A Warning From President Dwight David Eisenhower

by Daniel Russ on September 22, 2009


He warned us about the military industrial complex.


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

daskro September 22, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Often times Eisenhower’s farewell addressed is understood without the context of Eisnhower’s “New Look” policy and its outcome. One must take into consideration the fact that Eisenhower’s entire policy revolved around nuclear weapons as the means of deterrence, with little if any use of conventional forces. This fact is best seen in the defense and security policy differences between him and Kennedy, a President who aggressively built up our conventional forces to increase the strategic options of the United States. Further Eisenhower’s defense spending relative to GDP hovered around 10%, nearly twice as much as aggressive estimates of our current % of GDP defense spending.

Daniel Russ September 22, 2009 at 7:34 pm

44% of our Gross Domestic Product goes to defense, which includes military pensions, the VA, DAV, DHS, current wars, new weapons systems development, etcetera.

Eisenhower also said: “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”

So I take his warning on face value. I think we can spend less and get much more. And I think there are too many lobbyists in DC

daskro September 23, 2009 at 9:51 pm

You have you figures mixed up. I think you meant 44% of the federal budget goes to defense and defense related activities, which again is lower as a percentage compared to Eisenhower’s time. Back to the Military industrial complex, it’s important to bear in mind the acquisition budget (R&D and procurement combined) represents only a small portion relative to O&M, VA, as well as other agencies such as DOE, DOH, and so on. The notion of spending less writ large is an easy way of avoiding the serious issue of addressing force restructuring, garrisoning, global mobility, power projection, and myriad of other strategic challenges that must be made prior to this kind of action.

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