Katski’s Korner: Beware the Military-Industrial Complex

Micheal katski, Editor-In-chief

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President Dwight D. Eisenhower, or as many affectionately call him, “Ike,” left office 56 years ago, but his last words still, unfortunately, ring true in 2017.

Much like our first president, George Washington, Eisenhower used his farewell speech to warn America to stay away from a dangerous trend. Much like when Washington warned America about forming political parties, and soon after we had the birth of the two-party system, America once again ignored a cautionary tale from Ike, this time in the form of the military-industrial complex. Today, we bear the burden of living with this decision.

The military-industrial complex is a term that represents a symbiotic relationship between a nation’s military, economics, and politics. What Eisenhower was warning the nation about was the path the country was headed towards, which he saw as a military that would swell to gigantic size and become a crutch that the economy rests upon as the military becomes one of the nation’s biggest manufacturers. Unfortunately, that is exactly what began to happen after Eisenhower’s term and is still a part of today’s world.

That is why military spending makes up more than 50 percent of the federal discretionary spending towards the national budget. It is also why crucial programs like the EPA have seen proposals that will slash its funding in order to allocate more funds to the military. Our economy has become heavily dependent on the military industry in order to create jobs, and once wholly important areas such as conservation and the sciences have taken a back seat over the years.

Now, who’s to say there is a problem with our country making its defense a major focus? On the surface, there shouldn’t be but, when the military industry becomes such a large factor in the economy of the country, there are implications. A nation that operates this way needs to be almost constantly involved in some sort of conflict, or at least hint at conflict being eminent, in order to create a need for the military goods to be produced and manufactured. If there is not a conflict, many hard-working Americans would lose their jobs, and our economy would suffer severely. This leads to the United States creating conflict or the potential for it, which is evident in the recent attacks against the Assad regime in Syria.

I am in no way advocating for the Assad regime, and I am just as sickened by the atrocities committed by that regime as anyone. However, I do see the attacks as President Trump capitalizing on a prime opportunity to cast a fictitious reason for starting military conflict between the U.S. and Assad-led Syria. Presidents often have to “sell” a war or even military conflict to the general public, so to speak, as they need them to stabilize the government. But if the country doesn’t believe in what is happening, they lose their popularity, something they desperately need to sustain their time in office.

So, when Trump saw the chemical attack on civilians, he not only saw a morally reprehensible act, but also justification for an action that could potentially lead this country to a military conflict that would otherwise be unpopular. So, the opportunity to strike against Syria is taken, as the government knows that it now has the facade of morality to justify its actions to the public. What seems to be an action caused by moral strength and a desire to protect civilians worldwide is, unfortunately, more likely just another in the long chain of actions taken to keep the gears of the military-industrial complex moving.

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Katski’s Korner: Beware the Military-Industrial Complex