At a time of war, scandal, and national disunity, people across the American family are increasingly wondering how we got here.
45 years ago, departing President Dwight Eisenhower gave us our answer. It was in his 1961 farewell address to the American people that Eisenhower coined the phrase "military-industrial complex," an unholy alliance between the Pentagon and its contractors that he saw gaining "unwarranted influence" over public policy. Today, in more ways than we know, these words haunt us.
As the 5-star General became President, he would learn firsthand that the power of this alliance was growing out of control, tightening its grip on even his own decision-making as President. "God help this country," a weary Eisenhower was overheard to say in the Oval Office, "when someone sits at this desk who doesn't know as much about the military as I do."
And we are left wondering how September 11 led to a war whose estimated cost may now exceed $2 trillion.
[Excerpt from Eugene Jarecki, writing on HuffingtonPost.com]