The US military-industrial complex (1939- ) is made up of the Pentagon, its armed forces, the universities that do its research, and the US businesses that make its bombs, bullets, planes and so on. What was a necessity in the early 1940s during the Second World War became a habit-forming mix of money and war, so that now, in the 2010s, the US seems sunk in endless wars.
And yet neither of the two main political party speaks out against it. Not even billionaire “outsider” Donald Trump. To the contrary, he wants to increase military spending by $54 billion in 2018 – even though the US already spends more on the military than the next ten countries put together.
In 1953 President Eisenhower said in his speech “Chance for Peace”:
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
“This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
“The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this:
- a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.
- It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.
- It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.
- It is some 50 miles of concrete pavement.”
These days in the US only the fringe left still seriously talks like that. Yet Eisenhower was a five-star general, a war hero, a centre-right Republican president.
Eisenhower as president kept the country out of any big war and cut military spending. The air force and army said he was being soft. In 1960 Senator John Kennedy ran for president and championed their cause, frightening voters with talk of a “missile gap” that never was. He won.
In 1961, Eisenhower said in his “Farewell Address”:
“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. … But now … we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.”
This was “compelled” by the rise of world communism:
“We face a hostile ideology – global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration.”
World communism is no longer a threat, yet now world jihadism is seen is almost the very same way, almost word for word. How odd.
Eisenhower warned that such a huge war machine is a threat to democracy:
“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.”
As proved by the Vietnam War just years later.
– Abagond, 2017.
- Martin Luther King’s Riverside Speech against the Vietnam War
- Vietnam War
- The three pillars of US racism
- The term “terrorism”
- deep state