1. January 17, 1961, Presidential, on this day in 1961, Dwight D. Eisenhower ends his presidential term by warning the nation about the increasing power of the military-industrial complex.
2. Eisenhower expressed concerns about the growing influence of what he termed the military-industrial complex.
3. More than 50 years after President Eisenhower’s warning, Americans find themselves in perpetual war. Perpetual war represents perpetual profits for the ever expanding business and government interests.
4. Before and during the Second World War, American industries had successfully converted to defense production as the crisis demanded, but out of the war, what Eisenhower called a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions emerged.
5. This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience Eisenhower warned, [while] we recognize the imperative need for this development, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence.
6. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. Eisenhower cautioned that the federal government’s collaboration with an alliance of military and industrial leaders, though necessary, was vulnerable to abuse of power. Ike then counseled American citizens to be vigilant in monitoring the military-industrial complex.
7. Ike also recommended restraint in consumer habits, particularly with regard to the environment. As we peer into society’s future, we–you and I, and our government–must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without asking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage.
8. The military–industrial complex (MIC) is an informal alliance between a nation’s military and the defense industry which supplies it, seen together as a vested interest which influences public policy.
9. A driving factor behind this relationship between the government and defense-minded corporations is that both sides benefit—one side from obtaining war weapons, and the other from being paid to supply them.
10. In the last eight years, trillions of dollars have flowed to military and homeland security companies. When the administration starts a war like in Libya, it is a windfall for companies who are given generous contracts to produce everything from replacement missiles to ready-to-eat meals.
11. There are thousands of lobbyists in Washington to guarantee the ever-expanding budgets for war and homeland security.
12. It is not just revolving doors that tie federal agencies to these lobbyists and companies. The war-based economy allows for military and homeland departments to be virtually untouchable. Environmental and social programmes are eliminated or curtailed by billions as war-related budgets continue to expand to meet “new threats”.
13. A massive counterterrorism system has been created employing tens of thousands of personnel with billions of dollars to search for domestic terrorists.