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Ike's Farewel;l Address


Tim Gratz
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From the Farewell Address of Dwight David Eisenhower, January 17, 1961:

We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security alone more than the net income of all United States corporations.

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.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.

From JFK's scheduled remarks at the Trade Mart Luncheon on that fateful terrible day:

In less than 3 years, we have increased by 50 percent the number of Polaris submarines scheduled to be in force by the next fiscal year, increased by more than 70 percent our total Polaris purchase program, increased by more than 75 percent our Minuteman purchase program, increased by 50 percent the portion of our strategic bombers on 15-minute alert, and increased by 100 percent the total number of nuclear weapons available in our strategic alert forces

************************************

So, my dear readers, do you think the wealth and power of the MIC increased or decreased during JFK's three years in office?

Edited by Tim Gratz
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But Ron surely you remember that JFK ran in 1960 on the allegation that there was a "missile gap" between the US and the Soviets. (Turned out he was wrong anyway.)

It would be interesting to get the actual numbers to see how defense spending increased under JFK. Some of the generals may have detested him but the owners of military-defense companies must have adored the very ground he walked on!

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They may have adored him till it became apparent that he was not going to give them a war. Not giving the MIC a good war when it's there for the taking (a just cause and blah blah blah) is serious business. "War is a racket" (Gen. Smedley Butler).

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Guest Stephen Turner
But Ron surely you remember that JFK ran in 1960 on the allegation that there was a "missile gap" between the US and the Soviets. (Turned out he was wrong anyway.)

If memory serves, that particular bit of disinformation came from a brief that Dulles gave Kennedy, and Johnson in the summer of 1960. I wonder whose interests he was serving at the time. OH BTW, much of this nonsence came from, ta-da, General Curtis LeMay.

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dbl post

Edited by John Dolva
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Delivered January 17, 1961.

"My fellow Americans:

Three days from now, after half a century in the service of our country, I shall lay down the responsibilities of office as, in traditional and solemn ceremony, the authority of the Presidency is vested in my successor.

This evening I come to you with a message of leave-taking and farewell, and to share a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen.

Like every other citizen, I wish the new President, and all who will labor with him, Godspeed. I pray that the coming years will be blessed with peace and prosperity for all.

Our people expect their President and the Congress to find essential agreement on issues of great moment, the wise resolution of which will better shape the future of the Nation.

My own relations with the Congress, which began on a remote and tenuous basis when, long ago, a member of the Senate appointed me to West Point, have since ranged to the intimate during the war and immediate post-war period, and, finally, to the mutually interdependent during these past eight years.

In this final relationship, the Congress and the Administration have, on most vital issues, cooperated well, to serve the national good rather than mere partisanship, and so have assured that the business of the Nation should go forward. So, my official relationship with the Congress ends in a feeling, on my part, of gratitude that we have been able to do so much together.

II.

We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has witnessed four major wars among great nations. *Three of these involved our own country. Despite these holocausts America is today the strongest, the most influential and most productive nation in the world. Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, 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.

III.

Throughout America's adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad.

Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology -- global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger is poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle -- with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.

Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in newer elements of our defense; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research -- these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.

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. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.

The record of many decades stands as proof that our people and their government have, in the main, understood these truths and have responded to them well, in the face of stress and threat. But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise. I mention two only.

IV.

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

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 State house, 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.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist

Tim: "We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security alone more than the net income of all United States corporations.

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.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex."

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system -- ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

V.

Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. 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.

VI.

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.

Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.

Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war -- as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years -- I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.

Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has been made. But, so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never cease to do what little I can to help the world advance along that road.

VII.

So -- in this my last good night to you as your President -- I thank you for the many opportunities you have given me for public service in war and peace. I trust that in that service you find some things worthy; as for the rest of it, I know you will find ways to improve performance in the future.

You and I -- my fellow citizens -- need to be strong in our faith that all nations, under God, will reach the goal of peace with justice. May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nation's great goals.

To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America's prayerful and continuing aspiration:

We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love."

____________________

*Presimably these three are WWI, WWII, and the Korean War. The fourth? Conveniently ignored? The first Indo China War? The USofA financed and supplied the French almost in toto. ie all four wars 'involved' the USofA.

**"We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system -- ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society."

This paints a slightly different picture. Armaments in the form of new technology was moving into a far far more costly and specialised arena.

Among Kennedy's first agenda was to gain a true picture of the state of affairs. He found an armed force in need of rationalising and streamlining. Further, he found a need to assume Presidential control over foreign policy, ie Civilian control (through the elected President) of all aspects, including the Military. This is where people like Brig. Gen. E. A Walker came into the picture. Supported by a range of the old guard, His reassingnment and subsequent resignation as a result of the Pro Blue program he ran, and his 'covert'~ surveillance of his own Soldiery ran counter to specific Presidential orders.

(~ it was known and seen by those under his command)

What Eisenhower (apart from taking a dig at Kennedy ("Three days from now, after half a century in the service of our country, I shall lay down the responsibilities of office as, in traditional and solemn ceremony, the authority of the Presidency is vested in my successor.

This evening I come to you with a message of leave-taking and farewell, and to share a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen.

Like every other citizen, I wish the new President, and all who will labor with him, Godspeed. I pray that the coming years will be blessed with peace and prosperity for all.

Our people expect their President and the Congress to find essential agreement on issues of great moment, the wise resolution of which will better shape the future of the Nation.

My own relations with the Congress, which began on a remote and tenuous basis when, long ago, a member of the Senate appointed me to West Point, have since ranged to the intimate during the war and immediate post-war period, and, finally, to the mutually interdependent during these past eight years.

In this final relationship, the Congress and the Administration have, on most vital issues, cooperated well, to serve the national good rather than mere partisanship, and so have assured that the business of the Nation should go forward. So, my official relationship with the Congress ends in a feeling, on my part, of gratitude that we have been able to do so much together...

...V.

Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. 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.")

A recurrent theme of the anti-Senator Kennedy's candidacy campaign was that he was too young, too inexperienced. IOW Eisenhower is warning the people against Kennedy as he saw him.

***E: "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.

Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield."

Here he refers to the October 1960 UN incident portrayed usually as Kruschev spitting the dummy and "banging the table with his shoe". That this event, as reported (mythologised) ever occured is in doubt. Close observers saw hin striking the table with his fist.

http://www.newstatesman.com/200010020025

"Nina Khrushchevawent in search of the truth."

"I considered the possibility that the incident had been an attempt by the west to convey the ideological message: "Our enemy is ridiculous and uncivilised, but since he is so ridiculous and uncivilised, he is capable of everything. Therefore we have to be prepared for anything." "

"Studying the papers, I felt as if I was there, in New York City in 1960. It had been 15 years since the end of the Second World War; wounds were healed, and humanity had survived - ready to go on in hope of life becoming better, better and better. The acceptance of 15 more independent African states to the UN; suggestions for disarmament; the formation of a third block - the neutrals - countries that decided to set themselves apart from capitalism or socialism; "peaceful coexistence" between east and west; all that was promising for the future. The 1960 session was an astounding collection of leaders from both big and small states: the American president, Dwight D Eisenhower; the British prime minister, Harold Macmillan; the Soviet Union's premier, Nikita Khrushchev; Fidel Castro from Cuba; India's Jawaharlal Nehru; Yugoslavia's President Tito; Egypt's Gamal Nasser, and many more.

Each came with his own contribution to international unity. Nevertheless, despite intentions, this particular assembly turned out to be the most scandalous in the UN's history. East and west were busy proving each other wrong; the neutrals disagreed among themselves on almost everything. African states, supported by the Soviet Union, didn't back the Soviet leader on certain issues. Castro was making a big stir. "Hurricane Nikita" used every opportunity to reinforce the most critical situations. President Eisenhower made no effort to ease the tension. The rest were disappointed with both the US and the Soviet Union.

September ended, October began. Khrushchev's flamboyance and excitement were wearing thin. He quietened down. Everyone was tired, and many of the state leaders had already left. Reasons cited in the history books for Khrushchev's anger had also been exhausted."

...

"The head of the Philippine delegation, Senator Lorenzo Sumulong, expressed his surprise at the Soviet Union's concerns over western imperialism, while it, in turn, swallowed the whole of eastern Europe. Khrushchev's rage was beyond anything he had ever shown before. He called the poor Filipino "a jerk, a stooge and a lackey of imperialism", ..."

"According to Khrushchev, there was abundant evidence that western powers had mistreated and mistrusted the Soviet Union: a U-2 spy airplane over Russian territory, which President Eisenhower plainly denied; the Monroe doctrine and the US embargo on Cuba, Khrushchev's favoured protege; and the rejection of the Soviet Union disarmament plan, which offered the first official attempt at peaceful coexistence."

Of course he got p.....d off.

The Western Media had a field day.

Not unlike Hugo Chavez when making an important speech in the UN and only a relatively minor reference to the sulphuric stench that the devil, Bush, left behind getting wide ( any ) coverage.

_____________

Eisenhowers speech is misread out of context. The cold war was hot. Replacing the French in Indo-China was on the agenda. His speech reads like a plea for peace, but is really setting the stage for endless war. Intellectuals are among the first to go (Kampuchea), Kennedy was a scholar with a taste for the truth, what Eisenhower is really warning against is the University Scientist who may very well be a pacifist as well. (See Einstein and his thoughts about the A-Bomb and his role there.)

Edited by John Dolva
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