Military-Industrial Complex: A Dangerous Myth Returns

The conspiracy-minded are once again inveighing against the sinister defense contractors who supposedly control America’s purse strings. The reality of the federal budget is much less exciting.

Donald Trump’s recent military overtures toward Syria and North Korea have revived one of the more resilient myths in American political history: namely, that Washington makes defense policy according to the desires of a mysterious and immensely powerful “military-industrial complex.”

From former Ohio congressman Dennis Kucinich to late-night talk show host Bill Maher to former Presidential candidate Ron Paul, Trump’s newfound militarism has unleashed a torrent of conspiratorial pundits bemoaning the ill-defined network of politicians, generals, and defense contractors that supposedly enriches itself at the republic’s expense.

But while there is certainly no shortage of symbiotic back-scratching between Washington and the defense industry, the notion that a shadowy cabal drives defense policy doesn’t jibe with reality.

The idea of a military-industrial complex originated with President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who warned in his farewell address of the increasing coziness between the state and vendors of war….

Source: Military-Industrial Complex: A Dangerous Myth Returns | National Review

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