Thursday, December 23, 2010

Size and Influence of the Military-Industrial Complex 3

We continue with further illustrations of President Eisenhower's farewell address.
When President Eisenhower left office in 1960, he was very concerned about what would happen to American freedoms with the existence of a large standing army and armaments industry.

With this in mind he made a farewell address similar to Washingtons' at the end of his second term as President.  We continue with excerpts from Eisenhower's speech.

"This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience."
click to enlarge
click to enlarge
Was Eisenhower right in his assessment of past American history?  Let us see.  The chart on the left represents the size of the American Army throughout American history beginning from the American Revolution.  You will notice that up until World War I, the size of the Army was reduced dramatically after a war ended. After World War I, the United States began to keep an ever larger peacetime army.  But what about manufacturing?  Was it true that before World War II the United States did not have a full time military industry infrastructure?  Here is a list of the top 20 weapons manufacturers worldwide today.  Most of the companies did not originate until after World War II.  Some did however.  Boeing is a classic example of what Eisenhower said in his speech.  It started before World War I and made warplanes for the United States during World War I.  But after the war there was such a surplus of left over military planes that aricraft companies could not sell any planes,
Because of this, many airplane companies went out of business, but other companies, including Boeing, started selling other products. Boeing built dressers, counters, and furniture, along with flat-bottom boats called Sea Sleds. 
After World War II the country did not go back to a peacetime economy.  This permanent preparedness for war continued.   The country was on a permanent wartime economy, at least according to Eisenhower.  He saw no alternative to this, but he viewed it as a danger, a grave danger.

"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 saying this Eisenhower was completely correct.  Every state is affected by this spending.  Every city, township, county, etc.  This chart should be sufficient.  The information comes from PBS.  Just so we understand the high stakes in this money game, an average hospital today costs about $12,295,660 million.  If we take a just half the amount spent on defense in a small state like Wyoming, they could build three fully equipped hospitals a year.  In California, with just half the defense budget you could build 100 fully equipped hospitals a year.
(click to enlarge) Defense Budget by State 2009

"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."
To Eisenhower defense and liberty were two polarities that had to be balanced.  This meant to him they were at natural tension to each other.  The more security came at a sacrifice of liberty.  The more liberty came at the cost of security.  We can see this tension highlighted today by the high security measures being taken in surveillance and security and see how this might be affecting our freedoms.  There must be a balance between these two things.  Of course "balance" is a matter of perspective and opinion.  But this is for the American people to decide.  One thing that cannot be said according to Eisenhower.  He did not think that the way to have more liberty, the country had to be more secure.  He did not think that the way to have more security was through more individual liberty.

What would Washington and Jefferson have thought about this present state of the military?  Let us hear their words.  What did Washington think of a "large" standing army?
Altho' a large standing Army in time of Peace hath ever been considered dangerous to the liberties of a Country, yet a few Troops, under certain circumstances, are not only safe, but indispensably necessary.
What would Jefferson have thought of this?  We quote from an interesting article written by Thom Hartmann about Jefferson's views on this subject when he was president.
"It is more a subject of joy that we have so few of the desperate characters which compose modern regular armies," he wrote, pleased that his army had taken on a different nature during his tenure as President, just completed five years earlier. "But it proves more forcibly the necessity of obliging every citizen to be a soldier; this was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free State. Where there is no oppression there will be no pauper hirelings."
He noted that so-called "voluntary" armies depend upon a "pauper class" for their existence. By the end of his presidency (1808), Jefferson had largely done away with America's standing army, and he was thus inspired to write to his friend Dr. Thomas Cooper, on September 10, 1814, that "our men are so happy at home that they will not hire themselves to be shot at for a shilling a day. Hence we can have no standing armies for defence, because we have no paupers to furnish the materials."
In history, Jefferson found justification for his opinion. "The Greeks and Romans had no standing armies," he wrote in that letter to Monroe, "yet they defended themselves. The Greeks by their laws, and the Romans by the spirit of their people, took care to put into the hands of their rulers no such engine of oppression as a standing army. Their system was to make every man a soldier, and oblige him to repair to the standard of his country whenever that was reared. This made them invincible; and the same remedy will make us so." 
We shall leave you with this film which came out several years ago during the Bush administration speaking of the Military-Industrial Complex titled, Why We Fight. It is an hour long and it takes jabs at former President Bush, but the facts should be considered in general, since they apply to all administrations since Eisenhower. If you cannot see the video in its embedded form, here is the link:


Amaterasu101 said...

Money.  It's all about money.  What We NEED is free energy to eliminate the need for money.  Without profit as motive We will not be incited into wars.

Money merely represents meaningful energy expended in an energy-scarce society.

Electrogravitics offers overunity ("free energy") but was pulled into black projects at the end of the 1950's.  Let us spread the awareness that We have the tech NOW and can rid Ourselves of the soil (money) in which the root of all evil (the LOVE of money) grows.

Sign the petition and spread it to everyOne: 

Stew McGregor said...

Unfortunately, Eisenhower was going to be right all along. The nuclear armaments of the world is outsourced to major American companies hiding under the cloak of aircraft hardware manufacturers.