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Military Industrial Complex

The Future of the U.S. Military Industrial Complex



"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 State house, every office of the Federal government. 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." 


                                                            Dwight D. Eisenhower (Farewell Address, 1961)

Since that warning military conflict has become routine in the affairs of the United States including two unnecessary protracted wars -- the War in Vietnam and the Iraq War; both of which have taken an horrific toll in bloodshed and human life.  The Bush - Cheney administration gave new meaning to President Dwight D. Eisenhower's fateful words. Manipulated by the fear of terrorism, Americans gave its government, under the imperial control of President George W. Bush, Jr. and Vice President Dick Cheney, unconstitutional authority that enabled this "disastrous rise of misplaced power ... to endanger our liberties."
In good faith and sincerity, can President Barack Obama rightfully promise the nation and the world that he will address this misuse of power by prohibiting illegal imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay detention camp, by restoring the rights of accused enemy combatants with fair and prompt hearings, by repealing the patriot act, or by banning the use of torture? Without addressing the grave influence that the military industrial complex exerts on the members of our legislature through the long arm of its lobbyists, can the President and the American people "guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex?"
Since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, history has repeatedly proven that the will of these profiteers have overpowered the interests of peaceful diplomacy in favor of the use of military force. From the escalation of the Vietnam War in the 60's and 70's to the covert sale of weapons to Iran, and from the secret military operations of Latin America to waging the contrived war in Iraq, a realistic proposal of change today would require President Barack Obama to openly acknowledge the political machinery of the military industrial complex that shapes our foreign policies, exploits our resources, and provides for the livelihoods of millions of Americans. Without the financial support provided by the lobbyists representing the military industrial complex, the majority of our so-called trusted public servants would have to sacrifice their campaigns for reelection. How can change occur when the corporations that profit from military conflict own our representatives?
The chilling reality, however, is that we have given "them up for expediency's sake." For eight long years, our government has defied the rule of law, imprisoned the accused without fair legal recourse, spied on its citizens illegally, and waged an illegal war without sound justification. Can we overlook the consequences? Hundreds of thousands are dead, maimed, and homeless.  The unspoken truth persists despite all the rhetoric about the various justifications for promoting war.
How will we change?  If "those ideals still light the world" as President Barack Obama proclaims, it will take the actions of millions of Americans to make those lofty and righteous words a reality. It will take an electorate that demands to know who takes money from the corporations that profit from military action. It will take Americans who will demand an end to "K" Street's influence on the people elected to serve our government. And, it will take an unprecedented level of honesty from our newly elected President. Is he willing to present the true nature of our dilemma? That still remains in question.
Has the time come to demand the truth? How can we hold any President to his promises if we fail to hold ourselves to our own responsibilities as citizens? Are we ready to demand the truth from those we send to Washington? Are we willing vote them out, if necessary?
Before we have the right to condemn our elected officials  for making promises that require deeper understanding and widespread support from the government by the people, must we not first  demand the facts? Are we ready to demand full disclosure from our representatives regarding their reliance on the military industrial complex? Are we not obliged to demand the ledger from those who accept money from the corporations profiting from war? Are we ready to demand that they shut down "K" Street once and for all? Are we depending on everyone else to do the dirty work that we know must be done before we can expect real change?  Can we trust  any government  representative who accepts blood money to run for office or to be re-elected? In whose hands does our future belong?

The big question remains. How can President Barack Obama promise change without addressing this central issue? In President Obama's inaugural speech he stated: "As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expediency's sake."