The Cost of American Militarism

Segment 1: Military Spending is Making American Less Secure.

The United States is spending more on the military than ever before. Over 50% of every dollar that we pay in taxes goes to support military spending. What are the consequences and what can be done about it? To consider that question we have Mel Goodman on this edition of The Doug Noll Show. Mel is a 24-year veteran of the CIA and offers an insider’s view of the U.S. military economy. He is author of the book National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism.


Mel worked within the government for 42 years and had the highest level of security clearance. He came to the sad conclusion that there has been tremendous exaggeration of every threat we have ever talked about since the end of WWII. He argues that U.S. military spending is making American poorer and less secure. For example, the U.S. squandered an amazing opportunity to change its military spending and military procedures after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, nothing changed. The last four presidents have been scared of the military and have not known how to deal and communicate with it.


Segment 2: The Hopes of Our Children.

Mel believes the American people need to become more active and call their representatives and voice their opinions regarding national security and military spending. Americans have become ethno-centric and congress has basically been “bought” by the defense companies. Military spending is out of control and this leaves very little money to pay for domestic issues such as bridges, roads, schools, and infrastructure. President Eisenhower warned about this in a speech: we are not only spending our capital, we are spending the sweat of our laborers, the genius of our scientists and the hopes of our children.


Segment 3: Totalitarian Dominance.

Since the Ronald Reagan administration we’ve had a totalitarian dominance of foreign policy by the military. In order to reverse this we need to demilitarize the national security arena and develop a more effective state department. The oversight process of the military has gradually disappeared. Additionally, when we give the military more money than they really need, it’s a tremendous drain on America’s ability to conduct its domestic policy.


The press has abused the freedom of the press by not exercising its right to freedom. It’s very hard for a contrarian to get a voice into the mainstream media. Peace does not sell in the media. We are the strongest nation in the world with the strongest geo-political position and the only country that can project military power, and instead of using this as a bargaining chip or for leverage in some way, we continue to pour on more military aid throughout the world.


Segment 4: Increase Prosperity and Security at Home.

So how do we shift America away from a militaristic state? We start by making sure that the military is not the key instrument in foreign policy. We need to get the state department more engaged and de-militarize the intelligence community. We also need a more effective Senate Foreign Relations committee and we need to cut back on military spending. The American people need to start asserting themselves and putting pressure on their Senators to change the status quo. We need to alter our military spending policies in order to better position the U.S. globally and increase prosperity and security at home.


To listen to the entire interview:


Segment 1

Segment 2

Segment 3

Segment 4

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