The Military Industrial-Complex

Dwight D. Eisenhower

The article, “The Military Industrial-Complex”, was actually President Eisenhower’s farewell to office speech. Given in 1961 President Eisenhower delivered a speech that began with traditional words that contained a warning with far-reaching implications. It has become known as the "Military-Industrial Complex" speech.... and refers to the tangled relationship between private corporations, armed forces and federal government. This was actually the Presidents farewell speech as he was preparing to leave office after an eight-year term. He speaks of his relationship with the congress even before he became President, that it was not a strong one that seemingly grew through wartimes to post-war and became a closely related one.

The speech takes on an air of subtle warning. Eisenhower believed that we were a rich and powerful nation, even though we had been caught up in worldly military struggles/wars we still emerged as a strong, wealthy nation. He warned that, with great responsibility of wealth and power, should come the knowledge also of how to use it in the interest of world peace and the betterment of mankind. America’s basic purpose was to keep the peace, to help others in their struggles to maintain or achieve liberty and freedom. He warns to guard against spending on huge unnecessary project to find the miracle cure for what ails the world. Even at this he speaks of America’s military might and how it has grown. That since WWII we have developed a military industry for the production of weaponry, where there was once the maker of the farm plow. Understandably these things are necessary, but the danger lies within there must be a balance in its influence. Economically, politically and spiritually it influence is felt throughout the country. He knows that it is necessary, and recognizes the grave implications that it has on the very structure of our society. Beware of unwarranted and unsought influence of the military-industrial complex, and the possibilities of misplaced powers.

I felt that Eisenhower’s vast military experience coupled with his Presidential tenure gave him a vast insight of what could possibly happen. He was totally aware of the flaws and possible potential of greed of the development of a multi-million dollar industry, the war industry. That if not held at bay could run wild use public monies. He had a vision and hope for peace and not war, he had witnessed the agonies that war left behind. He wanted the power of intellect and peaceful settlement for issues that addressed mankind.

Unfortunately the things that Eisenhower feared came to past. For everyone interested in how his/her tax dollars are spent that information is easily found. Under the title of “Center of Defense information”, you can find a list of our military might, the weapons we have and the defenses we have against other weapons from our enemies. The increase in defense spending in enormous. In a recent article of January 30, 2004, reporter Jeremy Pelofsky reported, “The Bush administration will ask Congress to boost spending on missile defense by $1.2 billion next year and nearly double funding to modernize the Army in the $401.7 billion U.S. military budget for 2005, according to Pentagon documents released on Friday.” (Rueters) This is an potent example of what Eisenhower was speaking of, military spending gone wild. The other problem is that the developers of military might has no conscious as to who they sell their weapons to. The question is whether or not you have the money to pay for it.