Excerpt from new book "The Military Industrial Complex at 50" http://MIC50.org
This book is the most comprehensive collection I've seen explaining what the military industrial complex is, where it comes from, what damage it does, what further destruction it threatens, and what can be done and is being done to chart a different course. The book is almost entirely a collection of remarks presented at a truly amazing event, a conference held in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2011 to mark 50 years since President Dwight D. Eisenhower found the nerve in his farewell speech in 1961 to articulate one of the most prescient, potentially valuable, and tragically as yet unheeded warnings of human history:
Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.
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 together.
The collection that follows will persuade most readers that the "total influence" of the military industrial complex (MIC) has become far more total, that the disastrous rise of misplaced power is no longer merely a potential event, that our liberties and democratic processes are in a state of collapse, and that Ike himself was disastrously misinforming the citizenry when he claimed that the very monster he warned of had been "compelled" by the need for "defense."
The MIC at 50 conference, held September 16th to 18th, 2011, was the most universally praised and appreciated conference I've been a part of. As is evident in the chapters that follow, the speakers learned from, synthesized, and inspired each other in the course of the three days. We could do worse than to schedule many more such gatherings.
But, truth be told, although I helped to organize, spoke at, and fully participated in the conference, I got more out of the speakers' remarks by reading through them while editing this book. You may be better off possessing this book than having attended. Many attendees requested that this book be produced, and my hope is that the book you are now holding in your hands or electronically scrolling through will meet their expectations.
This is a book that can be read straight through as the argument builds from analysis to action. I've kept the remarks for the most part in the order in which they were delivered. This is also a book that can be read perfectly well by jumping to the sections that interest you first. This was the agenda for the conference:
Friday, September 16, 2011, at the Haven, 112 W Market Street, Charlottesville, Va.
6:00 Authentic Afghan Dinner
Welcome by Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris
6:30 MIC in Cville and VA -- David Swanson
7:00 Dramatic Dialogue with Eisenhower, Jefferson, and Martin
Luther King Jr.
7:45 Voices of Conscience -- Ann Wright