Monday, January 17, 2011

Anniversary of Eisenhower's Military Industrial Complex Warning

Unpublished Letter to Editor to Plain Dealer, Cleveland

Anniversary of Eisenhower's Military Industrial Complex Warning

January 17th, 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell presidential address. His warning about the military industrial complex weight on public policy rings true today.

President Eisenhower cautioned against the temptation to respond to crisis with “some spectacular and costly action.” He stressed the need to balance national priorities. He outlined a new threat to maintaining that balance and our liberty – the combination of the immense military establishment of soldiers and infrastructure and the large arms industry.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence … by the military industrial complex. (Its) economic, political, even spiritual,” influence Eisenhower warned, existed in every city, state house and federal office. How sadly familiar this sounds today.

The military industrial complex today drives the calls for wars and occupations. It distorts our economy away from meeting human and environmental needs. And it dispenses influence and campaign contributions to keep tax dollars flowing to the military.

Today, Martin Luther King Day, is an appropriate time to recommit to changing our priorities. King’s leadership of a grassroots movement for justice and peace is worth emulating now more than ever.

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