Feature

Ike was right about military spending

The current defense budget of $700 billion is “six times more than any other nation” and “more than the next 18 combined,” said Peter S. Canellos in The Boston Globe.

Peter S. Canellos
The Boston Globe

For 50 years, American presidents have been ignoring Dwight D. Eisenhower’s final piece of presidential advice, said Peter S. Canellos. In his farewell address in 1961, the former five-star general warned against the “unwarranted influence” of “the military-industrial complex,” which he predicted would manipulate the nation into spending far more on defense than was necessary. Just three days later, a hawkish President John F. Kennedy pledged in his inaugural address to “pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship” in defense of freedom. Kennedy’s vision of limitless foreign commitments, backed by maximum military superiority, has held the nation in thrall for nearly 50 years, producing precisely the kind of “fear-mongering and budgetary waste” that Eisenhower abhorred.

The result is a current defense budget of $700 billion—“six times more than any other nation” and “more than the next 18 combined.” Any attempt to trim this swollen behemoth is met with a “fusillade of lobbying—more than $130 million worth per year”—and demagogic claims that any cuts will render the nation defenseless. “Eisenhower spoke to a reality that America, five decades hence, still can’t fully accept.”

Recommended

Meet Kirill, Putin's personal patriarch
Putin and Kirill.
Briefing

Meet Kirill, Putin's personal patriarch

Civilian death toll in Ukraine tops 4,000, U.N. says
Bombed school in Luhansk
fighting to survive

Civilian death toll in Ukraine tops 4,000, U.N. says

10 things you need to know today: May 28, 2022
Protesters outside the NRA convention
Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 28, 2022

Strong earthquake hits southern Peru
Peru.
shaken up

Strong earthquake hits southern Peru

Most Popular

Is the war shifting in Russia's favor?
Vladimir Putin.
Opinion

Is the war shifting in Russia's favor?

CDC identifies 9 monkeypox cases across 7 states
Monkeypox virus.
more pox

CDC identifies 9 monkeypox cases across 7 states

Jury begins deliberations in Johnny Depp-Amber Heard libel trial
Johnny Depp
you heard it here

Jury begins deliberations in Johnny Depp-Amber Heard libel trial