cover image National Insecurity: 
The Cost of American Militarism

National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism

Melvin A. Goodman. City Lights, $17.95 trade paper (446p) ISBN 978-0-87286-589-1

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[s] 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)