Thursday, September 15, 2005

Eisenhower speech, 1961

Now's a good time to be reminded of Eisenhower's military industrial complex speech. I am old enough to remember when this speech was given, though not wise enough then to appreciate its importance. Too bad we seem to have forgotten it.

Here's a few paragraphs from Eisenhower.

...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 militaryindustrial 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....
The rest is here.

One more thing. Here's a quote from Bush, from Josh Marshall:
"It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces - the institution of our government most capable of massive logistical operations on a moment's notice."


(edit. The Bush quote is not in the New York Times transcript, likely released before the speech. It is in the MSNBC version which is probably a transcript of the actual speech as it was delivered. It is in the middle of the paragraph, six up from the bottom of page 4, that begins, hilariously, "I also want to know all the facts...")

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