Ike Was Right

In a 1960 address to the nation, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 5 star general and Supreme Commander of the World War II invasion of Europe, warned against the military-industrial complex. This is the co-ordinated lobbying of defense contractors allied with military supporters in both political parties that would get their way on the size and spending of the defense budget.

Fast forward to a nation trying to make sorely needed budget cuts. The Defense department is making some big and tough cut recommendations. In fact, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the Pentagon, the White House and Sen. John McCain all say development of a second F-35 jet engine is a waste of taxpayer dollars. $412million dollars to be exact. But the Military Industrial Complex is getting those expenditures put back into the budget – and on a bi-partisan basis.

Here is what Senator John McCain said about it yesterday:

“It has been an incredible waste of the taxpayers’ dollar and it hurts the credibility of our acquisition process, our defense industry,” McCain said at the hearing. “It reinforces the view of some of us that the military-industrial- congressional complex that President Eisenhower warned us about is alive and well.”

In short the Military Industrial complex is a finely honed lobbying effort that has, by spreading a $500 million procurement over as many states and districts as possible, immunized itself against any opposition – be it Democrat or Republican. Here are some of the mechanisms used to frustrate the Defense Secretary and even the President. And consider that the Supreme Court, in its great wisdom, has enhanced the the lobbying power of these contractors by removing all limits on the amounts they can spend. Is this the kind of ‘refined’ Democracy that the US is bringing to the World?

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