Author, Former CIA Analyst Mel Goodman with Strong, Informed Criticism of Many Obama Policies; Leah Bolger of Veterans for Peace has Mixed Feelings About Women in Combat

by Peter B. Collins on January 29, 2013

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Melvin A.  Goodman, former CIA analyst, now a professor and author, was an honest critic of Bush, and applies the same standards to Obama; Leah Bolger, president of Veterans for Peace, on the Pentagon decision to lift the ban on women in combat.Goodman’s important new book is National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism.  Goodman spent 18 years at CIA as an analyst who ran the Soviet office, then 6 years at the State Department.  He taught at the National War College and Johns Hopkins University.

Building on his last book, Failure of Intelligence, Goodman is a sharp critic of the militarization of the CIA and other intelligence agencies, and of the politicization of intel.  He served with Robert Gates, and publicly opposed his nomination to run CIA in the 1990′s.

In the new book, he offers historical context to his analysis of Obama’s first term.  He thinks Obama has been too deferential to his generals, and he shares many of PBC’s concerns about the expansion of presidential power, including the drone and targeted killing programs, domestic surveillance, and failure to investigate and prosecute crimes under BushCo.  He has some strong views about the recent movie Zero Dark 30 and its depiction of torture as the source of the information that led to bin Laden, about the treatment of Bradley Manning, and the punishment of John Kiriakou.

Goodman generally supports Chuck Hagel’s nomination to run the Pentagon, but continues to be troubled by the promotion of John Brennan to head CIA.

Goodman is highly critical of the missile defense or “Star Wars” program, and has some excellent ideas for cutting as much as $ 1 trillion from Pentagon spending.

At about 55 minutes into the podcast, we are joined by Leah Bolger, president of Veterans for Peace.  Bolger served 20 years in uniform, and has mixed feelings about the decision to lift the ban on women in combat.  She supports the equal employment aspect of this move.  But she has strong concerns about the epidemic of sexual assault in the military and the general attitude toward women.  And she raises the larger question about the wisdom of training women and men to go to war.  An interesting discussion of some of the nuances of the issue that don’t get covered in corporate media.

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