NR Digital

Ike as Weapon

The use and abuse of Eisenhower’s Farewell Address, with its warning about the ‘military-industrial complex’

Suggest that the defense budget be increased, and you may well hear about Eisenhower’s Farewell Address. Tsk tsk, people will say: the military-industrial complex. We must not forget Eisenhower’s warning about that complex. A reminder of the 34th president is supposed to put a conservative Republican, in particular, in his place. People who otherwise have no use for Eisenhower or his brand of Republicanism — liberals, leftists, “paleocons,” and libertarians — suddenly like Ike, when it comes to this military-industrial complex.

Recently, a video of a speech made by Rand Paul surfaced. The speech was given in 2009, the year before Paul was elected to the Senate. He was speaking to students at Western Kentucky University. He said, “Even Eisenhower, back in the ’50s, said, you know, ‘Beware of the military-industrial complex.’” The Farewell Address was given in January 1961, but that is immaterial. Paul continued, “We need to be fearful of companies that get so big that they can actually be directing policy.”

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