President Eisenhower, previously General Eisenhower of WWII fame, warned of the Military Industrial Complex in his farewell addresses in 1961.1
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
We Are Number 1!
Long ago, I renamed Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex to be the Presidential-Congressional-Military-Industrial Complex. Every President and Congress in my lifetime (that spans the entire post-WWII era) has done nothing but bow down to this bloated machine while also using it to commit aggressions around the world. All this in the name of defending America. Congress shies away from taking any real responsibility under the Constitution to declare war, but Congresspeople and Senators love to take home the gelt of defense contracts to their districts. The defense industry has so cleverly sited manufacturing plants and suppliers in virtually every Congressional district. Every President has deployed his military toys. It is not lost on me that the President flies away from the White House lawn on the Marine One helicopter to get to the Air Force One jet.
The US war budget (DOD and Dept of Energy (atomic bombs)) is more than twice the size in real terms that it was when Eisenhower made his comments.
What have we gotten for all this spending? Continuous war, aggressions, secret combat, drone murders, overthrown governments, propped up dictatorships, we’re spreading democracy everywhere. This has been going on for my entire 75 years of life…. Are we safer here in the US? We are surrounded on two sides by vast oceans and bounded north and south by countries that cannot be considered political or military foes? People doubt that we are an imperial power because our national rhetoric demands that we are a progressive, democratic force in the world. How to explain over 750 military bases scattered on every continent except Antarctica? We don’t know how many dark, secret bases and operations are hidden under the blanket of security clearances. Currently, 1.4 million people hold Top Secret access within the 4.2. million who hold some security clearance access.2
Meanwhile, we have all sorts of urgent issues that need attention.
- Eisenhower’s farewell speech is well worth a read. It is not very long. Many of its themes remain relevant. https://www.archives.gov/milestone-documents/president-dwight-d-eisenhowers-farewell-address#transcript