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It represents an aspiration rather than a fact. It will never define reality. Responsibility for this unhappy circumstance does not lie with one side or the other but with both.

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As with the poor, the competition for power will be ever with us. Somewhere around or , Americans began awakening to the real implications of having deep-sixed the citizen- soldier.

Eisenhower warns us of the military industrial complex.

Inside the Beltway, it became apparent that the United States was con fronting the problem of too much war and too few warriors. With few allies stepping up to the plate to help, the Pentagon turned increasingly to mercenaries, a. Outside the Beltway, it became apparent that the American people retained very little say in the employment of an army over which they had forfeited any ownership.

They will continue to employ that military as they see fit. This can only happen by resuscitating the tradition of the citizen-soldier. In Washington, people will wring their hands over the unseemly state of relations between civilian and military elites, as brass hats and politicians maneuver against each other for advantage.

The problem for the rest of us is a far greater one: grasping the implications for our democracy, moral as well as political, of sending the few to engage in endless war while the many stand by — passive, mute, and whether they like it or not, deeply complicit.

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He feared that companies would decide what to do based on the hope of getting a government contract, as opposed to trying to make products that people would buy willingly in the marketplace. The spinoff story is exaggerated. President Eisenhower was looking at this in the fifties when he observed the risk.

What was the exciting, high-tech industry of the time? Jet aircraft.

The Military Industrial Complex: The Enemy From Within | HuffPost

New, exciting, and related to the military. The military was buying a lot of jets, and we were entering the era of commercial jet travel. The Boeing is the hero story for the spinoff people. The government does basic research. Private companies do applied research. You have to decide how far the plane will go, how fast, how many passengers, will it be quiet or noisy, and how much fuel will it use. The question for Boeing was, were they better off competing in the commercial aircraft market selling their because they also had military aircraft contracts at the same time?

Were they helped by developing the products in parallel? Not really.

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The military was such a powerful customer that Boeing really had to tailor their products to military requirements — and they had to pay attention to the military first. JOHN C. In , the French were in agony over Dien Bien Phu, and there was tremendous pressure on Eisenhower to intervene.


Eisenhower realized General Ridgway was against the incursion, and so what did he say to him? Think of the difference from the way things work nowadays. What would it cost to go in and intervene in a real way in Indochina? I find this absolutely breathtaking that the man was rewarded. Anyway, the number came back from Ridgway. Does he call in a neoconservative decisionmaker, a Democratic hawk, a nation builder? No, he calls in the Secretary of the Treasury.

What will that mean for two of those three promises? The thing that Eisenhower got right is the notion that economic strength is the ultimate lodestar of national power. The main reason for ambitious American behavior lies less in the military-industrial complex than in political developments beyond it.

Big money behind war: the military-industrial complex

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