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Monday, March 30, 2009

Military-Industrial- And Congressional Complex

In a conversation with a friend I mentioned military-industrial complex, made famous by Ike - President Eisenhower in his farewell speech to the nation on January 16, 1961.

Friend FK mentioned that in the original speech Ike had linked the US Congress to the Complex too.

Here is the original speech and an audio link Off-site Streaming Google Video of Address and Audio mp3 of Address. It was a thoughtful farewell address full of insights and even intuition.

And here is the relevant passage from that speech (bolds are mine):
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 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.
Mentioning this speech, Michael Hornblow writes:
In an earlier draft of the address, Eisenhower used the term “military-industrial-congressional complex” but the president reportedly struck out the word “congressional”to avoid offending members of the legislative branch. The actual authors of the term were speechwriters Ralph Williams and Malcom Moos.
That was 1961. With the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to trace the reasons for this erosion of trust in the legislative arm.

Until effective and more meaningful elections reforms are undertaken, the candidates will continue to need a war chest of millions to win an election. This means a crack in the system that is exploited by by the Complex for their mutual benefit.

In the same speech Ike warned about plundering the present to rob the future. His environmental warning came way before conservation became a fad and a necessity.
Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.
The old soldier-politician had the foresight to warn against profligacy. If timely action was taken then, with the dominant US leadership role a given, the action to roll back global warming would have been underway sooner.

In the same farewell address Ike took time to speak about "mutual trust and respect." We heard it echoed recently in President Obama's video address to Iran on the eve of Nauroze. Trust and respect between the rich and the poor is what is needed most. Instead the third world ceaselessly is on the receiving end of MIC driven Haliburtonesque dichotomies:
During the long lane of the history yet to be written, America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect. Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many fast frustrations -- past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of disarmament -- of the battlefield.
With George W. Bush's neoconzix out to pasture, one hopes that Obamites would instill the world with the values Ike spoke about. Pursuit of life, liberty and happiness is in short supply. Instead the neconzix zealots saw profit in sowing seeds of distrust and suspicion all over the world.

A suspicious world distrustful of others is the right environment to sell big ticket armaments to both sides. It is time MIC Complex veers of that thinking. If the world, not the limited 'world' of US conglomerates, but the world inhabited by six billion self destructs, then Einstein's prediction about the fourth world war would come true. "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

In worldwide misery and mayhem is profit for Big Business. It is time to rob them and spread mutual trust and respect between individuals, groups and nations.


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