I think it beyond dispute that the present administration has run in exactly the opposite direction that Ike warned against--into the arms of the military-industrial complex itself. Indeed, it is often hard to tell where the government of the United States leaves off and the board-rooms and directorships of leading armaments, strategic supply corporations and energy speculators begins. The revolving door opens on K Street, Capitol Hill, Wall Street and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. We have, in fact, become precisely what Ike feared: a nation whose economic solvency and international relevancy has been pegged to more or less perpetual warfare.
We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
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.
--Dwight David Eisenhower
Interestingly, this administration seems to have tightly clasped to its breast the very next warning in Ike's speech -- one less remembered. As with much that smacks of subtlety (or simply comprehension), the NeoCons have hewed to the letter and mistaken the meaning:
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite.Well, we all know how scared we're supposed to be of the (very narrowly defined) elite. In rejecting almost all science, however, these last 7.5 years of Republican rule have set a new standard for willful ignorance. But more than that, this administration has actively sought out the good science in government service and snuffed or silenced it. It's remarkable, really.
There are so-called banana republics who survived less looted by dictatorships than our public trust has been despoiled by villains we willfully chose.