The date: January 17, 1961. The speaker: President Dwight David Eisenhower. Political party: Republican! Occasion: IKE's farewell address to the Nation.
Though Eisenhower had distinguished himself as a great military general, leader of the Allied troops during World War II, and was seen as an honest man who voiced advocacy for peace. His run for the Presidency was expected, and he won handily. He brought an end to the Korean conflict. His message was one of conciliation and peace. He was concerned about what he saw evolving in the United States. Up until World War II, the U.S. was never viewed as a military-focused nation. But a huge war machine had been built to fight the War, and the corporations in this nation would never again accept a back seat to anybody. Military and military-related corporations viewed themselves as special, and special meant deserving of special treatment, special taxes, special favors, and a dominant voice in domestic and foreign policies. This new development in the U.S. greatly worried Ike. And as he left office, he specifically warned the American people about this growing power within the U.S. Quoting from his farewell address...
"This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence - economic, political, even spiritual - is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
"We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper."
Can you imagine those words coming from any of today's Republican leaders? Can you imagine Republican President George W. Bush writing or saying that? Can you imagine the horrible lies of the Bush-Cheney administration even putting anything like that into context today? Can you imagine the Vice President of the United States, Dick Cheney, being called from military-industrial giant Halliburton, where he served as CEO, to lead the no-bid contracts for the illegal war in Iraq making such statements?
You and I live in a different America today. We are not informed, and we choose not to be informed. We are little toy pieces to mouth the military-industrial complex's line so they can get anything they want. And we vote some of these sleazy, manipulated people into office. Shame on us! America has lost its way.