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Ike Was Right
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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.

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 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.”

General Dwight D Eisenhower
Farewell address 1961

Congress just passed a near trillion dollar military budget at a time when the United States faces no evident state threats at home or abroad. Ike was right.

Illustrating Ike’s prescient warning, Brown University’s respected Watson Institute just released a major study which found that the so-called ‘wars on terror’ in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Pakistan have cost US taxpayers $6.4 trillion since they began in 2001.

The extensive study found that over 800,000 people have died as a result of these military operations, a third of them civilians. An additional 21 million civilians have been displaced by US military operations. According to the Pentagon, these US wars have so far cost each American taxpayer $7,623 – and that’s a very conservative estimate.

Most of this money has been quietly added to the US national debt of over $23 trillion. Wars on credit hide the true cost and pain from the public.

As General Eisenhower warned, military spending has engulfed the nation. A trillion annual military budget represents just about half the world’s military expenditures. The Pentagon, which I’ve visited numerous times, is bustling with activity as if the nation was on a permanent war footing.

The combined US intelligence budget of some $80 billion is larger than Russia’s total military budget of $63 billion. US troops, warplanes and naval vessels are stationed around the globe, including, most lately, across Africa. And yet every day the media trumpets new ‘threats’ to the US. Trump is sending more troops to the Mideast while claiming he wants to reduce America’s powerful military footprint there. Our military is always in search of new missions. These operations generate promotions and pay raises, new equipment and a reason for being.

Back in the day, the Republican Party of General Eisenhower was a centrist conservative’s party with a broad world view, dedicated to lower taxes and somewhat smaller government. It was led by the Rockefellers and educated Easterners with a broad world view and respect for tradition.

ORDER IT NOW

Today’s Republican Party is a collection of rural interests from flyover country, handmaidens of the military industrial complex and, most important, militant evangelical Christians who see the world through the spectrum of the Old Testament. Israel’s far right has come to dominate American evangelists by selling them a bill of goods about the End of Days and the Messiah’s return. Many of these rubes see Trump as a quasi-religious figure.

Mix the religious cultists – about 25% of the US population – with the farm and Israel lobbies and the mighty military industrial complex and no wonder the United States has veered off into the deep waters of irrationality and crusading ardor. The US can still afford such bizarre behavior thanks to its riches, magic green dollar, endless supply of credit and a poorly educated, apathetic public too besotted by sports and TV sitcoms to understand what’s going on abroad.

All the war party needs is a steady supply of foreign villains (preferably Muslims) who can be occasionally bombed back to the early Islamic age. Americans have largely forgotten George W. Bush’s lurid claims that Iraqi drones of death were poised to shower poisons on the sleeping nation. Even the Soviets never ventured so deep into the sea of absurdity.

The military industrial complex does not care to endanger its gold-plated F-35 stealth aircraft and $13 billion apiece aircraft carriers in a real war against real powers. Instead, the war party likes little wars against weak opponents who can barely shoot back. State-run TV networks thrill to such minor scraps with fancy headlines and martial music. Think of the glorious little wars against Panama, Grenada, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya. Iran looks next.

The more I listen to his words, the more I like Ike.

(Republished from EricMargolis.com by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy, History • Tags: American Military, Iran, Iraq War 
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  1. melpol says:

    Most of the military budget is creating good jobs and pay raises for the best of Americans. Unemployable minorities will prosper with a cut in defense spending. But the best of Americans will not be able to pay their bills. Take your choice.

    • Agree: Rich
    • Replies: @obwandiyag
    , @Druid
  2. Ko says:

    I always wonder why people use Ike as the one who warned the nation away from the military industrial complex. Didn’t he overlord the satanic spawn for eight years and helped it to develop into a full grown monster?

    • Replies: @Anthony Aaron
    , @TheJester
  3. @Ko

    From what I’ve read, it was Eisenhower who warned Truman against any dealings with the creation of israel … and who warned Truman to keep his distance from them. He must have seen their evil ways in the history of their creation … from the Balfour Declaration and its use to get the US into WW1 against our interests to FDR’s getting US into WW2 — also against our interests.

    And, of course, now they infest every nook and cranny of our government (federal and most states) — and are so heavily intertwined and embedded into our national infrastructure (defense, utility, etc.) as to be virtually impossible to remove.

  4. @ melpol,

    Wow! I am going to take a chance that you are not a troll and respond thinking that you are simply a very, very stupid person.

    *Would doubling the US military expenditure be a good thing?

    *Do you think that there is such a thing as corruption in the US?

    *What is your opinion of Wall Street?

    *Is it the duty of government to care for the population?

    *What is better for the US 10 wars or 0 wars?

    *Have you ever fought for your country?

    If you did and had both your legs blown off by an IUD and ended up an unemployable gimp on scarce VA benefits and a poverty pension essentially done for this world, would you have made your original post?

    Let’s see if you are for real.

    Cheers-

  5. Mr. Margolis is quoted in this video that explains how the Cold War was replaced by the bogus War on Terror:

  6. Many of these rubes see Trump as a quasi-religious figure.

    As opposed to those seeing Eisenhower, the man who murdered a million Germans in open air camps post WWII, as a quasi-religious figure?

    There was a time when politicians looked at the big picture and put the welfare of “the nation”, in its truest sense, ahead of political dogma. The US hasn’t seen that since the 19th century.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  7. Ike messed up Vietnam, Iran, and Guatemala.

    Imagine how things would have been different if Iran had been left alone.
    And if Ho had been recognized as a nationalist hero and leader.
    And if the US had come to terms with the humanist-leftist government of Arbenz.

    Instead, the US placed the idiot Shah in Iran, leading to anti-Americanism among Iranians.
    US divided Vietnam and set the grounds for the war that would kill 55,000 Americans and 2 million Vietnamese.
    US sided with the United Fruit Company in Central America, igniting guerrilla Marxist wars in which 100,000s perished in violence by communist insurgents and ‘right-wing death squads’.

    Ike gave a good speech as he left, but imagine if he’d actually stood up to the Deep State.

    • Agree: Hillbob
    • Replies: @Rich
  8. “The US can still afford such bizarre behavior thanks to its riches, magic green dollar, endless supply of credit and a poorly educated, apathetic public too besotted by sports and TV sitcoms to understand what’s going on abroad.”
    That “magic green dollar” is the key to this never ending horror story. The reserve currency status of the dollar allows the US to print $$ & issue bonds into infinity. Shut off that tap & the US military extravaganza will slowly … dry up.
    A good first step to turning off the $$ faucet? Have oil traded in a basket of currencies, followed by other commodities.
    That the US will fight, will continue to increasingly act like a vicious gangster to protect its extraordinary privilege is a given: just ask Iraq, Libya, Syria, Venesualia, Russia & China.

    • Replies: @Curmudgeon
  9. TheJester says:
    @Ko

    Ike favored the lower cost of a nuclear deterrent than trying to compete with the Soviets with large, WWII-sized armies.

    So, don’t blame Ike for out-of-control US military spending associated with the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex (the original wording in his speech). Instead, blame him for using the threat of nuclear war (a lower-cost tripwire with a “real bang for the buck”) as his preferred deterrent for keeping the peace.

  10. @animalogic

    The reserve currency status of the dollar allows the US to print $$ & issue bonds into infinity.

    It’s worse than that. Recently Trump threatened Iraq with having the New York Fed freeze its assets. What is $3bnUS doing in the New York Fed? All US dollar exchanges are run through the New York Fed, and it’s not just for oil. Every trade with another country in which the US dollar is used, runs through the New York Fed. That is how Trump froze Venezuelan assets in the US. They are there, because they are required to be there, in order to trade, not because countries want their assets to be there. Note that Iran, like Venezuela, is prepared to trade commodity for commodity, avoiding the Bank of International Settlements and the New York Fed. Iraq’s recent deal with China does the same. The last time this idea gained traction, about 85 years ago, there was a world war. Why should it be any different this time?

  11. Rich says:
    @Priss Factor

    1. Mosaddegh was a communist who would have aligned with the Soviet Union and altered the balance of power.
    2. Had the US not stood against the communist aggression against South Vietnam the Communists would have kept pushing forward eventually advancing throughout Asia.
    3. Although I suppose Arbenz was important to some in Guatemala, besides his obvious communist leanings, he’s really not that important a figure.

    • Replies: @Biff
  12. The Pentagon, which I’ve visited numerous times, is bustling with activity as if the nation was on a permanent war footing.

    You mean it isn’t already on a permanent war footing?

  13. anonymous[700] • Disclaimer says:
    @Curmudgeon

    Marghoulish:

    “The more I listen to his words, the more I like Ike.”

    from Germany’s War: The Origins, Aftermath & Atrocities of World War II,
    by John Wear
    https://www.unz.com/book/john_wear__germanys-war/

    In a complete absurdity, a $120 million American taxpayer-funded memorial to Dwight Eisenhower has been officially announced. How Eisenhower has ended up as a national hero is a testament to the power of carefully crafted historical propaganda. Eisenhower personally oversaw the deliberate mass murder of hundreds of thousands of German POWs who were starved to death or died of disease and exposure. He should be remembered as a major war criminal rather than as an American national hero.

    and

    In addition to not negotiating peace with Germany and practicing uncivilized warfare, the Allied leaders intentionally allowed the Soviet Union to take over Berlin and Eastern Europe. The supreme Allied commander in the West, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, had no intention of occupying Berlin. According to Nikita Khrushchev’s memoirs, “Stalin said that if it hadn’t been for Eisenhower, we wouldn’t have succeeded in capturing Berlin.”

    and

    The Western Allies were still in a position to easily capture Berlin. However, Eisenhower ordered a halt of American troops on the Elbe River, thereby in effect presenting a gift to the Soviet Union of central Germany and much of Europe. One American staff officer bitterly commented: “No German force could have stopped us. The only thing that stood between [the] Ninth Army and Berlin was Eisenhower.”

    and

    On July 27, 1929, the Allies extended the Protective Regulations of the Geneva Convention for Wounded Soldiers to include prisoners of war (POWs). These regulations state: “All accommodations should be equal to the standard of their troops. The Red Cross supervises. After the end of the hostilities the POWs should be released immediately.”

    On March 10, 1945, Dwight Eisenhower, the supreme Allied commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, disregarded these regulations by classifying German prisoners captured on German territory as “Disarmed Enemy Forces” (DEFs). The German prisoners were therefore at the mercy of the Allies and were not protected by international law.

    Gen. Eisenhower’s fierce and obsessive hatred not only of the Nazi regime, but indeed of all things German,. . . [resulted in] More than 5 million German soldiers in the American and French zones were crowded into barbed wire cages, many of them literally shoulder to shoulder. The ground beneath soon became a quagmire of filth and disease. Open to the weather, lacking even primitive sanitary facilities, underfed, the prisoners soon began dying of starvation and disease. Starting in April 1945, the United States Army and the French army casually annihilated about 1 million men, most of them in American camps. Not since the horrors of the Confederate-administered prison at Andersonville during the American Civil War had such cruelties taken place under American military control. For more than four decades this unprecedented tragedy lay hidden in Allied archives.

    and

    The plans made at the highest levels of the U.S. and British governments in 1944 expressed a determination to destroy Germany as a world power once and for all by reducing her to a peasant economy, although this would mean the starvation of millions of civilians. Up until now, historians have agreed that the Allied leaders soon canceled their destructive plans because of public resistance.
    Eisenhower’s hatred, passed through the lens of a compliant military bureaucracy, produced the horror of death camps unequaled by anything in American military history. In the face of the catastrophic consequences of this hatred, the casual indifference expressed by the SHAEF officers is the most painful aspect of the U.S. Army’s involvement.
    Nothing was further from the intent of the great majority of Americans in 1945 than to kill off so many unarmed Germans after the war. Some idea of the magnitude of this horror can be gained when it is realized that these deaths exceed by far all those incurred by the German army in the west between June 1941 and April 1945. In the narrative that follows, the veil is drawn from this tragedy.

    and

    Brech said in 1995 regarding the U.S. Army, “It is clear that in fact it was the policy to shoot any civilians trying to feed the prisoners.” Brech has also confirmed that Eisenhower’s starvation policy was harshly enforced down to the lowest level of camp guard.

    and

    Soon after Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945, Gen. Eisenhower sent an urgent courier throughout the huge area that he commanded. The message reads in part: “The military government has requested me to make it known, that, under no circumstances may food supplies be assembled among the local inhabitants, in order to deliver them to the German prisoners of war. Those who violate this command and nevertheless try to circumvent this blockade, to allow anything to come to the prisoners, place themselves in danger of being shot….”

    • Replies: @Druid
  14. Agent76 says:

    SEPTEMBER 10, 2001 Defense Business Practices

    Secretary Rumsfeld and other officials talked with reporters about the need to refine the Defense Department’s business practices. An opening ceremony will kick off Acquisition and Logistics Excellence Week. They answered questions from members of the media

    http://www.c-span.org/video/?165947-1/defense-business-practices

    2.3 TRillion Dollars Missing from DOD Day before 9/11/ 2001

    The Corporatocracy: How the Corporate Welfare State Divides and Conquers

    A small, readily-identifiable ruling oligarchy that no serious political observer denies the existence of is able to keep the public from attacking it by dividing them along ideological grounds so that the public spends all their time arguing over definitions and splitting doctrinal hairs instead of attacking the commonly acknowledged enemy. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect system of control.

    Multiply the years of war times these numbers and you just might be in the ball park with the debt clock.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  15. @melpol

    You fucking complete and utter idiot.

  16. @Agent76

    Watch what happens on this rag when you attack rich people, or say that money is the issue and not their sacred cow “race.”

    They are hopeless, you see. Hopeless.

  17. Oh. And most important of all. You start to talk about the miltitary industrial complex and unbelievable trillions of dollars and they start in trolling with this concentration camp canard. Anything to get away from economics, which is the only real issue. But notice how–every … single… time…they divert you away from the economic issues some way or another. It might be the truth or it might be a lie. Doesn’t matter. The “truth” doesn’t matter. Your mamma wears army boots. That’s the truth. What does it matter? Nothing. It matters not at all. What matters is only one thing. What matters is, are you talking about trillions of dollars, or are you diverting people onto some other crap or other. Period.

  18. Hail says: • Website

    [The foreign wars] have cost US taxpayers $6.4 trillion since they began in 2001.

    https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/

    The $6.4 trillion estimate is for Sept. 11, 2001 to Sept. 30, 2020 (the end of Fiscal Year 2020), just over 19 years. With Trump and the neocons running the show, this will extend to at least FY2021, and if he wins in Nov. 2020, it will presumably extend to at least FY2025; business as usual.

    According to the Pentagon, these US wars have so far cost each American taxpayer $7,623 – and that’s a very conservative estimate.

    This paltry $7,623 figure is clearly NOT based on the same numerator as the Watson Institute study ($6.4 trillion).

    Here is a calculation on cost of the nevernding, pointless wars, per capita, measured in several ways:

    First, the number of US citizens aged between 18 to 69 (working age), as of 2018, is:

    176,607,000 native-born citizens
    18,024,000 foreign-born, naturalized citizens
    = 194,600,000 US citizens age 18 to 69

    (Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2018, Table 4)

    The total cost of the wars, 2001 to 2020, is $33,000 per US citizen of working-age (defined generously at 18 to 69) (and up to $36,500 per native-born US citizen of working-age).

    But as for the burden on net taxpayers (which I understand to have numbered between 75 and 80 million during this period, per IRS data [I’ll use 77.5m]), the sum cost of the wars is $82,500 per US net-taxpayer.

    Imagine what could’ve been done with all that money.

    The yearly cost is $6.4 trillion / 19 years = $337 billion per year. On a yearly basis — year in, year out, since 2001 –the Forever War comes to $4,350/annum per net-taxpayer per year.

    And that is not even the entire military budget, just the Mideast wars; the series of unnecessary, often counterproductive foreign wars and endless interventions.

    • Replies: @Hail
  19. Hail says: • Website
    @Hail

    The yearly cost is $6.4 trillion / 19 years = $337 billion per year

    The highest-end estimate for the cost of the US-Mexico border wall was

    $45 billion for initial construction,
    + $1 billion a year thereafter to maintain it and patrol it.

    (Other estimates were closer to half this amount.)

    If the endless Mideast wars and interventions were downscaled, say, just 15% for just ONE year, the saved money would pay for the entire wall and several years’ worth of maintenance.

  20. d dan says:

    US is the warmongers’ paradise. Whether Ike is the hero or villain is not important. The country has been kidnapped by MIC. This is a feature, not a bug. Considering:

    1. By 2015, America has been at war 93% of the time – 222 out of 239 years of its existence – Since 1776, i.e. the U.S. has only been at peace for less than 20 years total since its birth. Ref: https://freakonometrics.hypotheses.org/50473

    2. In 2016, the last full year our Nobel Peace Prize laureate President Obama was in office, America dropped 26,171 bombs in 7 countries, i.e. US is at war in 7 countries. Ref: https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/scary-fact-america-dropped-26171-bombs-7-countries-2016-18961

    3. In 2017 and 2018, America still officially at war in 7 countries, Ref: https://www.defenseone.com/news/2018/03/the-d-brief-march-15-2018/146688/

    4. Besides official wars, America also has been involved in regime change that entailed both overt and covert actions aimed at altering, replacing, or preserving foreign governments (democratic, communist, dictatorial or any forms or shapes of governments ), in over 100 places, with countries like Samoa, Cuba, Philippines, China, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti, Italy, Indonesia, Iran,… etc. Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_involvement_in_regime_change#1943%E2%80%9346:_Italy

    5. America’s military budget is 37 percent of the world total military spending, and is bigger than the combined budgets of the next 7 countries. Even that understates the overwhelming spending we have, considering NATO, Japan, Australia, etc will almost always on America’s side in any conflict today or in future. Ref: https://www.nationalpriorities.org/campaigns/us-military-spending-vs-world/

    6. America is the biggest arms exporter in the world in 2018, as big as the next 4 biggest exporters combined. Ref: https://www.army-technology.com/features/arms-exports-by-country/

    Furthermore, most of the wars America involved in was started by America, i.e. non-defensive, and without proper authorization from Congress.

    • Replies: @HallParvey
  21. Druid says:
    @anonymous

    Disgusting. And he used Jews in these camps who did his dirty work, as I understand from other sources

  22. Biff says:
    @Rich

    1. Mosaddegh was a communist who would have aligned with the Soviet Union and altered the balance of power.
    2. Had the US not stood against the communist aggression against South Vietnam the Communists would have kept pushing forward eventually advancing throughout Asia.
    3. Although I suppose Arbenz was important to some in Guatemala, besides his obvious communist leanings, he’s really not that important a figure.

    All planted in your head and cultivated in your dreams only to become ghosts in a wayward past.

  23. Trump was right, too, before CIA put the laser dot on his forehead. He told the fatass military dumbshits what we think of them.

    https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2020/01/the-betrayal-of-trump-by-larry-c-johnson.html

    Sacred space. Suck my dick.

  24. @d dan

    6. America is the biggest arms exporter in the world in 2018, as big as the next 4 biggest exporters combined. Ref: https://www.army-technology.com/features/arms-exports-by-country/

    You have to do something with all that extra inventory. What better way to keep the materiel moving than to supply arms to all our allies. We have lots of them.

    To help in that endeavor we need to send aid money to countries like Ukraine, who, after returning a percentage of the laundered dollars to their benefactors in the U.S. government, can pay our arms producers to keep them supplied with things that go boom. Essential to ensure that their locals stay in line.

    Their personal incentive is that they are allowed to keep a percentage for themselves. Probably hidden somewhere in Switzerland. Or London. Or New York.

    As president Obama showed us, there’s no need to worry about the dollar supply. We simply print more. And more. And more.

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