Steve Weismann: Rethinking the Military-Industrial Complex

Ike's warning about the military industrial complex was a two edged sword. (photo: wikicommon)
Ike’s warning about the military industrial complex was a two edged sword. (photo: wikicommon)

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By Steve Weissman, Reader Supported News, 15 August 2013

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hen President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned his fellow Americans about the dangers of the military-industrial complex, he did both good and bad. As a widely respected military leader, he made it possible for ordinary citizens to challenge the Pentagon’s growing power in so many aspects of our economy and foreign policy. But, by focusing on the military, Ike misdirected our attention away from other, often more important segments of Big Money’s collaboration with Big Government.

No question, the military chiefs, the manufacturers who supply and then often hire them, and the members of Congress who take political contributions from the armaments industry or look to lucrative careers as lobbyists for them all work together as a standing lobby for incredibly wasteful Pentagon budgets. The same groups also support the endless fear-mongering, whether of the old Soviet Union and Red China, the newly capitalist Russians and Chinese, al Qaeda terrorists, or whatever other threat appears to justify massive spending and – as we now see – massive surveillance.

But let’s get real. Most of us could make a good case that Big Oil exercises far more influence on our imperial foreign policy than do the Big Brass and their merchants of death. Major oil companies are top Pentagon suppliers, I know, but selling fuel to the military is not why they try to control the lion’s share of the world’s oil and natural gas. Nor do most people have the oil companies in mind when they talk of the military-industrial complex.

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