Forewarned but not Forgotten: The Military Industrial Complex and Government


How many American presidents have uttered a warning to the people they have ‘led,’ to the rising powers, more powerful to sway change, than a governments’?

Eisenhower, John C. Calhoun, Roosevelt… all shared their concerns. In the current climate, currently running for the top seat, Bernie Sanders; and perhaps Obama hinted at his annoyance with the big corporations when he declared his gun reforms a few months ago. When someone has nothing to lose, they tend to speak from the heart.

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“We can find the courage to get mobilized and organized.  We can find the courage to cut through all the noise and do what a sensible country would do.” Was Obama talking about the gun laws, or something larger at the very end of his speech?

Decorated military man, President Eisenhower in his farewell address to the nation, warned us of the US birth of unprecedented military power and the imbalances that may grow from it. The fact that he makes the military industrial complex a key note in his farewell speech should not go unnoticed.

His concern of growing “arrogance” and the “need to maintain balance between private and public economy,” appeared to weigh on his shoulders when considering the “dramatic expansion in [military, agriculture, research].”

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. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defence with our peaceful message and goals so security and liberty prosper together.”

But West Point graduate Eisenhower didn’t stand alone. Roosevelt once supposedly said that “presidents are selected, not elected,” and if true, gives potency to the warnings handed down to us.

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The 7th Vice President, John C. Calhoun warned us not of the military, but the corporations running the finances in his 1835 speech. The private sector of the few elite had caused enough concern in the 19th century, to become vocal about it.

“A power has risen up in the government greater than the people themselves, consisting of many, and various, and powerful interests, combined into one mass, and held together by the cohesive power of the vast surplus in the banks.” 

But what has been done about the stranglehold of the few corporations controlling the bank, food supplies, education, health and war? Even current runner for the White House Bernie Sanders has been quoted as saying:

“No matter who is elected to be president, that person will not be able to address the enormous problems facing the working families of our country. They will not be able to succeed because the power of corporate America, the power of Wall Street, the power of campaign donors is so great that no president alone can stand up to them. That is the truth. People may be uncomfortable about hearing it, but that is the reality.”

We’re not just talking about the military industrial complex, now so big, that their budget is untouchable; since 9/11, even more so with the fight against terrorism…that is now becoming a domestic issue on all Western, Middle Eastern and European fronts. It isn’t the unobstructed path to US military domination that is the crux of debate, it’s the money chain that the citizen needs to consider. Who pulls the strings if it isn’t the government? Why is the military – during economic crisis; during the Vietnam, Iraq, Korean, Afghanistan war failures – sacrosanct?

The world of finance; big corporations, the money going upstream; the imbalance that Eisenhower warned us against in 1961 rings true, now, more than ever. The pure political propaganda entertainment machine is merely our distraction to destruction.

Sources: CE, The Real News, Common Dreams, Biography.com, Telesur, The White House.gov.