veteran examines how recent presidents have handled the military and defense spending. Engaging reading for those interested in foreign policy and military spending." -- Kirkus Reviews

“Melvin A. Goodman is a damn fine author, and National Insecurity is a damning assessment of U.S. defense spending and covert operations.”--New York Journal of Books

"Formidably well informed and written with exceptional clarity, Mel Goodman makes a compelling case that now is the time to return the U.S. military to its constitutional role of defending the nation." -- Robert White, Former Ambassador to El Salvador and Paraguay, and Senior Fellow, Center for International Policy

"In National Insecurity Mel Goodman shows how every president since Eisenhower has ceded authority to the Pentagon, to the detriment of our security and our democracy. But he doesn't just lament this dangerous condition -- he provides a road map for demilitarizing our security policy at abroad and at home." -- William D. Hartung, author, Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex

Praise for The Failure of Intelligence:

"An important and eye-opening account for policy makers and concerned citizens alike."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"In this study, Mel Goodman tells us that of the misunderstandings, mistakes, and misapplications of American intelligence and force that we've seen since 9/11 are nothing new -- our CIA has been at it since the early days of the Cold War. But Goodman also tells us, with fresh information and insight, about the CIA's successes in those years and, most importantly, he names names again and again. His purpose is not payback, or 'Gotcha,' but to right a dangerous wrong."—Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker

"Mel Goodman's career in intelligence has positioned him perfectly to document the Failure of Intelligence, as he has in this critical, timely book. Mel Goodman thoroughly details the Bush administration's lies and manipulations in the lead up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq, as only a CIA insider could. As the lame duck Bush Administration beats the drum for war with Iran, Mel Goodman's Failure of Intelligence is essential reading."—Amy Goodman, Democracy Now

“One of the agency's prickliest and most highly regarded analysts, Melvin A. Goodman, has given us an insider autopsy. . . . What is most valuable here is the amassing of insider details.” —Bookforum

Kirkus Reviews
A 25-year CIA veteran examines how recent presidents have handled the military and defense spending. As he left office in 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower gave a farewell address in which he warned against the influence of the "military-industrial complex," theorizing that overinvestment in defense could compromise other domestic issues. Goodman (Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA, 2008, etc.) claims that in the 50 years since that speech, Eisenhower's warning has gone unheeded, especially by the four most recent presidents: George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The author takes each president to task for his particular failings in foreign policy or his dealings with the military. While the chapter on the second Bush administration and its manipulation of post-9/11 intelligence reports feels slightly rehashed, the chapters on George H.W. Bush (covering the invasion of Panama and Desert Storm and Desert Shield) and Bill Clinton (which addresses "don't ask; don't tell," as well as military incursions into Haiti, the Balkans, Somalia and Rwanda) are engrossing and thoughtful. After examining these four presidents, Goodman includes a chapter on the national missile-defense program, calling it "the most expensive and least effective weapons system in the U.S. arsenal." This program was introduced during the Ronald Reagan administration (which spent more than $60 billion to develop it), leaving readers to speculate why Reagan was not included as a president guilty of runaway military spending. Goodman waits until nearly the last page before offering "some good news in the overall picture." He offers a few words of praise for President Obama, who "does understand that the United States is far less exceptional than his opponents believe," before ending with an ominous reminder: "The age of the superpower is over." Engaging reading for those interested in foreign policy and military spending.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780872865891
  • Publisher: City Lights Books
  • Publication date: 3/5/2013
  • Pages: 456
  • Sales rank: 491,160
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Melvin A. Goodman is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy in Washington, DC and an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University. He has been a senior analyst at the CIA and the State Department as well as a professor of international security at the National War College and an intelligence adviser to strategic disarmament talks in the 1970s. He has authored several works, his most recent is the critically acclaimed "The Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA"
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