Wake Up America – The Military-Industrial Complex Never Sleeps

Wake Up America – The Military-Industrial Complex Never Sleeps


I quote President Eisenhower:

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.

Evidence of the workings of the military-industrial complex (MIC) is presented below.

Always at War

Measured by the years of engagement, the US is the most warlike nation in the world. In the 81 years since the start of WW11, the US has been at war in all but 30. And that does not include the Cold War (1947-1991) as an “actual” war. While there is significant agreement among scholars that WWII and the Gulf War made sense for the US, the jury is most definitely out on the others.

Table 1. – US Major Wars

But since the Vietnam War and the end of the draft, the American public has left decisions on when to go to war and for how long to US Presidents. In retrospect, that appears to have had disastrous consequences. As examples:

  • Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. And removing him created a vacuum that was filled by terrorists and Iran. The vacuum was created because the US did not bother to have a post war game plan for Iraq. Instead, they disbanded the Army and they became unemployed workers with guns.  
  • The US invaded Afghanistan, allegedly to get Bin Laden. But the US ended up getting into a protracted ground war that continues to this day. And Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan.

Pressure from the MIC is part of the reason for why disastrous consequences occurred.

 Wars are very good for the MIC because they require the US to buy armaments. And to that end MIC makes sure the US Congress is on board. Open Secrets reports that between 2007 and 2019, MIC spent $1.7 billion lobbying Congress.

The “felt” burden of recent wars is lessened because of how prosperous the country has been. As Table 2 indicates, the military budget share of US GDP has fallen dramatically since the end of WWII. However, the 2020 military budget is nevertheless huge – $718 billion. And the Congressional Budget Office projects will grow in real terms to $776 billion by 2034.

Table 2. – The US Military Budget Share of GDP

Source: FY 2020 Defense Budget

To give readers a sense of what this includes, I offer a few quotes (with my commentary) from the actual budget proposal.


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Thomas Callahan 9 months ago Member's comment

Great read.