It’s a coincidence, White House aides say. President Barack Obama did not deliberately schedule his big NSA speech for Friday to mark the anniversary of Dwight Eisenhower’s warning that the “military-industrial complex” posed a potential threat to American democracy.
Eisenhower’s Jan. 17, 1961 speech portrayed the country as locked in a struggle of “indefinite duration” – he meant against Soviet Communism, though the label could apply today to Islamist extremism. “Ike” also noted that a vigorous military, and the industrial and technological apparatus that supports it, were necessary.
But then the former five-star general shocked Americans with this:
“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.”