Sunday, March 28, 2010
I've published this before, and no doubt I'll publish it again, simply because it needs to be said again and again: the military-industrial complex (a phrase first coined by President Dwight D. Eisenhower) is the only real menace to the progress of peace - having, as it does, a vested interest in seeing that the copious quantities of ordnance and materiel it produces is occasionally destroyed and replaced with more of the same (or preferably more of a slightly better kind) in the name of consumerist fascism.
On this day in 1969 the man who first warned Americans about the military-industrial complex, the 34th President of the United States, passed away at the Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, DC, at the age of 78; upon leaving office in January 1960 Eisenhower made the speech from which the above clip is derived. It was undoubtedly the high point of a decidedly mixed legacy.
While on the one hand a career military man - at one point the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe during World War II - it was on his Presidential watch that the ill-considered police action known popularly as the Korean War was ended. A supporter of human rights and instrumental in beginning the process of integrating black and white students in schools across the Nation, he was also behind implementation of In God We Trust as the national motto of the United States in 1956 over the more inclusive E Pluribus Unum.
This single act as President not only breached the sacred separation of Church and State so favoured by the Founders of his nation - a concept which allowed the land of the free and the home of the brave to become just that - but it likely marked the beginning of the end for the American Empire as well. Nothing has caused so much bigotry in the United States over the past half century as Christianity, and people like Matthew Shepard and Lawrence King owe their eventual fates to the hatred inherent in those four vicious little words.
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