On Jan. 17, 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower gave the nation a dire warning about what he described as a threat to democratic government. He called it the military-industrial complex, a formidable union of defense contractors and the armed forces.
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 has emerged.
Eisenhower, a retired five-star Army general, the man who led the allies on D-Day, made the remarks in his farewell speech from the White House.
Eisenhower used the speech to warn the US public about "the immense military establishment" that had joined with "a large arms industry." and which he felt was getting out of control and threatening the US democratic instetutions.
In an effort to control the expansion of the military-industrial complex, Eisenhower consistently sought to cut the Pentagon's budget. The former general wanted a budget the country could afford. He upset all the military services with his budget cuts, especially the Air Force.
Adjusted for inflation, US national security spending has more than doubled since Eisenhower left office. Year after year, the defence budget seems to rise – irrespective of whether the country is actually fighting major wars, regardless of the fact that the Soviet Union, the country’s former global adversary, has ceased to be, and no matter which party controls the White House and Congress.
Fast forward to 2016, where the US "defence" budget stands at a staggering $600 BILLION.
It would appear that Ike's warning went unheeded by the American people, resulting in this huge and inflated US military industrial complex, who has vast amounts of influence in Washington thorough it's powerful lobby.
It is not a stretch to believe that this armaments industry — which profits not only from domestic sales but also from tens of billions of dollars in annual exports — manipulates public policy to perpetuate itself.
But Eisenhower was concerned about more than just the military’s size; he also worried about its relationship to the American economy and society, and that the economy risked becoming a subsidiary of the military.
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