Moral Outrage
Whew! God help us!

Eisenhower’s worst fears have come true

The Iraq and the Afghan wars are costing America $3 billion a week.

It is not democracy that keeps western nations at war, but armies and the interests now massed behind them. The greatest speech about modern defense was made in 1961 by the US President Eisenhower. He was no left-winger, but a former general and conservative Republican.

Looking back over his time in office, his farewell message to America was a simple warning against the “disastrous rise of misplaced power” of a military-industrial complex with “unwarranted influence on government”. A burgeoning defense establishment, backed by large corporate interests, would one day employ so many people as to corrupt the political system. This lobby, said Eisenhower, could become so huge as to “endanger our liberties and democratic processes”.

I wonder what Eisenhower would make of today’s US, with a military grown from 3.5 million people to 5 million. The western nations face less of a threat to their integrity and security than ever in history, yet their defense industries cry for ever more money and ever more things to do.

The cold war strategist, George Kennan, wrote prophetically: “Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial complex would have to remain, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented.”

There is no strategic defense justification for the US spending 5.5% of its gross domestic product on defense. or Britain 2.5%, or for the NATO “target” of 2%.

[Excerpts from The Guardian]

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