Friday, February 17, 2012

The Invincible Military-Industrial Complex

During his 1961 farewell address, President Dwight D. Eisenhower famously warned the American people that one of the greatest threats to freedom came not from enemies abroad but from “the conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry,” which over time would lose sight of defending the United States and become devoted only to its own perpetuation.

“In the councils of government,” said the man who had commanded the Allied forces in Europe during World War II, “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.”

Today we are living Ike’s nightmare. Defense spending is not just one of the most sacrosanct parts of the budget but also one of the largest and most inscrutable. Adjusting for inflation, military spending has grown for an unprecedented 13 consecutive years and is now higher than at any time since World War II. Even excluding war costs, the military baseline budget has grown by about 50 percent during the last decade. Read More