It's as if a giant octopus has wrapped its tentacles around the body of America and is smothering any attempts at honest dissension, rejection or even debate over the never-ending promotion of war. That octopus, the ultra powerful military-industrial complex, is the tight-knit combination of the U.S. government, the armed forces and the industrial sector.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in his farewell address in 1961, warned that, "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."
This was a Republican president and the former Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe that achieved victory over Hitler's powerful war machine in World War II. This famous general, because of his long military career, might have been thought to be a war hawk but he certainly was not. He was a brilliant war strategist but he knew from personal experience the horrors of war and that it was not a thing to take lightly.
Eisenhower also knew all about the military-industrial complex from his experience in the military and in leading our nation and our government. He knew exactly the dangers it posed as evidenced by his very strong, emotional remarks in that farewell address almost 50 years ago. He was issuing a warning about the perils of this massive war-making machine, fearing that, without proper restraints and controls, it would evolve into exactly the highly influential, powerful forces that it is today.
In this regard, we need to examine how the tragedy of 9/11 and the attacks on the World Trade Center have drastically changed America. As I see it, there were two separate effects that the tragedy of 9/11 had upon the people of America and subsequent actions by our government.
The first effect in the aftermath of 9/11 was the shock and horror that it brought to all Americans. This was an extremely traumatic event, like no other ever experienced within our shores. That a group of terrorists (most all, by the way, were Saudi Arabian citizens) could so brazenly enter our country and wreak such damage and suffering on this nation was unthinkable. But, while we must not and will not forget this tragic event, we cannot let it dominate our lives or our future.