A clip from President Eisenhower’s Farewell Address.
Here is the entire text (a very fine read): http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/indust.html
Seeing a great military hero, as he finished two terms as chief of state, deliver a message like this, is powerful. The President chose his words carefully, and he did not mince them.
Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.
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 recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet 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. 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.
I think we should take that advice. There are grave implications for the very structure of our society. The potential for a disastrous rise of misplaced power persists. Take nothing for granted. ONLY an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can COMPEL the proper meshing. Without an alert an knowledgeable citizenry, liberty is jepoardized by the economic, political and spiritual influence of the military industrial complex.