Unwarranted Influence, by James Ledbetter

The most famous farewell addresses in the history of the American presidency are those delivered by two of the greatest military leaders to occupy the office: George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower. Both warned of the threat that military power and its interests posed to the nation. Though Wash­ington's address is best remembered for his admonition against entanglements in European alliances and conflicts, the first president also urged Americans to conduct their affairs in a way that would allow them to "avoid the necessity of those overgrown Military establishments, which under any form of Government are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty." Eisenhower's speech is recalled above all for its cautionary words about the dangers of a "military-industrial complex."

 

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