U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower left office in 1961 warning the American people against their own American “Military industrial complex,” the creation and development of which had been one of his primary goals as America’s military leader for World War II. If anyone was in position to know whereof he spoke, it was General, then President, Eisenhower.
But as all know that Americans aren’t famous for listening to their leaders, or to anyone, for that matter. So there has been the Korean War, Viet Nam, Iraq I, Iraq II and Afghanistan, not to mention several smaller actions and the presence of U.S. military around the world
The spending supporting all of this now exceeds the total spent by the next seven military spenders on planet earth, put together. President Eisenhower would be disappointed but likely unsurprised. His “military industrial complex” is happy.
The politicians who receive huge financial support from its representatives are happy, too. Note that they do not describe the spending as “military,” the prefer to call it “defense.” America is defending itself in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe at enormous expense. About the only place it is not defending itself at the moment, is North America.
Unfortunately, the cost of all that is borrowed, enlarging the nation’s debt since there is insufficient national income to pay for it.With interest to pay, naturally.
In Russia, whose socialist government collapsed trying to keep up with American military spending, some 20% live in poverty, a group increasing as low oil prices bite Russia’s major export. In the U.S, the Census Bureau says just shy of 15% live below that line, though the definition of ‘poverty’ in the U.S. is more palatial than anywhere else.
There seems little doubt though that Americans are destined for continued increases in that as the living standard falls in response to economic decline and growing debt that, believed or not, must be faced and repaid before long. Present military spending then, is not sustainable.
Finally, looking at Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan and the rest of the present mess, what has America bought with all the spending of lives and treasure?
Perhaps , looking at the actual results of America’s disregard for President Eisenhower’s warning , our real need for defense has been for a defense against first, our politicians and even more, against ourselves …