I was very intrigued when I stumbled on War College while browsing iTunes. The name alone creates some of that, but I wanted to know: Is it a educational podcast discussing strategy and tactics? Is it a run through of actual centers of learning for militaries? While the name fits, it’s a bit of all of that really.
Matthew Gault steers the ship on this podcast, and does a fairly good job of it. It’s a bit of a difficult task when you break it down. A lot of his guests are former military, so controlling the conversation with a retired General is easier than it sounds. One of Gault’s strengths is his ability to interview anyone from a professor, to ex-service member (enlisted or officer), member of the media, or anyone associated with a certain story.
Outside of this podcast, Gault is a contributor to the site War is Boring, which is a look at all things war, past and present. He might not be an expert on every war, conflict, or topic discussed on the podcast, but his knowledge and background make him an adept host.
When I saw this podcast was done in conjuncture with Reuters News, I was a bit hesitant. I am not a major “Main stream news sucks!” person, but with a company the size of Reuters, you wonder how much they dictate topics, what’s taken out, etc.
However, the topics are wide ranging, and from what I can tell there’s little to no censorship. The weekly podcast has such titles as “The Baby Boomers weren’t heroes,” and “How the West has aided democracy’s decline.” Doesn’t seem to be too much meddling there.
Like I’ve lauded other podcasts for in the past, the variety of focus is an asset. Within the realm of armed conflict and military, the topics can vary from focusing on which tank throughout history was best to “Magick” in World War II. Not every show will be what you’re looking for but there will be something you like.
Gault also does a good job of mixing up the scope of the episodes. Sometimes they will focus on an aspect of a major conflict, or switch to something more topical, such as the most recent one on North Korea. They also delve deep into philosophical issues, such as when they discussed why the rebuilding of Iraq has gone so sideways.
This is much like my last one where I think it suffers from thoroughness and commitment. While it’s very good, and I enjoy dipping in and out of it, the scope can limit it’s appeal. If you have any interest in war, the military, or anything in that realm, this is definitely for you.
However, I would not dismiss it if you aren’t a big fan of this topic. I think this is a great learning tool for issues going on in the modern day. If I could make it mandatory for every American to listen to the North Korea episode I would, but that would be very DPRK of me!
If you’re not a military/war junkie like myself, this might not be the podcast for you. Although, if you want to know more about modern day conflicts, this is a good one to stay updated and learn something new.