World War 2 General and American President Dwight D Eisenhower’s greatest deed as a public servant occurred on January 17, 1961, shortly before stepping down after 8 years in the Whitehouse.
President Eisenhower delivered a farewell address to the nation, which is still talked about 60 years later, in 2021. The public response to the speech, particularly in more recent times, has perhaps successfully captured the warning that President Eisenhower was attempting to give. The speech is remarkable given who is making it – a retiring President, one of the few Generals to be awarded 5 stars and a hero of WW2 D-Day landings in France.
Eisenhower was a life long career military man. He knew no other job, apart from golf.
Which makes his message, broadcast live on TV even more memorable, even though it did not get much attention at the time.
Simply put, Eisenhower’s message in 1961 was, “Watch out for a ‘Military – Corporate’ take over of this country, the USA.”
We now realise that this speech was definitely not just an egotistical attempt to grab some last gasp publicity as President, as a modern politician might do, but contained a message that Eisenhower felt deeply about and had wanted for some time to share with his country. Much work went into the speech, it reportedly going through more than 20 drafts. The redrafting went on for more than a year.
How prescient Eisenhower’s message was, as he saw his young sucessor in the Whitehouse, President John F Kennedy assassinated in office in 1963, by parties unknown, however it is certain that Lee Harvey Oswald was not one of them. What a chilling and brutal demonstration of the power of this emerging power complex.
American governments had long been involved in regime change and assassination of world leaders, even their own. But John Kennedy’s killing was carried out in the modern era of live TV, in broad daylight in front of millions of viewers. He was the fourth American president to be assassinated and many attempts on other Presidents had been made, but John F Kennedy’s successful publicly broadcast murder in 1963 would be the start of a bloody and murderous decade in America.
Some key moments from President Eisenhower’s warning about abuse of government and corporate power,
“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 alone more than the net income of all United States corporations.”
“Now 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 Statehouse, every office of the Federal government…. 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.”
“As we peer into society’s future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow.”
Well, it is a great message huh?
Some say even back in 1961, drafts of his speech included references to the political wing of today’s elite’s that have a stranglehold of power. That is, Eisenhower had at one point referred to the “Military – Industrial – Congressional Complex”. How close he was in predicting the future if that is correct. In the 1960’s banks and the financial industry in America had nothing like the power and influence they have today and so the President may be forgiven for not seeing the rise of the FINANCIALIZATION and its strangulation of America, which took off rapidly after the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.
But essentially President Eisenhower was on the correct path in his speech – he was could see the beginnings of today’s Military – Corporate – Political – Financial – Media autocracy as far back as the 1950s and he tried to warn us about it.
Mainstream Media play a pivotal role in the complex and it is perhaps the most powerful component of all, for they have the power and are tasked with responsibility to ask questions. If the media were doing their job, even poorly, citizens everywhere would know enough to understand the problems surrounding “the very structure of our society” as Eisenhower put it. But the mainstream media are not doing their job – even poorly.
The global media are not even abandoning their role in society. They doing worse than even that. The mainstream media are actively aiding and abetting the other components of this stranglehold of society by they themselves promoting immoral wars, financial thievery, illegal regime changes and lies. There is no serious questioning of government anymore. The media are deliberately staying silent on the clear and irrefutable abuses carried out by their governments in the name of us, its citizens.
President Eisenhower’s warning that, “Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery” of the nation was well understood by these elites at the time of his speech.
Using the media and huge global public relations companies to create spiteful, hypocritical propaganda, tied together with trivial diversions and lies, the Military-Industrial-Media-Financial-Political complex has totally dulled the senses of its citizenry. They have created nations of smiling zombies, lifeless creatures with little brain function, able to walk in an undignified fashion towards a ballot box, and just capable of making an irrelevent “tick” every 4 years, as they mindlessly participate in the farce we still call freedom and democracy.
It must be true then, that people get the government they deserve.
Who is really to blame then for this sad state of affairs?