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Defense spending comes at high cost
The Island County commissioners debating over who will lobby the federal government on behalf of more military spending dollars and the celebration over Boeing’s award of the Air Force tanker contract has exposed the “elephant in the room:” The military-industrial complex. A former general, Dwight Eisenhower, as president foresaw the destructive impact of the military-industrial complex in a 1953 speech.
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.” (Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 16, 1953)
Today we find our community caught in the tentacles of the military-industrial complex when a military contract award is celebrated and Island County commissioners go to Washington, D.C. to lobby against the slightest hint of cutbacks to a bloated military budget. Although war spending (aka defense spending) accounts for at least 44 percent of the budget it is treated as a “sacred cow” and declared off limits to scrutiny as are tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans. In contrast severe budget cuts are proposed for education and programs that assist those most in need while the Wisconsin governor demonizes educators and public workers. Has not Dwight Eisenhower’s warning come fruition?