Dwight D. Eisenhower's Legacy

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"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." In 1961, Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his final address as President of the United States. His farewell address has a lasting legacy second only to George Washington prophesying of foreign affairs and partisan politics. Eisenhower had a similar message, although as a former 5 star general and a supposed friend of big business, his message surprised a few people to say the least. He forewarned what a permanent peacetime war industry would mean to our future, and he cautioned against what he called the military …show more content…

Advocates for spending make a few points that can’t be ignored. William J Perry of Stanford University and former general John P. Abizaid argue that sequestration, or automatic cuts that are built into budgets, ought to go away. “We want to make two points crystal clear. First, sequester has precipitated an immediate readiness crisis; returning to sequester levels of funding in 2016 will lead to a hollow force. Second, the increases above sequester levels proposed thus far, while desirable, are nowhere near enough to remedy the damage which the Department has suffered and enable it to carry out its missions at an acceptable level of risk. In fact, the capabilities and capacities called for by the 2014 QDR clearly exceed budget resources made available to the Department”. (Perry Abizaid). However, the Department of Defense is far from suffering like sequestration opponents claim. As Benjamin H Friedman from the Cato Institute points out, defense spending grew “in real terms” 77 percent from 1999 to 2010, adjusted for inflation, reaching levels unseen since World War II. (Friedman) Another obvious area for concern are terrorist groups and other foreign threats, namely ISIS. Timothy M Bonds, Michael Johnson, and Paul S. Steinberg for RAND, an army research group argue that ISIS warrants an increase in spending. Their chief concern is with growth; that any neglect of the issue would allow ISIS to form into it's own quasi-state where it …show more content…

To be clear, lobbying congress isn’t an inherently bad activity. Political interest groups can influence change towards climate science, women’s rights, and other issues that wouldn’t progress without help. However, we have to be cautious when a sort of oligarchy forms and congressmen are acting with the interest of maintaining their office instead of the future. Aside from funding campaigns, James Huston reveals how contractors can maintain political influence. One of the driving forces behind elections of house members in congress is undoubtedly jobs. If people are put out of work because of a decision their representative makes, that representative won’t likely serve more than a term or two. After all, it’s hard to campaign to angry, jobless people, especially when their former employer tells them that you’re the one to blame. Military contractors spread jobs throughout states or concentrate them in congressional districts where they need political influence. This way, contractors can hold the threat of job losses over a congressman’s head whenever he or she makes a decision that would negatively affect their funding. This is the same driving force that keeps large military bases open. (Huston). Political influence is also one of the deciding factors when it comes to business acquisitions. For example, when Lockheed Martin bought

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