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Potential for Misplaced Power

Posted Thursday, May 17, 2012, at 4:00 PM

Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Army General who engineered the D-Day invasion of Europe during World War II, was President of the United States in 1952 to 1960. This was during a period of tension between nations called the Cold War. The USA and the USSR were two great powers locked in a standoff of paranoia and an arms race.

In his presidential farewell address to the nation in January, 1961, Eisenhower stated, "In the counsels 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. 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."

Thus, the term "military industrial complex" became part of the American lexicon.

The "military industrial complex" refers to the U.S. armed forces and various components that support a strong military presence. In essence, it's a combination of the Pentagon (military procurers), corporate military contractors, the intelligence community, and their respective supporters in the U.S. Congress.

Eisenhower sounded a warning many decades ago that has basically been ignored -- the U.S. government now spends more on the military than all the rest of the countries of the world combined.

In fiscal 2012, the U.S. expenditure on Defense items (including Department of Defense, Veterans affairs, military pensions, homeland security, interest on debt incurred in past wars, etc.) is approximately $1.5 trillion -- which seems miniscule compared to the nearly $16 trillion (and rising) in National Debt.

Obviously, the USA is on a path of economic doom -- spending far more than it can afford, continually borrowing against the future, with no end in sight.

In order to exacerbate global conflict, thereby ensuring continued growth of the Military-Industrial Complex, the intelligence wing of the military industrial complex (CIA, NSA, etc.) has initiated plenty of action since 1960, including places like Vietnam, Cambodia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Bosnia, Somalia, Korea, Serbia, Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, Granada, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and so on.

There may have been valid reasons for most of these encounters, but often we have made matters worse by propping up evil dictators, such as Noriega in Panama, Pol Pot in Cambodia, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and others.

Eisenhower was right. There exists a potential for unwarranted influences and the misuse of power. The military industrial complex thrives on global conflict. It feeds itself on U.S. tax dollars and contributes mightily to politicians who support it. There's too much at stake for too many people to curb its desire for profitability.

There's a fine line between being righteous defenders of global justice and belligerent warmongers. To much of the rest of the world, the USA is viewed as a domineering self-appointed police force, creating enormous global resentment.

Our country stands for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We shed blood all over the globe to ensure freedom. But we spend well beyond a reasonable defense of our nation on a military industrial complex that has an insatiable appetite for funding and a continual need for armed confrontations in order to survive.

The world is a dangerous place. We must protect ourselves, but we also need to use some common sense.


Quote for the Day -- "A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both." Dwight D. Eisenhower


Bret Burquest is the author of 8 books, including THE REALITY OF THE ILLUSION OF REALITY, ORB OF WOUNDED SOULS and PATH TO FOURTH DENSITY (available on Amazon). He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where freedom is the right to tell people what they don't want to hear.




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Seeing as how the House has just passed a bigger budget than the Pentagon wanted, this post Bret is exceedingly timely. Case in point, the F-35 JSF.

Anyone recall John McCain observing, "The facts regarding this program are truly troubling," said McCain. "No program should expect to be continued with that kind of track record, especially in our current fiscal climate." [1]

Back then he was aghast the original per unit purchase price was a mere $69 million per aircraft. When McCain was doing his wondering the price had jumped to $103 million. But that was back a year ago.

My what a diference 11 months can make. Now it's $289 million. [2]

A modest proposal - since the US is gonna have to borrow from the Chinese to pay for the plane anyway - why don't we just buy from either them or the Russians. Their 5th Gen variants are far cheaper and, given the problems we're seeing with our F-22 arguably higher quality. Of course we can't know 'cause our F-35s aren't gonna get operational for another decade at the soonest.

"But, but, but," we collectively sputter, "What about all the bucks we've already spent?" (True, we've got six airplanes delivered since the below link was posted - but it is illustrative.) Today is May 18, 2012, jump back exactly one year and posit, "What does the US have to show for the investment of $54.3 BILLION?" One year ago $54.3B paid for a grand total of 12 (twelve) aircraft:


Six more than 12 implies last year's cost of $54.3B is now very likely at least $76B. I do wonder if Lockheed's employees got any pay increases in the interim?

"Keep in mind HDucker, this is more than just about measly money - this is about JOBS!" How many jobs I'd ask? Something in the neighborhood of 127K maybe?


And lest we forget, there's more than a few men and women we've sent over to fight our wars - how is the House figuring on budgeting for them?


Glad you've mentioned Eisenhower - another quote maybe?

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

Dwight D. Eisenhower.

[1] http://www.informationdissemination.net/...



Okay. Off my soapbox.

-- Posted by HDucker on Fri, May 18, 2012, at 8:42 PM

Apologies Bret, ordinarily I wouldn't take over your post like this but I just got a call (phone) asking some "But, but, but, what ifs?"

The caller took exception to the above comment so I'll respond on this same post.

There was the question of "What to do about the likely threat aircraft?"

Those would be China's J-20 and Russia's PAK-FA (otherwise known as the T-50). My answer would be simple, straightforward and cheap. "Cheap" in the sense there're existing weapons platforms.

SSBNs and TLAM Tomahawks. Submarine launched land attack cruise missiles in other words. In the very unlikely event either nation attacks the US - since both the J-20 and the T-50 require longish runways. Crater the runways, no runway - no airborne planes.

Using a submarine, shoot from a standoff position. Subs are notoriously hard to spot, runways on the other hand - heck, just use Google Earth satellites. For example:


What! "Not aware of any problems with the F-22. And just what's the problem with the F-35?!!"

Raptors have been all over the news lately. Something to do with the pilots suffering from hypoxia and refusing to fly. As for the F-35, "loiter time" is something that's very useful for ground support. Supersonic capable aircraft aren't very well known to have long loiter times. Two minutes is the Pentagon's own estimate. I think I'd rather have an A-10 protecting ground forces. Some few differ but even those arguing acknowledge the Warthog's surviviability:


I'd prefer no more phonecalls - if you wish to argue, let's do it here. Pretty please?

-- Posted by HDucker on Sat, May 19, 2012, at 10:42 AM

Well yes - you're correct. The images I posted have noting to do with the sites in Iran.

So I made a call myself. TLAMs should be sufficient given what's available in today's (May 21st) post.


-- Posted by HDucker on Mon, May 21, 2012, at 5:51 AM

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Bret Burquest
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Bret Burquest is a former award-winning columnist for The News (2001-2007) and author of four novels. He has lived in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Kansas City, Memphis and the middle of the Arizona desert. After a life of blood, sweat and tears in big cities, he has finally found peace in northern Arkansas where he grows tomatoes, watches sunsets and occasionally shares the Secrets of the Universe (and beyond) with the rest of the world.
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