Monday, January 17, 2011

How has the Military Industrial Complex affected the U.S. economy?

On the next Your Call, we'll have a conversation about military spending. In January 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower gave a farewell address about the influence of a rising "military-industrial complex." What have the costs been since then? Join us live at 10 or send us an email at The $725 billion military budget is the highest since World War II. What will it take to cut military expenditures? It's Your Call, with Rose Aguilar and you.

Lawrence Wittner, Professor of History at the State University of New York, Albany, and former President of the Peace History Society.

William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation and has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times.

Click to Listen: How has the Military Industrial Complex affected the U.S. economy?


baumgrenze said...

I am concerned that nobody has talked about the impact of the international military industrial complex and their activities on global climate change. If we should be concerned about the redirection of our GNP to military activities, shouldn't we be equally concerned about taking steps in the military arena to curtail climate change; everyone seems to agree that such steps taken in the business economy have the potential to have serious costs. Please ask your guests to think about this and friends they have who can answer this question.

Joan K. Boyd said...

Hello Rose:

Congratulations to you for a successful show. I’m a fan of yours and am sure your audience has been growing over the years and paying more attention. I just returned from a trip to Vietnam and hope you will indulge me with this long comment.

“The war and peace issue has been of great interest to me since I was a young girl and remember my father being drafted into the Navy during WWII. My grandmother’s three sons, son-in-law (my father) and a nephew who served in various ranks including navy captains. At the peak of the Vietnam War I worked as a U.S. Agency for International Development nurse advisor in Pleiku Provincial Hospital. I want to present a few thoughts in response to your program which I listened to this evening.

The military-industrial complex had been visible long before Eisenhower mentioned it in his farewell address. In his copy he had written military-industrial-academia complex, but crossed out academia. Every major university in our country has a contract with the Defense Department.

The military has changed dramatically in the past ten or so years. Many officers of higher rank have a Ph.D. from an Ivy League university or they study for that degree upon their retirement and before they become a consultant for the media or join one of the many think tanks in Washington, D.C. At that time they become part of the ever-growing military intelligentsia which advises the president. In contrast many universities have surrendered their history departments since the Vietnam War. To understand and foster peace, we must study war and conflict.

The Vietnam War presents a major example of mistakes in foreign policy. Unfortunately there are fewer professors who are able to teach the history of the Vietnam War. The mistakes in Vietnam are being repeated in Iraq and Afghanistan by civilian and military leaders who should know better. How can we learn from history if we don’t study it?

A final thought. Twenty per cent of the military are women; about 13 % of military officers are female. I hypothesize that more gender equality could be advantageous to the military forces, our foreign policy and our country. If we achieve such equality, we would have an opportunity to search for those advantages.

Thanks for reading.