President Dwight Eisenhower understood war and the military industrial complex as only an experienced warrior can. In his last speech as President in 1961, he warned us about the United States in which we now live.
1. He warned us that our country’s prestige could be lost:
“We yet realize that America's leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.”
2. He warned that an overly powerful military industrial complex could lead the country into unwarranted wars:
“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.”
3. He warned about an imbalance between private and public interests:
“But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs -- balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage -- balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future.”
4. He warned about plundering the earth’s resources:
“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. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.”
5. He warned about getting caught up in fear and hatred:
“Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.”
Very insightful for a President mostly remembered for his golf game. Maybe that's why we didn't listen.
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