Military Industrial Complex
In his farewell speech, former Republican President, Dwight Eisenhower coined the Military Industrial Complex term, which up to date remains a topic of controversy and discussion. In his speech, he warned the future generation of possible’ unwarranted influence’ from the military industrial complex. This term basically refers to the relationship between legislators and the arms industry, which enables them to monetary gain from expanded military operations and arms sales. Eisenhower foresaw a future where the military industrial complex could influence unjustified wars, with the sole reason of increasing arms sales to expand the American arms industry, which would also benefit the legislators who supported the wars. Moreover, with the great desire for America to remain a super power, Eisenhower perceived that expansion of military power could be the main way through which this status could be maintained. Therefore, a permanent arms industry was required, which could be a threat to the American society and, which could also imply the safety of America through expanded military operations (Jarecki 8).
Eisenhower’s fears have been realized. The American military force has expanded and so has the arms industry. This has created a powerful influence that has brought about major several wars after World War II. The Military Industrial Complex has continued to raise America’s power in the world map but at the same time destroying the unity of the American citizens. Unity has been affected since Americans have severally been divided in terms of supporting wars such as the Iraq invasion. This has caused societal challenges, which have even become major reasons that determine the presidential candidate that takes office. Military operations in America are critical, with the annual military budget being the highest in the world. Similarly, America is the major exporter of arms. This reveals that both the military and the arms industry in America has expanded, confirming the fears of Eisenhower, that the Military Industrial Complex could cause future issues. For instance, America’s participation in the Gulf War has been interpreted to be spearheaded by the need to protect the oil interests in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia (Jarecki 37).
However, my interpretation is that there was a hidden agenda behind attacking Iraq, which was to gain a greater world standing as a super power. This is because it was the first nation to point out the threat posed by Iraq, influencing other nations to support the Gulf War in spite of most nations not understanding the true cause of the war.
In his speech, Eisenhower stated that ‘only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry’ is able to compel the influence of a military industrial complex through peaceful ways so as to enhance freedom and prosperity (Jarecki 52). His views at the time were realistic. However, a small group of people today controls nations around the world. The US for instance has congressmen who sometimes legislates laws that meet their self-interests. In spite of the US citizens having a responsibility of enabling the influence of the Congress, they sometimes have little power to enforce it.
Though often viewed negatively, the influence played by the military industrial complex is sometimes helpful. For instance, in the event that a foreign nation is in crisis, the US is always the country expected to make the first move, through offering humanitarian and military aid. This implies that the US spends its own funds and military power to save other nations from crisis. This however does not justify the negative side brought about military industrial complex.
Justification of War
As suggested by the film ‘Why We Fight’, World War II could be the last war that the US military had a good justification to. A war is characterized by armed conflicts between nations and groups. The term war in a traditional aspect is rather special kind of violence that is triggered by differences in attitudes, behaviors and is also linked with assumptions to the cause of the war (van der Dennen 1). The major world wars I and II, both had international participation, where every country had to play a role to protect themselves and also to support allies. However, the Gulf War was initiated by countries with their own self-interests. The recent Iraq invasion was however justifiable. This is because the US and its allies decided to invade Iraq since the nation had not adhered to the peace keeping treaty that stipulated that it would cease to manufacture biological and lethal weapons, of which it was still producing. This invasion was triggered after the 9/11 attack, which left many dead and critically injured and hence the US and its top allies planned on invading Iraq since it was perceived to be the distributor of major weapons used in terrorism. In my opinion, such wars and invasions are justifiable since they not only ensure the safety of the US but also the safety of other nations. Moreover, the Iraq invasion was justifiable since Iraq had signed a peace treaty and had later defied the treaty and refused to comply with warnings given to shut down its lethal weapons plants.
Jarecki, Eugine. War and the Republic: A Story Guide to the Film Why We Fight. 2005. Web. 09 September 2015. < http://www.sonyclassics.com/whywefight/download/WhyWeFight-StudyGuide-Sony.pdf?hs317=WhyWeFightSPHE+StudyGuide>.
van der Dennen, Johan. On War: Concepts, Definitions, Research Data – A Short Literature Review And Bibliography. Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 1980. Print.