>When you are rich and powerful, you
>will ALWAYS have enemies. Which means you ALWAYS need to build and maintain
>your national defense. Which means you will ALWAYS spend an incredible
>amount of money on basically nothing. (Kind of like insurance.)
Thing is, of course, this wasn't always the way. The pattern was this: you
build up your military at time of war, then you reduce the military during
times of peace, keeping enough of a force in readiness so that you're not
caught betwixt and between when something starts.
That's supposed to be the peacetime boom, when the defense budget is reduced
and that money is redirected toward the civilian sector in creating jobs,
fixing the infrastructure, building highways and cities and the like.
Now we're on a nonstop parade of military spending, no matter peace or war.
Which was exactly what Eisenhower (a republican) warned about decades ago. He
was either the one who coined the term "military-industrial complex," or he
came along shortly afterward. He saw the alliance as a bad one, one of too
much reliance at the cost of taxpayers, and was concerned that it would lead to
He was right.
This is what this Republican said in January, 1961:
"Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of
my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or
Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments
industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make
swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of
national defense; 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 conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry
is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political,
even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the
Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet
we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and
livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of
unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial
complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or
democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and
knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial
and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that
security and liberty may prosper together."
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