Editor's Page

The Military-Industrial Complex and the Forces of Evil as Personified by

Donald J. Trump

by Frank Thomas Smith

President Dwight D. Eisenhower coined the term Military-Industrial Complex on January 17, 1961, by warning that the United States' military spending was more than the next thirteen countries combined. Eisenhower was no starry-eyed tree-hugger; rather was he the victorious Allied Commanding General in World War II; one could say that after years in the presidency he knew what he was talking about.

But how can it be explained? At the end of the Second World War, the United States was the only one of the great powers left standing on its own feet. It had been a determining force in winning the wars against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, mostly because of its extraordinary industrial ability to produce weapons – including, sadly, the atomic bombs, dropped needlessly on Japan, when President Truman and his Air Force generals became mass murderers.

The disasters of that war did not touch the U.S. homeland; the thousands of young men killed or wounded in combat died on foreign soil. But the economy was booming, as was self-admiration, mostly because of the wisdom of the Marshall Plan, which was instrumental in helping Germany and Japan recover instead of crippling them as had been the case for Germany after the First World War.

That Second World War convinced the owners, stock holders and managers of the arms industry that war is very good for business indeed. They celebrate the birth of the industrial-military complex: an informal alliance between a nation's military and the arms industry which supplies it, seen together as a vested interest which influences public policy to the extent that it controls it. A driving factor behind this relationship between the government and war-minded corporations is that both sides benefit—one side from obtaining weapons, and the other from being paid to supply them.

The United States has been at war somewhere ever since; even the Cold War was good for the military and the arms industry, for a “deterrent” had to be achieved, which meant the production of every conceivable weapon – including nuclear stockpiles – for the U.S. and the Soviet Union to be able to mutually destroy each other in order to make both sides reluctant to do so. And it worked, at tremendous cost, contributing to the Soviet Union's demise. Gone but not forgotten: the Russian Federation still sits of the Soviet nuclear stockpile, with a less than trustworthy president Putin with his finger on the button. And the United States has a hulking egotistic mental midget named Trump with his itchy baby-finger on the button. Kim jun-un in North Korea completes the triangle of terror. And since Russia and China and others have joined the neo-capitalism club, the Military-Industrial Complex has grown like a giant spider on steroids. There are now over 240,000 active-duty and reserve troops in at least 172 countries and territories. While the number of men and women deployed overseas has shrunk considerably over the past 60 years, the military’s reach has not. American forces are actively engaged not only in the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen that have dominated the news, but also in Niger and Somalia, both recently the scene of deadly attacks, as well as Jordan, Thailand and elsewhere. An additional 37,813 troops serve on presumably secret assignment in places listed simply as “unknown.” The Pentagon provided no further explanation. But it's obvious that the arms industry – which includes aircraft – benefits enormously. As does the military. After all, war is their business, it's what soldiers do. It's during wartime that promotions are really quick: from private to master sergeant; from lieutenant to general. But, you may object, war is dangerous. Of course it is, but only for the grunts. Once an officer survives being a lieutenant – shot at by both the enemy and his own troops – he's safe, and from major on up he's safer than when driving back home.

John Kenneth Galbraith, (writing in 2004) in The Economics of Innocent Fraud describes what's going on. He sounds the alarm about the increasing gap between reality and conventional wisdom – how we have reached a point where the private sector has unprecedented control over the public sector. The private sector being the large corporations, which includes the arms industry; and the public sector is the political state meaning, in a democracy, the executive, legislative and judicial branches. In the United States of America the Republican Party, representing the Military-Industrial complex, with their buffoon stooge, Trump, as Commander-in-Chief and Fox News as its propaganda arm, is currently in charge.

Consider one of Donald Trump’s favorite generals, Douglas MacArthur, speaking to the Sperry Rand Corporation in 1957:
“Our swollen budgets constantly have been misrepresented to the public. Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear -- kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor -- with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant funds demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real.”
Interruption: I began writing this article before the Parkland, Florida massacre where 14 pupils and 3 teachers were murdered by a 19 year old sane lunatic who legally purchased a semi-automatic assault rifle as easily as he might have purchased a bunch of grapes – although not a can of beer, for which he is underage. Just think, he spent months, perhaps years previous to the deed proclaiming to his neighbors, friends and the world-at-large via Facebook that he was a gun-crazed potential murderer who planned to shoot up a school. The last vestige of his humanity was crying out to be stopped – but no one did anything, although the obviously incompetent authorities were duly informed. Is Donald J. Trump responsible for that as well? Yes! Because he is the puppet, the barbie doll of the arms industry via the National Rifle Association. He sits on his throne, sadly deprived of his weekend game of golf not far from the site of the carnage in Florida. He recommends arming teachers as a solution to the “problem” of school shootings. Gotcha Trumpo: what a great way to sell even more weapons! What a bonanza for the gun industry!
But...what about the children, the surviving ones, that is? They are on the march, to the Florida state capitol, where they were ignored by the complicit politicians, but not by the press. They are talking to live and print media and they and many more children – and adults I presume – will march on Washington in March. It could turn out to be one of the most important political, humanistic protests in American history, if they can shame the President and his mob to radically change the gun laws, including prohibiting the sale and ownership of assault weopons.
There's a lot of talk about impeaching Trump. More practical heads worry that such an attempt now, before the election in November which could change congress's profile, is doomed to fail. Perhaps they're right, but I wonder if the world has until November with a contemporary Nero in power with his pudgy finger on the nuclear button watching on TV in Mar-a-Lago while the world burns.
Bernard Lievegoed, A Dutch psychiatrist, anthroposophist and educator, shortly before he died in 1992 prophesied, although he called it a personal opinion, that the most difficult time in the battle against the world's evil forces would be between 2020 and 2040, when National Socialism and Bolshevism would seem pale in comparison. Although many will perish, many more will unite in resistance. They will clearly include those children who today have already begun to resist.