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Tue Apr 17, 2012, 11:24 PM

Why the hell didn't anyone heed Eisenhower's warning about the Military Industrial Complex?

Just over 50 years ago, in his Presidential farewell speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us about the potential for the Military Industrial Complex to harm our democracy.

With the military budget now flirting with the trillion dollar mark, it just seems somewhere down the line since 1961, someone could have used this to curb the insanity.

You would think they would have listened to the General who won WWII, right?
It's not like he was a left-leaning peacenik like me






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Reply Why the hell didn't anyone heed Eisenhower's warning about the Military Industrial Complex? (Original post)
FlaGatorJD Apr 2012 OP
msongs Apr 2012 #1
elleng Apr 2012 #2
newfie11 Apr 2012 #10
guitar man Apr 2012 #3
RobertEarl Apr 2012 #5
Peace Patriot Apr 2012 #7
RZM Apr 2012 #9
hifiguy Apr 2012 #17
Peace Patriot Apr 2012 #22
RZM Apr 2012 #23
Spider Jerusalem Apr 2012 #21
hifiguy Apr 2012 #16
Historic NY Apr 2012 #4
Laura PourMeADrink Apr 2012 #6
Selatius Apr 2012 #8
FlaGatorJD Apr 2012 #14
cali Apr 2012 #11
baldguy Apr 2012 #12
The2ndWheel Apr 2012 #13
lonestarnot Apr 2012 #15
FlaGatorJD Apr 2012 #18
Arugula Latte Apr 2012 #19
Golden Raisin Apr 2012 #20
DutchLiberal Apr 2012 #24
smoking357 Apr 2012 #25

Response to FlaGatorJD (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 11:25 PM

1. politicians are "paid" to promote and increase the power of the MIC. end of discussion nt

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Response to FlaGatorJD (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 11:27 PM

2. Money

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Response to elleng (Reply #2)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 06:30 AM

10. BINGO!

An that is why it continues on and on. Big Big money to be made. The pain, suffering, and destruction is beyond a sociopath's capacity to understand.

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Response to FlaGatorJD (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 11:28 PM

3. Somebody did

and he was shot for it

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Response to guitar man (Reply #3)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 11:45 PM

5. JFK

RFK, MLK.

All the opposition has been eliminated. It is what the DoD is built to do, isn't it? Eliminate the competition. They are just doing what they were built to do, right?

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Response to guitar man (Reply #3)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 03:04 AM

7. I agree. JFK was assassinated for his efforts at world peace...

...which included...

--refusing to support the CIA invasion of Cuba and vowing afterward to "smash the CIA into a thousand pieces" for lying to him about it;

--refusing to annihilate Soviet Russia with nuclear weapons during the Cuban Missile crisis (--the entire MIC pushed hard for it, and thought the U.S. had "missile superiority" and would "win" with only a few hundred thousand casualties on the east coast; JFK was horrified and had only one ally in that fight, his brother, RFK);

--removing U.S. military bases that threatened Soviet Russia from Turkey in exchange for Russia's removal of missiles from Cuba (ending that crisis);

--opening backchannels to Krushchev and Castro (to get around the CIA) to end the Cold War and all the "little wars";

--beginning the de-escalation in Vietnam (just before he was killed; three days after he was killed, LBJ said, "Now they can have their war"--he was referring to the CIA and Vietnam);

--the "Nuclear Test Ban Treaty" (very first effort to limit nuclear weapons)--another result of JFK's backchannels to Krushchev;

--the Russia "wheat deal" (helping Russia to prevent mass starvation after a failed wheat crop);

--his implied desire to "beat swords into plowshares" by directing military resources at space exploration;

--and probably his support for civil rights for black citizens (racism related to militarism/fascism).

Within the space of five years, MLK and RFK were assassinated as well, and the Vietnam War was raging.

----

Highly recommended: James Douglass' recent book, "JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters." Best book on the JFK assassination and on WHY.

------------------------------------

By the time Eisenhower uttered those famous words--in his last weeks in office--the MIC was already poised to destroy our democracy and did so with alacrity as soon as they were challenged. The pity of it is that JFK was planning to lay his plans for world peace before the American people in the 1964 election and would have won hands down. LBJ ran in his stead and did so on a peace platform and won one of the biggest landslides in presidential history on the issue of PEACE. But LBJ was lying--he was quickly escalating the Vietnam War even as he spoke of peace and painted his opponent as "trigger happy." JFK would not have been lying.

I remember the 1964 election very well. It was my first vote for president. I voted for peace--and got death instead: two million Southeast Asians, and almost 60,000 U.S. soldiers. The horror of it was beyond belief. And what was that war FOR? It was not for oil, as we have lately seen. It was a pure WAR PROFITEER war.

We have never recovered from that. We've been on a war footing ever since, and, though the MIC had to bide its time, due to the domestic revulsion at the Vietnam War, there was no demobilization, as there should have been, and the MIC gathered strength with every administration afterwards, and proceeded with illegal wars (for instance, the war on Nicaragua) and "little wars" (like Grenada), and escalating to the Iraq War, the first outright corporate resource war. Meanwhile, the MIC and the CIA and collusive administrations were supporting horrible fascist dictatorships in Latin America, where hundreds of thousands of people were tortured and killed and the Pentagon began planting a thousand military bases around the world.

We are in the complete thrall of the MIC today but I don't know that there was anything we could have done about it in 1959 (when Eisenhower spoke out). We had just emerged from the horrible "McCarthy era" (a "communist" under every bed)--a scary and extremely jingoistic era. And we should remember that both JFK and RFK were "Cold Warriors" to begin with. It wasn't until the Cuban Missile Crisis that they understood the madness of the MIC. They changed (as Douglass so brilliantly documents) and began looking for ways to avoid Armageddon, to de-escalate the war on "communism" (which had become a war on socialism and leftism) and to create a safer and more just world. When they and MLK were murdered, it sent the people of the U.S. into a tailspin as to our ability to exercise democratic control of our government.

I think we have more prospects for serious reform now than we did then. The MIC and our transglobal corporate rulers are so out of control that they may trigger their own demise. Frankly, I think they did so with their "final control" on the American people: the 'TRADE SECRET' voting machines, now 80% owned and controlled by one, private, far rightwing-connected corporation--ES&S, which bought out Diebold. The sorts of people that ES&S is putting into office--like this Scumbag Congress and certain governors, completely unrepresentative officials--is going to wake people up, eventually. Their permitting Obama to be elected was a clever move--a means of getting us all to forget the horrors of Bush Junta war crimes and financial crimes--but the bad guys are obviously still in control, and, in trying to break us entirely, they are arousing rebellion. I hope the rebellion attacks the 'TRADE SECRET' voting machines as a first priority but who knows what the "straw" is going to be, that "breaks the camel's back"? How much can the American people take?

We need to dismantle the MIC and all big corporations--pull their corporate charters and seize their assets for the common good. It seems impossible but, if what is happening in Latin America is any guide, after all those folks have suffered, it is NOT impossible. It is our right. We are a democratic people. And it is our legacy. We started the democracy revolution worldwide. Now we need to reclaim it. And I have never, ever lost faith in the American people that we will do so.



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Response to Peace Patriot (Reply #7)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 03:45 AM

9. Like most JFK conspiracy theorists, you fail to link any of this to the actual assassination

 

A lot of it is flat-out wrong too. JFK was a cold warrior just like everybody else in the establishment at the time. He partially built his name that way ('missile gap,' for instance).

He CARRIED OUT the CIA invasion of Cuba. Granted, it was planned in the previous administration, but he gave the green light.

The Jupiter missile removal from Turkey was a token gesture to save Soviet face. The missiles were obsolete and already scheduled for removal. The US retained impressive tactical and strategic advantages even after the removal.

JFK never intended to 'end the Cold War' though 'backchannels.' You're straight up pulling that out of your ass.

It's amazing you think you can speak on these issues using such blatant falsehoods that fly in the face of established facts.

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Response to RZM (Reply #9)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 10:44 AM

17. If you haven't read the Douglass book, which documents

in excruciating detail everything that Peace Patriot discussed, it is you who are talking out your ass. Douglass cites thousands of primary documents in support of his analysis.

Educate yourself.

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Response to RZM (Reply #9)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 05:14 PM

22. James Douglass does all the linking necessary in his exhaustively researched book.

He nails the CIA up to Richard Helms. He makes an overwhelmingly convincing case against them, not only on who did it but on WHY. He employs voluminous new research, new documents and new analysis and re-analyzes everything that was already known. The case is closed, as far as I'm concerned. No one has done a better investigation.

JFK was a "Cold Warrior" coming out of the 1950s but the Cuban Missile Crisis utterly changed his perspective. He was the first and only president to face Armageddon. He was urged to inflict Armageddon, not only on Russia but on a portion of the United States--the Joint Chiefs and the MIC were unanimous on this--and he refused. That and his backchannels to Krushchev and Castro--and probably his firing of CIA Director Alan Dulles--were his death warrant. Douglass also lays this out meticulously--they considered him a traitor for not nuking Russia and for trying to get around their layers and layers of obstruction, spying and dirty ops to find the way toward world peace--disarmament, no more "Cold War."

You are in error in two ways. First of all, you fail to understand the context in which JFK was changing his mind about the "Cold War" and what this meant to the MIC (disarmament, real peace, no more war profiteering). It was, to them, a deadly threat. JFK could not just "declare peace." He could not just suddenly dismantle the war machine. He could not just abandon its jingoistic phrases. And he was cut off in the middle of his turn toward peace. Bang, bang; shoot, shoot. End of his transformation from "Cold Warrior" to "peacenik."

That is the second error you are making. The man was in transition. He was in the process of turning against the MIC when he was assassinated. You see things as black and white. The evidence is overwhelming that JFK was not that kind of leader. He was thinking things through and bringing morality to bear on the matter of incinerating millions of people. He was looking at all the implications of the "Cold War." He told Castro, for instance, that he sympathized with the Cuban revolution--with their overthrow of the heinous Batista regime. The MIC merely saw "communists"--the "enemy." This was after the Cuban Missile Crisis--and it became evident that the CIA and the MIC were going to continue to CREATE situations (like the "Bay of Pigs") that drew the U.S. officially into wars all over the world, and this could easily lead to Armageddon--to the ultimate confrontation between the U.S. and Soviet Russia, with nuclear weapons--which JFK averted the first time (the Cuban Missile Crisis--i.e., Cuba's desire for Russian protection because of the Bay of Pigs invasion), but what of the next and the next?

This is why, a) JFK fired Alan Dulles (he was trying to FORCE the President into wars by lying to him), and b) why JFK had to create direct communication with Krushchev (no lying CIA or other MIC operatives between them) to START nuclear disarmament talks (first, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty--an amazing achievement, as a 'first," negotiated directly, by backchannel, against the strong opposition of the MIC) and forge new and more friendly relations (the Russian wheat deal--also opposed by the MIC). What he found out is that Krushchev also wanted peace. Russia, too, was changing. Stalin was gone. Stalinism had been overcome. The Great Bugaboo--the Devil, the "enemy"--wanted peace!

You are demanding a black and white picture and ignoring the subtleties (and the evidence) of how people with a conscience change, especially in very difficult, dangerous situations. There is absolutely no way that JFK could have altogether given up "Cold War" rhetoric and could have dismantled the MIC all on his own. He needed a huge mandate from the American people just to begin to act on what he'd learned from Krushchev. And he was counting on one--and would have gotten one (as I explained in my comments about the 1964 election)--if he had lived to run for a second term. And THAT is what the CIA acted to prevent. They acted to prevent a genuine peace campaign, by a very popular leader, from getting massively endorsed by the voters, which would have given JFK the support and the momentum to reverse the direction of U.S. foreign and military policy away from Armageddon and toward peaceful competition.

It would not have been sudden, dramatic change--for instance, immediate "smashing of the CIA into a thousand pieces" or immediate drastic cuts in the war budget, but it would have been a beginning, with the U.S.genuinely pledged to world peace and to finding peaceful solutions--not more war--in conflicts that were arising all over the world, in Africa, in Latin America, in Asia (where, in almost every case, the CIA was deliberately misinterpreting mere independence revolutions or socialist revolutions as a dire threat from Soviet Russia). Vietnam was one of the many places that the CIA was instigating war and drawing the U.S. in. The signs that JFK was opting for peace include his signature, in his last days in office, on withdrawals of U.S. troops from Vietnam--and there are many others, those I've mentioned and more--for instance, his world peace speech to American University, six months before he was murdered, which is hardly ever cited. He was altering the "Cold War" rhetoric in significant ways, to bend it toward peaceful purposes. (He calls for a world without nuclear weapons, in that speech.)

I actually remember watching his debates with Nixon on TV during the 1960 campaign. I didn't understand JFK's stance then, but I do now. His "missile gap" and so forth strike me as ridiculous now--pure jingoism. And I am also well aware of RFK's role in the "Army-McCarthy" red-baiting hearings. I watched those on TV, too! But, having lived through that era, as a college student and beyond, I and those around me could all see JFK change, and, a few years later, we saw RFK change as well. I had no idea what a deadly struggle JFK was engaged in, with the CIA and the MIC. But I noted many of accomplishments--like those listed above (the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the Russian "wheat deal")--which, as a young person, I took for granted as right and good, but which, over the years I've realized were amazing, given the times. It never occurred to me, personally, that JFK would allow nuclear Armageddon to happen, though many others were not sure at all and greatly feared it, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. What none of us knew is that he stood ALONE (except for Bobby) against the war-crazy establishment.

We would not be here today--we would have suffered "Nuclear Winter," killing all life on earth--but for that man's unbelievable courage. And Douglass convinces me that he paid for it with his life.

The total impact of Douglass' remarkable book is that it all, suddenly, makes sense--not only the plots, subplots and misdirections of the assassination itself, and why, for instance, LBJ participated in the coverup, but also JFK's changed thinking, in the 1963 American University speech--an about-face from the '60 debates--his various peace moves, the clear threat that he posed to the MIC and its overseers at the CIA, and the tenor of the times (utter paranoia, indeed, mad "anti-communism," with even sane men--mere patriots--asserting that losing the east coast to nuclear war was acceptable to them). Douglass covers all of the ground, from means and opportunity to motive, includes analysis of other investigations, and solves all the mysteries (including the pointed misdirection to Russia, by which the CIA wanted to force LBJ to nuke Russia in retaliation for the assassination--a part of the plot that got derailed by none other than J. Edgar Hoover. The Russia misdirection was why LBJ participated in the coverup--he did not want his hand to be forced by MIC and public sentiment against Russia).

You really need to read Douglass' book before you say that I'm "pulling things out of my ass." Douglass arrives at the truth of that event and the why of that event. He is a largely unheralded investigator and writer but a great one. He even tracks the influences on JFK in his change toward peace, to, among others, Thomas Merton, through Ethel Kennedy. (Merton was the Trappist monk whose writings against nuclear weapons were suppressed by his religious order.) JFK was a man with a conscience and a growing sense of responsibility, who are able to change, and had changed significantly, by the time he was cut down.

It is a bitter, bitter pill for all of us to take, for our society to get well. The truth about this still sends many people into fevers of denial. If you can get past that--the denial--and read Douglass' book objectively, I think you will agree with me that he arrives at the truth. His book is not a "conspiracy theory." It is a conspiracy proof--and the "bad guys" were our own.

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Response to Peace Patriot (Reply #22)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 05:46 PM

23. I'll admit it does look like a book worth checking out

 

I don't doubt it's well-researched and well-written.

Of course, an author's argument must rest on the evidence, but that doesn't always mean they are right. You and I have probably both read many well-researched books where the author's argument ends up being just plain wrong.

Not having read it, I suspect the book makes a very compelling case that Kennedy's views were evolving. I suspect his argument that those changing views caused his assassination is less convincing. But of course I haven't read it.

I think I will pick it up from Amazon though.

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Response to Peace Patriot (Reply #7)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 01:55 PM

21. This is pretty nonsensical and bears no relation whatever to the historical JFK

the speech he gave in Fort Worth, Texas, on the morning of 22 November, 1963:

In the past 3 years we have increased the defense budget of the United States by over 20 percent; increased the program of acquisition for Polaris submarines from 24 to 41; increased our Minuteman missile purchase program by more than 75 percent; doubled the number of strategic bombers and missiles on alert; doubled the number of nuclear weapons available in the strategic alert forces; increased the tactical nuclear forces deployed in Western Europe by over 60 percent; added five combat ready divisions to the Army of the United States, and five tactical fighter wings to the Air Force of the United States; increased our strategic airlift capability by 75 percent; and increased our special counterinsurgency forces which are engaged now in South Viet-Nam by 600 percent.


And JFK interview with David Brinkley of ABC News on 9 September 1963:

Mr. BRINKLEY. Mr. President, have you had any reason to doubt this so-called "domino theory," that if South Viet-Nam falls, the rest of Southeast Asia will go behind it?

The PRESIDENT. No, I believe it. I believe it. I think that the struggle is close enough. China is so large, looms so high just beyond the frontiers, that if South Viet-Nam went, it would not only give them an improved geographic position for a guerrilla assault on Malaya but would also give the impression that the wave of the future in Southeast Asia was China and the Communists. So I believe it.


JFK was an ideologically committed anti-Communist who was a friend and supporter of Tailgunner Joe McCarthy, even after the latter's disgrace, and a hard-line Cold War hawk. There's nothing in his words or actions to suggest he'd any intention of "ending the military-industrail complex".

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Response to guitar man (Reply #3)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 10:39 AM

16. You have it in one.

Read James Douglass' remarkable "JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters" and you will understand why no Democrat since has tried to take it on.

It should also be noted that Ike set out the famous warning in his farewell speech to the nation. Even he, one of the greatest military heroes in the history of the country, did not feel he could say it until he was making his exit from the national stage.

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Response to FlaGatorJD (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 11:44 PM

4. GREED...comes to mind.

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Response to FlaGatorJD (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 11:55 PM

6. Why in the world do we have almost 3 million active and reserve troops.

this is total insanity.

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Response to FlaGatorJD (Original post)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 03:28 AM

8. Hard to teach a politician when a politician's cash depends on him not learning anything.

Perhaps the best solution to warding off undue influence of the military-industrial complex and the influence of Wall Street is a formal constitutional amendment instituting publicly funded elections. If you can replace private cash in the campaign process with strictly taxpayer dollars only, I would think that after a few election cycles, the corporate special interests would lose grip on Congress and the legislative agenda.

Until then, you'll continue to have grotesquely tilted budgets similar to this one:

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Response to Selatius (Reply #8)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 10:08 AM

14. I also believe that ending private campaign money is necessary to make any considerable changes

We would have to be sure the money didn't get to our professional politicians otherwise too.
Citizens United, of course, should be overturned tomorrow.

Is there other ways we could take the profit out of war? What if all or a large portion of war
had to be carried out by non-profits? In Drift, Rachel exposes the insanity of how much
we are now paying private companies to provide pretty much everything to our military.

While this is arguably plenty of graft and possibly waste in some non-profits, wouldn't that take a lot of the incentive away from HB and friends?



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Response to FlaGatorJD (Original post)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 06:32 AM

11. Because we don't learn from the past.

We just don't. Humans are fucked.

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Response to FlaGatorJD (Original post)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 07:02 AM

12. The corporatocracy didn't see it as a warning - they saw it as a business opportunity.

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Response to FlaGatorJD (Original post)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 07:12 AM

13. The warning was probably a few decades too late to heed

It's also a difficult situation to avoid for any organized state.

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Response to FlaGatorJD (Original post)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 10:20 AM

15. Warmongers make mo money.

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Response to lonestarnot (Reply #15)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 01:38 PM

18. Couldn't have said it any better than that

Mo money, mo money . . . . and so on . . humans may indeed be fucked


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Response to FlaGatorJD (Original post)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 01:39 PM

19. 'Cuz: $ $ $.

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Response to FlaGatorJD (Original post)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 01:52 PM

20. Ike would be considered too liberal

for today's Republican Party, let alone the Tea Party wing.

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Response to FlaGatorJD (Original post)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 05:51 PM

24. What about Eisenhower's own involvement with the coups in Guatemala and Iran?

 

And what about his setting up the Bay of Pigs invasion? Seems a bit hypocritical to me to be a Cold Warrior for your entire time in office and then 'warn' against a military-industrial complex that you have used to your own advantage?

Anyway, what happened? November 22, 1963 happened.

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Response to FlaGatorJD (Original post)

Thu Apr 19, 2012, 09:44 AM

25. Sadly, It's Quite the Opposite

Now, we spend all our efforts lavishing praise, pay and benefits over the military for serving in needless wars and committing the most savage and dehumanizing acts.

I wish people would abandon the embarrassing non sequitur "they fight so we can be free." Nothing in Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea, Okinawa, Germany, Africa, etc. has any bearing on my freedom. A runaway police state, staffed largely by returning troops has ruined our freedom, not any overseas influence.

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