The Military Industrial Complex: The Enemy from Within
By John W. Whitehead
“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes … known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”–James Madison
“When a nation becomes obsessed with the guns of war, social programs must inevitably suffer. We can talk about guns and butter all we want to, but when the guns are there with all of its emphasis you don’t even get good oleo. These are facts of life.”– Martin Luther King Jr.
If there is any absolute maxim by which the federal government seems to operate, it is that the American taxpayer always gets ripped off, and Americans would do well to keep that in mind as Congress and the White House debate whether or not to raise the debt ceiling from its current high of $14.3 trillion. For one thing, the grandstanding by both parties over health care costs and Social Security is nothing more than a convenient distraction from the glaring economic truth that at the end of the day, it’s not the sick, the elderly or the poor who are stealing us blind and pushing America towards bankruptcy. It’s the military industrial complex (the illicit merger of the armaments industry and the Pentagon) that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us against more than 50 years ago and which has come to represent perhaps the greatest threat to the nation’s fragile infrastructure today.
Having been co-opted by greedy defense contractors, corrupt politicians and incompetent government officials, America’s expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $15 billion a month (or $20 million an hour)–and that’s just what the government spends on foreign wars. That does not include the cost of maintaining and staffing the 1000-plus U.S. military bases spread around the globe. Incredibly, although the U.S. constitutes only 5% of the world’s population, America boasts almost 50% of the world’s total military expenditure, spending more on the military than the next 19 biggest spending nations combined. In fact, the Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety.