Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ike and the military -industrial complex

National Public Radio has an interesting piece regarding President Dwight Eisenhower and the military-industrial complex, a term he used on Jan. 17, 1961, when he gave the nation a dire warning about what he described as a threat to democratic government. He called the military-industrial complex a formidable union of defense contractors and the armed forces.

Recall that Eisenhower was a retired five-star Army general, the man who led the allies on D-Day. He made the remarks in his farewell speech from the White House.

Here's an excerpt:
"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."

Speaking at the Eisenhower Library last year, then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates — who kept a portrait of the former general in his office at the Pentagon – talked about America's insatiable appetite for more and more weapons:
"Does the number of warships we have, and are building, really put America at risk, when the U.S. battle fleet is larger than the next 13 navies combined — 11 of which are our partners and allies?

Is it a dire threat that by 2020, the United States will have only 20 times more advanced stealth fighters than China?

These are the kinds of questions Eisenhower asked as commander-in-chief. They are the kinds of questions I believe he would ask today."
There is more to learn, here.