53 Years To The Day That Eisenhower Warned Of The Military-Industrial Complex, Obama Will Further Its Cause

from the sad dept

Fifty three years ago today, President Dwight Eisenhower gave his famous speech warning of the military-industrial complex. It’s quite a speech, and well worth reading, listening to or watching. But, the famous lines are the ones that still rings true today:

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 together.

The White House claims that it’s a mere coincidence that President Obama has chosen the anniversary of that speech to give his speech, outlining what are expected to be merely cosmetic reforms to the NSA’s surveillance efforts, still convinced that even if the programs are incredibly broad and powerful, that it’s okay since he won’t abuse them.

The folks over at EFF have put together scorecard of NSA reforms that the President should announce. You can play along at home and check off which ones the president actually supports, but I wouldn’t rush to sharpen your pencils. You’re not going to see too many checked boxes on this chart.

Eisenhower noted that a true leader is focused on the goals of a free society, understanding technological change, and the influence of corporate interests, but keeping focused on the larger goal of protecting freedom:

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system — ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

The current president would do well to reread and to think about Eisenhower’s words, but it appears that is not likely to happen.

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Comments on “53 Years To The Day That Eisenhower Warned Of The Military-Industrial Complex, Obama Will Further Its Cause”

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35 Comments
Ray says:

Re: Re: Re:

And Romney would have made a difference? I am sorry but I believe that any candidate from either party will cave to the strains of influence already within the system to keep the machine rolling. Who would have thought Obama would have continued mass surveillance. We need a candidate that will shake up the system. I like Anonymous Cowards comments below yours

Anonymous Coward says:

when someones goal has changed from politician to becoming the head of a country, that is seen as sensible ambition and Obama achieved that. i fear his ambitions have grown to much greater heights now and if not reined in will cause more conflict than he or the security forces of the US ( i say in this way because he seems to have little knowledge of what they are doing or is managing to hide his knowledge because he is at the root of what they are doing) are able to contain. that outcome is one that we must surely resist because there will be very few choices open afterwards.

Me says:

I voted for Obama twice, but even I can’t watch this speech tonight in real time, lest my heart give way. The guy has lied about every aspect of these programs in order to continue the violations of our most fundamental civil liberties and Constitutional rights. The President is a traitor to the Constitution, plain and simple. The DNC can kiss my campaign contributions good bye.

musterion (profile) says:

Also in that same speech

is another warning:

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite.

This one seems to get overlooked.

Seegras (profile) says:

Re: Re: Also in that same speech

Yes, fire the meteorologists and climatologists in the hurricane warning centres!

(any other stupid ideas on how to deal with scientists that try to warn you from impending doom? And if you haven’t noticed: if you pump energy in to a system, the first thing that happens is behaving chaotically. And “behaving chaotically” for the climate means “storms”. The abundance of hurricanes is actually a very clear indication of global warming. The scientists at the hurricane warning centres are actually at the forefront of that “global warming crowd”).

Anonymous Coward says:

Another Important Part of Speech

Another, less publicized portion of Eisenhower’s referenced speech is just as/if not even more important/prescient:

“The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite.”

The longer the so called “legal” monopoly on force/violence that is the State is allowed to exist, the ever closer we come to naked scientific/technocratic totalitarianism.

While I know there isn’t a lot that each of us can do alone to impact the leviathan State head on, we can choose how we live our lives and with whom we associate with. As I prefer consensual relationships and voluntary exchange, I choose not to break bread with individuals that support the institution of violence that is the State. Even more importantly, I advocate peaceful parenting; because violence is learned from our parents and our early childhood experiences (with up to 90% of parents in the USA still assaulting [“spanking”] their children before 1 year of age).

Adhering to two rules: Don’t Hit (the initiation of force is immoral, self-defense is valid), Don’t Steal (respect for self-ownership derived property rights). That’s all it takes to begin to turn this thing around.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Another Important Part of Speech

Yep, don’t discipline “spank” the children until they hit one of those Zero Tolerance policies right? Just call the police to taser them and toss’em in jail. That works out so much better.

Humans are better than common animals, but we still have the same problems. We learn through reinforcement. You want a kid to act right, then teach them early that small violations get a talking, moderate ones get a whoopin, and serious ones takes your freedoms away! What good is a system of ‘learning’ if you cut out the entire middle ground and keep only the minors & extremes?

Pragmatic says:

Re: Another Important Part of Speech

As I prefer consensual relationships and voluntary exchange, I choose not to break bread with individuals that support the institution of violence that is the State.

Good for you, man, that means you’re the only one doing so.

Let me tell you something you can’t bear to hear: there is no way of imposing the kind of idyllic hippiedom you seem to be advocating on the system we have now. The state, in and of itself, was created by the people for the people when the Constitution was enacted, and is therefore not the institution of violence in and of itself.

If we didn’t have a state, we’d invent it, simply because there are some functions that individuals and groups require that they can’t provide for themselves and can’t rely on private enterprise, etc. to provide for them.

If you see taxation as theft, you’re guilty of it every time you turn on your lights, because the government provided the electronic infrastructure for them. Every time you walk outside – ’cause guess who built the roads? What right do you have to walk on our roads that we paid for, or use the electronic infrastructure that we pay for, or anything else that we paid for – and still call us thieves?

Pay for what you use or live in a tepee in the middle of nowhere with only candles to light your way.

If there’s anything I can’t abide, it’s a hypocrite.

– a taxpayer.

Ninja (profile) says:

There are stones placed along the Japanese shoreline placed by the ancestors that scientists say it’s the maximum where your worst tsunami will hit. That’s history teaching people how to do it right and being completely ignored (see the last tsunami destroying entire cities that actually should not be there).

It seems it’s a human habit whether it’s Asians, Arabs or “Westerns” to ignore the wisdom history teaches us and fuck up anyway. Except the Japanese will only have to rebuild material losses.

hglhjg says:

Re: Re:

although I see where your point is. I think your writing has gaps as I have poignant points similar to yours to express. I THINK diving into a intellectual argument or debate is great I WOULD also like to keep respect to having not only factual data to back up my point which you say you have done; I would also like to keep the writings fluid and to the level that they are expressed on. ie: history teaches us to do right but on the same token don’t fly off the handle and quote niche when you are living in the Bronx and acting like so. hahahahha

Grasshopper (profile) says:

20th/21st century Presidents

Seems like as time goes on and history has a chance to do it’s thing…… the two best Presidents since 1900 are (arguably) Truman and Eisenhower. Different parties, but not such a different ideology. Their common tie is that both were born in the Great Plains states….. Missouri and Kansas to be precise.

ECA (profile) says:

Dont know who to listen to any more..

http://www.notable-quotes.com/c/corporations_quotes.html

Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Progressive Principles

eisenhower fan says:

nwo

We let the good times roll so hard in this country we failed to see how much work has been put on us and culture. Our brains arent 100 percent gone so use the little you have left and educate yourself, and have deep discussions with the ppl around you. Youll be shocked at how you been living a lie your whole existance, and your parents couldnt even warn you because work was put on them. War has been declared on all of us. Time to wake up.

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