Way back in 1961, before you and I were even born, Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence by the military industrial complex for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” The military industrial complex (MIC) is the influence of the armed forces upon the operation of government.
We all have heard a lot of immature mud slinging between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama this election, especially in reference to Obama’s lack of foreign policy experience as well as McCain’s age and willingness to stay in Iraq. But neither has addressed the rampant MIC complex within the U.S. In fact, Obama has even attempted to appease moderate conservative voters by promising to increase military spending despite withdrawing from Iraq. Did you know the U.S. has already allocated over $651 billion to the defense budget for 2008, whereas education didn’t even receive a tenth of that number at $56 billion? And that doesn’t even include the spending on the wars in Iraq/Afghanistan, which brings the total military expenses to over $1 trillion a year.
Where does this money go? Well truth be told, we don’t know. The public is only given general categorical outlines but for national defense the pentagon doesn’t reveal the line-by-line spending. While you may feel national security is a legitimate excuse, you can’t establish a bright line of what’s necessary for national security and what isn’t. This leads to the complete abuse of power (think McCarthy trials during Cold War and blind nationalism). The U.S. received $2.568 trillion in tax revenue for fiscal 2007, meaning we spent over 40 percent of our budget on defense spending. That means our country is incredibly dependent on the war industry. Now compare that 40 percent with barely 2 percent for education,, and I have to ask: Why is there always money for war but not education?
Simple answer: The MIC provides jobs – lots of them – and they’ll be reflected immediately in the next fiscal year’s GDP rather than the future. Companies like General Electric, Boeing and Halliburton all bank heavily on the defense spending every year. Last time I checked, a conservative republican in the U.S. favors a small government with a balanced budget. Now, can you tell me why the total U.S. debt has grown every year since the 1940s and passed $10 trillion on Sept. 30? The U.S. prides itself on being the most liberal democracy – continuing low taxes, small economic involvement, yet isn’t this just a falsified ideal we’re actually regressing from? We subsidized our GDP with $1 trillion in defense spending, not to mention the other lines of budgetary spending. It is predicted that in the 2030s the interest the US government has to pay against its debt will exceed total tax revenue. Now add in that foreign governments and private investors own the majority of our debt and you realize that the U.S. is eventually going to declare bankruptcy or raise taxes significantly. Not to mention the fact that a $10 trillion debt inevitably leads to foreign economic control over U.S. markets.
So what should we do about it? Well, the MIC seems like a good place to begin, doesn’t it? Sadly, the game of politics takes precedent for both our candidates. Neither McCain nor Obama want to address it. McCain figures it’ll be after his political judgment has been made so why bother, and Obama is too scared of the employment loss in the defense industry. The result: ignorance of the issue and continuance as if everything’s fine until we’re so far up the j-curve of bankruptcy we can’t look back.
We are engulfed in a state of militarized capitalism within the U.S. Contracted armies like Blackwater fight our wars while the CIA and NSA run around like kids in a candy store without oversight. Worst of all, dissent for the MIC is repressed under the guise of national security. So I ask you, America, if Eisenhower was smart enough to recognize the danger of the MIC back in the 1960s, why have you never seen a political criticism on it in the mainstream media? What issue could possibly be more important?