I recently read an article by Craig Whitlock in The Washington Post regarding the Panetta Institute honoring former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. I was immediately reminded of late President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address of January 17, 1961 that warned us of the power of the Military Industrial Complex’s influence.
Attached is a link to Whitlock’s article, and I urge you to read it fully to understand the continued influence that military contractors have on the functions of government since the conclusion of World War II.
No one, especially your Commander, is being critical of honoring Secretary Gates, but the point is the amounts of money being funneled into the Panetta Institute and other special interest organizations by segments of the Military Industrial Complex is troubling. Following his departure from government service our late President Eisenhower spoke at length of the dangers and influences of the military industrial complex.
We are talking about decades of money being directed to continue building and buying weapons of war, and the debate should be expanded in an effort to curb waste, fraud, and corruption especially during this tight economic period. I suspect that without the funding from defense contractors Panetta’s institute might cease to exist.
I should note here that when Leon Panetta returned to government service in 2009 he recused himself from direct involvement in the institute and his wife has been running it since.
Eisenhower knew this subject well, but we never really listened to his warnings and advice. We humans world-wide just never seem to learn from the facts of history, and we keep making the same mistakes over and over again.