Dwight D. Eisenhower’s most famous address was his last one to the nation in January of 1961, when he warned America of what he termed “the military-industrial complex.” It was a warning as powerful as it was prescient, and though Ike achieved much in life, surely this speech and the meaning of his warning deserve to be captured in the boldest terms in the memorial to Ike in Washington, DC.
Sadly, it isn’t. Though I haven’t yet seen the monument in person, images of it are available online with audio commentary. Let’s tackle the audio commentary first. In Part 5, “Leader of the Free World,” the narrator speaks of Ike’s “farewell address,” not his address on the military-industrial complex, and that it included a “caution” (not a “warning”) to the nation. Ike is allowed a few sentences on the military-industrial complex, but the narrator provides no additional context or commentary. The narrator then ends by saying this was Ike’s goodbye speech; again, no mention of how powerful Ike’s speech was in its criticism of a force that Ike declared threatened America’s democracy and our personal liberties. And then the kicker: at the end of the narration, we’re told the audio commentary was made possible by “a generous donation” by Boeing!
I burst out in rueful laughter. Of course Ike’s warning about the military-industrial complex was played down; the military-industrial complex funded the audio commentary! I felt like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story” when he discovers his secret magic decoder ring is only useful for decoding crummy commercials that urge him to drink his Ovaltine.
Turning to the memorial inscriptions themselves, here is the one for Ike’s “farewell address”:
Throughout America’s adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction. This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. Akin to and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades. It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system — ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society. We pray that…all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.
January 17, 1961
Notice how Ike’s warning (which I’ve bolded) about the military-industrial complex is buried in the text. Even more critically, the very heart of Ike’s warning is torn out. For here are Ike’s words that followed the warning about a military-industrial complex, and which are omitted on the memorial:
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.
Why weren’t these powerful words of Ike also engraved in stone? Could it be because no one in the DC area, especially the military, its many corporations, and the Congress, wants the American people to come to grips with “the disastrous rise of misplaced power” in America?
Putting this memorial together required corporate funding. Congress was also heavily involved. So too was the military. Is it any wonder that Ike’s warning about the military-industrial-Congressional complex has been watered down to a “caution” and buried in the text of a fond “farewell”?
Remember, Ike implored us to be alert and knowledgeable citizens. How can we be when his speeches are bowdlerized at his own memorial and the audio commentary to the same is funded by Boeing?
You truly need to sharpen your focus if you want to catch a glimpse of what truly worried Ike:
Something tells me that Ike, if he were alive today, would be none too happy about this. Ike’s memorial celebrates his boyhood, his service and great victory in World War II, and his presidency, but it fails to capture his finest speeches against war, against wasteful and immoral spending on deadly weaponry, and against a powerful alliance among the military, its weapons makers, and Congress that Ike saw as a fundamental threat to liberty and democracy.
Our monuments betray us, America, in more ways than one.
52 thoughts on “The Betrayal of Dwight D. Eisenhower by His Own Memorial in Washington DC”
When I write about Ike, I sometimes hear that Ike was no paragon of virtue, especially in CIA actions in the 1950s (Iran, for example).
But I think Ike learned from his mistakes. And he spoke his mind. Should he have done more? Yes. Should we still listen to him? Yes.
No one knew the MIC better than Ike. It’s why he warned us about it.
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Eisenhower’s “mistakes” went far, far beyond just overthrowing the democratically-elected government of Iran to install The Shah, and thus plant the seed for the rise of radical, fundamentalist Islam and, ultimately, the split between Sunnis and Shiites, and Jihadism.
Here closer to home, Ike also overthrew a similarly democratically-elected government in Guatemala, setting the stage for a whole succession of Gringo-Friendly dictators in that part of the world. And, he propped up our boy Batista in Cuba against the threat to his dictatorship and the interests of his American owners and operators.
But the most important contribution Eisenhower made to the MICC was:
1 ~ His continued support ~ to the bitter end at Dien Bien Phu ~ of America’s bankrolling France’s attempt to reestablish its Southeast Asian colonial empire.
2 ~ His refusal to sign the 1954 Geneva Conference Accords that ended Vietnam’s war with the French, and to then allow the planned nation-wide election by the People of Vietnam on reunification.
3 ~ His putting Diem in power and keeping him in power by the ramping up of military aid, assistance, and “advisers”; thus setting the stage for what the Vietnamese would term “The American War.”
With the end of the Korean War right after Eisenhower took office, the MICC was in the market for any and all new conflicts to get this nation involved in on which it could enrichen itself. And in Ike, they found their man.
So while his “military-industrial complex” rant was a very clear and cogent warning to the American People of what lay ahead and why, it’s unfortunate that his actions never came even close to following his own advice.
That’s probably why he was put in the White House, in the first place.
Obviously, the high-minded ideals in Ike’s Cross of Iron speech at the beginning of his Presidency, and his sombre Warning of the Military-Industrial-Educational Complex at the end of his Presidency, was left to our Generations to implement.
Heh. Well, it certainly wasn’t going to be implemented by the generations running the show then.
And how many people in “our generations” ever even heard of ~ let alone read and pondered ~ those speeches?
My post downstream wondering ‘Have We Arrived At Armageddon/WWIII?’ contains two messages I sent to all 100 US Senators where I cited excerpts from Ike’s 2 most important speeches as well as the link to them, obviously fell on deaf ears.
All the regular email addresses to the Senators in that post,bypassing the embedded email forms on their Senate Website, are not made Public on this site anyone can use at any time to remind them of Ike’s speeches.
It’s unlikely most Senators check their own email, depending on trusted aides.
‘The Western Narrative on Russia & China’
It’s past time that the U.S. recognized the true sources of security: internal social cohesion and responsible cooperation with the rest of the world, rather than the illusion of hegemony, writes Jeffrey D. Sachs.
The world is on the edge of nuclear catastrophe in no small part because of the failure of Western political leaders to be forthright about the causes of the escalating global conflicts. The relentless Western narrative that the West is noble while Russia and China are evil is simple-minded and extraordinarily dangerous. It is an attempt to manipulate public opinion, not to deal with very real and pressing diplomacy.
The essential narrative of the West is built into U.S. national security strategy. The core U.S. idea is that China and Russia are implacable foes that are “attempting to erode American security and prosperity.” These countries are, according to the U.S., “determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence.”
The irony is that since 1980 the U.S. has been in at least 15 overseas wars of choice (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Panama, Serbia, Syria and Yemen just to name a few), while China has been in none, and Russia only in one (Syria) beyond the former Soviet Union. The U.S. has military bases in 85 countries, China in three and Russia in one (Syria) beyond the former Soviet Union…………………………………………………
are NOW made Public on this site anyone can use
Jeff, reading your strong condemnations of Eisenhower, leaves me wondering if you were asked to write an essay the greatest American leader in wartime, or peace time for that, who would you choose to sing the praises of, if any, that have advocated for peace?
God dammit, in my old age, my typing is leaving out words! Try again Dennis:
Jeff, reading your strong condemnations of Eisenhower, leaves me wondering if you were asked to write an essay on the greatest American leader in wartime, or peace time for that matter, who would you choose to sing the praises of, if any, that have advocated for peace?
First of all, Dennis: Do You agree that Eisenhower should be condemned for the things i condemned him for? And if not, Why not?
And as far as “greatest American leaders who advocated peace”: Eugene Debs, Smedley Butler, and Martin Luther King,
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I agree that he should be condemned.
It can be argued that one of the most important things Eisenhower did while in office was to have “what was, at the time, the strongest record on civil rights since Reconstruction.”
“He made substantial progress in the area of civil rights, more than any other individual president between Lincoln and Johnson,” said Michael Mayer, a history professor at the University of Montana. “But compared to Johnson? No.” https://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/why-dont-we-ike-civil-rights-msna329796
It was Eisenhower who paved the way for what Johnson and America was to later accomplish in the realm of Civil Rights for Blacks. And he did this in spite of his openly declared opposition to legislated racial equality. https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/eisenhower-dwight-david
Who controls the past. controls the future; who controls the present, controls the past. Orwell taught us this in “1984.”
So Ike’s warning has been downgraded to a caution, buried in the middle of a lengthy inscription, and bowdlerized. The past has been rewritten to support the present: a powerful military-industrial-Congressional complex that will not abide any challenge to its authority.
Perhaps in the near future, Ike’s “caution” may disappear completely. And the MICC will be seen as the symbol of American democracy. Or, as Orwell put it, War is Peace.
Bill, I really should Edit the posts to my Blog because too many of them cover too many points. That’s probably why there are so few comments on what appears.
That being said, I’m glad for your post on the last real Commander-in-Chief, General-President Eisenhower.
I sent this Message to all 100 US Senators between February 3-6, before the Ukraine War started.
In it, I included excerpts and links to Eisenhower’s Cross of Iron speech and his WARNING about the growing Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex. It fell on deaf ears since all the Senators that did respond, used the same anti-Putin/Russia talking points.
Good Day Senator…………….,
As a World Citizen Child of God at 77, and a Canadian, I sent the same Message to all 100 Senators November 5,8,15 &16, not as Representatives of Local Parochial interests, but as National and International Leaders………………………………………………….
The MIC reminds me of a sci fi movie from long ago. The 1958 thriller was “The Blob” which like the MIC absorbs everything in its path. Today the MIC is a self sustaining “blob” absorbing every $ in its path and returning nothing.
No thanks for the scurrilous red-baiter Richard Nixon as your attack-dog Vice President, Ike. Later on, when Tricky Dick made it to the presidency himself, we used to have a joke about him at Defense Language School:
Question: “If Nixon is withdrawing the troops from Vietnam, how come I’ve got orders to Vietnam next year?”
Answer: “You fool. How can Nixon withdraw you from Vietnam unless he sends you there first?”
No thanks for Nixon, Ike. But good speech on your way out the door.
On the subject of inspirational (and usually ignored) presidential farewell speeches, our very own first President, George Washington, cautioned his successors to avoid “entangling alliances” with other nations. Of course, without the entangling alliance with France (especially their navy), he might not have won the battle of Yorktown and the Thirteen Colonies might never have won their independence from Britain. Military opportunism tends to trump lofty principles as a general rule. Or so it seems to me . . .
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First of all, i doubt that Eisenhower had much ~ if anything at all ~ to say about who his VP would be. That’s now how that system works.
And second, it’s a shame that the American People didn’t understand that Nixon’s “Secret Plan” to end the war in Vietnam was to start a new one in Cambodia.
Correction: “That’s NOT how that system worked at that time.” Ike had little ~ if anything at all ~ to say about Nixon on the ticket.
And that is how it still works now when it comes to choosing VP running mates.
For a different take on all this, and why Eisenhower didn’t call it the “military-industrial-congressional complex,” see the following:
IKE WAS WRONG: THE MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL-CONGRESSIONAL COMPLEX TURNS 60
by William C. Greenwalt January 25, 2021
Eisenhower’s speech, principally aimed at tamping down the shrill and untrue claims of the famous “missile gap,” perhaps unintentionally stoked the historic fire of populism that distrusted the private sector and feared wartime profiteering. His words would be used to destroy the very defense innovation system he had helped create and shepherd.
President Eisenhower sat down before television cameras and delivered his farewell speech to the nation some 60 years ago, a speech that became famous for one trope — beware the Military-Industrial Complex.
In this landmark speech, one of the nation’s most revered warriors called for balance in the nation’s affairs: “Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.” But what is most remembered is that he also warned the nation of the potential for collusion between portions of the state and the defense industry: “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.”
Eisenhower had guided America through one of its most perilous transitions from the hot war in Korea to the burgeoning Cold War with the Soviet Union. While there were many times when hostilities could have broken out and advisors did outline options for the use of nuclear weapons, the Eisenhower years were marked by considerable restraint and relative peace.
Continued at https://breakingdefense.com/2021/01/ike-was-wrong-the-military-industrial-congressional-complex-turns-60/ [Includes video of speech.]
‘Cultivate A Habit Of Small Acts of Sedition’ – Caitlin Johnstone
It is not easy being someone who cares about the world and opposes the status quo. It’s a series of disheartening failures and crushing disappointments amid an endless deluge of information saying that everything is getting worse and worse.
The environment keeps degrading. Ruling power structures keep getting more and more controlling. Capitalism gets more and more imbalanced and exploitative. World powers get closer and closer to a mass military confrontation of unspeakable horror.
And what do we get when we try to oppose these things? Letdown after letdown. Politicians we support lose their elections, often after brazen interference from the very power structures we’d hoped they’d oppose. Political organizing breaks down in sectarian infighting. Activist leaders get caught up in sex scandals. Agendas we helped push for fizzle into impotence. Power wins time after time………..
Wonder can only wonder what Ike would think of the Charley Foxtrot the American military has become and America is rapidly becoming… :
FALLING MILITARY RECRUITMENT IS ANOTHER SIGN OF WANING FAITH IN THE REGIME by Ryan McMaken
The US Army reports it is having some serious problems when it comes to recruiting new soldiers. Last month, according to the AP: “Army officials … said the service will fall about 10,000 soldiers short of its planned end strength for this fiscal year, and prospects for next year are grimmer.”
The army is not alone in missing recruitment goals:
Senior Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps leaders have said they are hopeful they will meet or just slightly miss their recruiting goals for this year. But they said they will have to dip into their pool of delayed entry applicants, which will put them behind as they begin the next recruiting year.
In fact, recruitment prospects are so grim that 2022 is looking to be the WORST RECRUITING YEAR FOR THE ARMY SINCE 1973, when the US military transitioned to an all-volunteer—i.e., nonconscripted—force. The days of the post-9/11 surge in enlistments are long gone, AND NOTED FOR TWO LOST WARS IN RECENT YEARS, THE US MILITARY NOW FACES A NEW ENVIRONMENT OF DECLINING PUBLIC SUPPORT. Moreover, with its recent drive to showcase its commitment to so-called woke policy goals, the military may be alienating conservatives—a group that has long been a reliable source of recruits and political support.
Ultimately, of course, the military can always get more troops by raising pay and lowering standards. The latter requires only a policy change. And, GIVEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S ABILITY TO ESSENTIALLY PRINT MONEY, THE FORMER IS UNLIKELY TO BE AN INSURMOUNTABLE PROBLEM FOR THE PENTAGON EITHER.
THE GOOD NEWS, HOWEVER, IS THAT THE MILITARY’S RECRUITING WOES ARE LIKELY YET ANOTHER SIGNAL OF DECLINING SUPPORT FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND ITS INSTITUTIONS. The federal government has benefited immensely from the fact that the military has long been one of the most popular institutions within the central government. EVEN AS MANY AMERICANS CLAIM THEY DISTRUST THE GOVERNMENT OR OPPOSE “THE BUREAUCRACY,” WIDESPREAD SUPPORT FOR THE GOVERNMENT MILITARY BUREAUCRACY HAS LONG HELPED TO PROP UP THE LEGITIMACY OF FEDERAL INSTITUTIONS. IF FALLING ENLISTMENTS ARE AN INDICATION OF DECLINING FAITH IN THE MILITARY OVERALL, THAT WOULD BE A POSITIVE DEVELOPMENT, INDEED.
Continued at https://mises.org/wire/falling-military-recruitment-another-sign-waning-faith-regime [EMPHASES added.]
I would think Jeff that you, a military veteran who served your country in a war based on lies, would think it was good news that young Americans have wised up and don’t want any part of these wars of aggression against counties that have not attacked the US. And have realized that military action is not the answer to everything.
I fail to see that its a SIGNAL OF DECLINING SUPPORT FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. I think that is a very pessimistic take on what young folks are thinking. After all, the US Federal government is comprised of many more institutions than the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines surely.
Heh. Well, i’m sure that there are all kinds of young folks who like the idea of the Federal government finding somebody else [ie, other taxpayers] to pay off their Student Loans amounting to $1.7 TRILLION.
What they haven’t figured out yet is that that bill is still going to come due some day when it comes to paying off the National Debt [currently at $30.7 TRILLION, plus $171.1 TRILLION in UnFunded Liabilities]; and particularly ~ with interest rates rising in the Fed’s “War On Inflation” ~ meeting at least Interest payments so as to avoid a National Default.
i’m sure they assume that the government will find even more “somebody elses” to pay for all that when the time comes.
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Second of all, the article’s focus is not on what “young folks are thinking about the federal government,” but on very possible changes in the general public’s view of the military; and particularly, what conservatives and Republicans may be pondering.
“For example, as the Military Times reported last year, “ABOUT 56 PERCENT OF AMERICANS SURVEYED SAID THEY HAVE ‘A GREAT DEAL OF TRUST AND CONFIDENCE’ IN THE MILITARY, DOWN FROM 70 PERCENT IN 2018.” MOREOVER, ACCORDING TO GALLUP, THE PERCENTAGE OF AMERICANS WHO BELIEVE THAT MILITARY OFFICERS “HAVE HIGH ETHICS” DROPPED 10 PERCENT FROM 2017 TO 2021.
“As has long been the case, the military remains among the more trusted institutions in the US, but, as even the relentless promilitary Heritage Foundation admits: ‘A more candid appraisal, however, would see this for what it is: a vote of declining confidence by America in its oldest and heretofore most trusted institution.’
“MORE WORRISOME STILL—FROM THE PENTAGON’S PERSPECTIVE—IS THAT MUCH OF THIS DECLINE IS COMING FROM A DROP IN CONSERVATIVE AND REPUBLICAN SUPPORT. Gallup reports that in its survey, military officers’ “image among the GOP is now the lowest Gallup has recorded since the first reading, in 2002, a period spanning Republican and Democratic presidencies.”
And thirdly: Yeah, Dennis. i agree that it’s good news that military-age Americans are giving the Recruiters the same sign Cash gave the Warden at San Quentin, but i doubt it’s because they are against all of America’s Wars.
With the exception of one weekend back in 2003 before America set off to liberate Iraq from Saddam and his WMDs, there has been ZERO anti-war/pro-peace sentiment, activism, and actionism by anybody in this country, especially from the “Young.”
Which is a strange [and totally useless] way to express that they don’t any part of the Wars and Lies, wouldn’t You say?
Jeff my friend, I talked to many young Americans, friends of my kids, who would love to be “recruited” by the Federal Highway Administration, or The Federal Aviation Administration, or the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, or the Environmental Protection Agency to work in their offices in Seattle with the guarantee of a life-long well-paying and meaningful job. Working hard to serve Americans and living with their families in the great country they were lucky another to be born into. None that I talked to expressed interest in becoming Wardens at San Quentin prison.
I also talked to many who would join the Army, work everyday at Fort Lewis, learn a trade, and live with their families in Tacoma – and who would protect the USA in any war fought against foreign invaders on their shores. And who would willingly fight to the death for their country – on home soil.
But they would not. Because their greatest fear is being dragged into some indeterminant never-ending war (quagmire) in some far off country that never attacked the US – and come home in a body bag for Exxon Mobil or/and some crazed megalomaniacs in the United States Department of State.
I never once thought that that was a strange [and totally useless] way to express that they don’t (want) any part of the Wars and Lies? Those kids expressed their anti-war/pro-peace sentiments not by protesting in the streets, but by voting with their feet. Foot voting is expressing one’s preferences through one’s actions, by withdrawing from an activity, group, or process; especially, to leave a situation one does not like, or to move to a situation one regards as more beneficial. People who engage in foot voting are said to “vote with their feet”.
Reread what I wrote, Dennis. i was talking about young Americans telling MILITARY recruiters to get fucked, and not recruiters for the civilian federal bureaucracy.
And DUH…. : OF COURSE they want those kind of jobs with all those perks and bennies, especially if they are “guaranteed for life.” All those retirement benefits are part of that $170.1 TRILLION UnFunded Liabilities bill looming in the background.
And given the productivity, performance, efficiency, and effectiveness of those bureaucracies ~ and what Americans get in return for their tax dollars from those folks ~ it seems that many of those folks don’t work to serve anybody but themselves and their masters in the bureaucracy and on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
And i already told You to ask the people of ~ just in the last 20 years ~ Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and now Ukraine just exactly how “great” THEY think America is.
And finally, how is anybody ~ by not joining the military ~ “voting with their feet”?
The last people who had to vote with their feet in this country ~ and did ~ were those who fled to Canada or elsewhere to avoid being drafted during Vietnam. Not joining an all-volunteer military hardly qualifies as anything equivalent.
The quickest, simplest, and easiest way to END WAR is to take the Profit out of it. Accordingly, permit me to propose… :
A NO WAR-FOR-PROFIT AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES [First Draft]
Any and/or All organizations or individuals doing business with America’s Military-Industrial-FatherLand Security Complex (MIFLS-C) will and thus must be publicly-held NON-PROFIT enterprises.
No individual, bank, and/ or any other financial or other institution [including foreign nations’ and their money-lenders] doing business with the MIFLS-C may earn any interest or other profit from loans, bonds, or any other fiduciary instruments used by the Government of The United States to finance or otherwise “pay for” this nation’s Wars-by-Credit Card of the 21st century.
No print, electronic, and/or internet-based news or otherwise info-entertainment media organization may be owned and/or operated by any organization or individual doing business with the MIFLS-C.
Here’s this on a Thursday morning, from Richard Rorty:
“If you turn out to be living in an evil empire (rather than, as you had been told, a democracy fighting an evil empire), then you have no responsibility to your country: you are accountable only to humanity.”
And this: I can’t help but think that claiming to be anti-war or a pacifist while being amenable to working for the government behind the war in any capacity is more than a little hypocritical. It’s well-nigh impossible to maintain your purity and innocence in such surroundings. But if what you really want is steady employment, solid pay and good benefits (“a gubbmint job”), please don’t preface it by claiming some kind of moral high ground. Don’t be a weasel. Just take the money and go.
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All this talk of the U.S. military failing to meet recruiting goals: Does this ever result in critical thinking? As in downsizing the mission? As in closing military bases overseas?
The U.S. has something like 750 “permanent” military bases overseas. And we’re expanding bases in the Pacific. And we keep deploying more troops to Europe because, well, war in Ukraine, so we’re told.
Fewer troops should mean a more focused mission. But all we ever hear is that we must find more troops. Send out the press gangs!
Just like the quickest, simplest, and easiest way to END WAR is to take the Profit out of it, the quickest, simplest, easiest, and cheapest way to end American military recruiting problems is to have another 9/11.
A “New Pearl Harbor” worked great last time for Recruiters; and would no doubt do even better with a second iteration.
And if it doesn’t work, there’s always a Draft.
Pennsylvania Avenue at both ends is full of people from both parties WHO HAVE NEVER SERVED IN THE MILITARY who would not hesitate to force military age Americans to rally around the flag, the Pentagon, and the CIA in this new moment of national peril. [EMPHASIS added.]
How many have never served? According to the 28dec20 issue of Military Times:
“When elected officials gather on Capitol Hill to formally convene the 117th Congress on Jan. 3, 2021, they’ll do so with 91 veterans among their ranks, the lowest total since at least World War II.
“The number of veterans in Congress has declined almost steadily since the mid-1970s, as the military shifted from an end strength of largely drafted individuals to an all-volunteer force. In 1973, nearly three in every four members of Congress had some type of military service. In 2021, it’ll be about one in every six members who have military experience.
“That’s the lowest since at least the start of World War II. Information on congressional members with veteran experience before then is incomplete, making comparisons difficult.
Continued at https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2020/12/28/veterans-in-the-117th-congress-by-the-numbers/
In December 1998, Former US Defence Secretary Ash Carter, US Undersecretary of Defence John Deutch and Philip Zelikow, Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, colluded to write this in Foreign Affairs Journal,
A successful attack with weapons of mass destruction could certainly take thousands, or tens of thousands, of lives. If the device that exploded in 1993 under the World Trade Center had been nuclear, or had effectively dispersed a deadly pathogen, the resulting horror and chaos would have exceeded our ability to describe it.
Such an act of catastrophic terrorism would be a watershed event in American history. It could involve loss of life and property unprecedented in peacetime and undermine America’s fundamental sense of security, as did the Soviet atomic bomb test in 1949.
Like Pearl Harbor, this event would divide our past and future into a before and after. The United States might respond with draconian measures, scaling back civil liberties, allowing wider surveillance of citizens, detention of suspects, and use of deadly force. More violence could follow, either further terrorist attacks or U.S. counterattacks.
I find it curious it happened just like that 3 years later, and one of the Authors was able to control what information the 9/11 Commission was able to see?
Why do You find that “curious,” Ray? Especially about Zelikow ~ one of Condi Rice’s career errand boys ~ being put in charge of what the 9/11 Commission could and would investigate and, even more importantly, would and could report.
This distinctly American meme that one has to have served in the Military to be a valued elected member of Congress is way past its sell-buy date. As in obsolete, ‘stale’, no longer innovative, relevant, or effective in 2022.
Arguably for too long this has been a shackle and chain around the institutions neck. With far too few members of Congress having a broad range of life experience outside of the armed services. Nearly three in every four members of Congress in 1973 having had some type of military service illustrating the twin plagues of militarism and Empire. Cultural militarism and armed forces insularity, along with all its pageantry patriotism has been more of a curse than a blessing.
Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth begin!
You’re the one doing the wailing and gnashing, Dennis.
The subject of this comment is whether or not another 9/11 would solve the American military’s problem with recruiting. Not your “distinctively American meme.”
What military service often taught, Dennis, was to be very skeptical of the military.
Now you have members of Congress revering the military as an abstract thing. They have no experience about how FUBAR the military often is.
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Now for something otherworldly!
NASA has released a haunting audio clip of sound waves rippling out of a supermassive black hole, located 250 million light-years away. The black hole is at the center of the Perseus cluster of galaxies. It’s the first time these sound waves have been extracted and made audible.
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That’s also the sound the Pentagon makes as its sucking up money …
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Heh. Nailed it.
A friend who’s been to the Ike memorial says it’s “lovely” but that it mostly celebrates America’s love of the troops.
An uncontroversial celebration of the military and especially of Ike’s victory at Normandy and in Europe over the Nazis: that’s fine. So it’s a World War II memorial, mostly, not a monument to Ike and some of his deepest thoughts on America and the challenges facing us, especially those within.
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