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AN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE TO EISENHOWER AND THE MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

February 2, 2013

GEORGE THAYER ON THE ARMS INDUSTRY AFTER WWII

And this is just what we forget when hearing or reading to day Eisenhower’s address of 17 January, 1961.

That he was one of the individuals most involved, along with a relatively limited number of other Americans, Brits and, perhaps other Allies, in truly understanding the situation brought on the world by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

And his reference to the changes brought to the American military and war defense capacity after 1945 in said address is not, really, a reference to the Soviet Union or the Cold War, but to what must have weighed on or marked him from a personal and psychological standpoint, and that is the industrial, technological and economic aspects of historical Fascism as he saw them in Nazi Germany and, probably also, in Imperial Japan.

And it may have felt for him darkly ironic to be leaving the office of President in a situation in which the snake of Fascism, now in a new technical and American guise, seemed to be rearing again its ugly head; snake that he himself, in a most personal sense as general, saw to its defeat and final demise in Europe.

This, in my opinion, is what is really behind the “insolvent phantom” analogy that is in his address; this is the seriousness behind references he makes to the corruption, already at the time, he saw in research and with regards to Universities; and this is the bankruptcy he meant for future generations-the bankruptcy of Democracy itself.

And this phantom as analogy coming from whom it was said by, wears a Nazi SS officer’s hat on its ghostly and ghastly head.

Thayer also writes that the arms trade was forever transformed in fact after WWII, in all arms-producing countries, from private venture, cyclical type business models, to permanent private-but government financed-conglomerates that also depend heavily on the civilian consumer market.

And it is just this aspect that needs to be introduced into your understanding regarding the moral urgency I claim the current state of consumer society demands in our contemplation of it.

For German capital in its eventual subordination to Hitler and the Nazi party, for example, had no where near the psychological power over German citizens as individuals that Corporate America has now over consumers, especially in the US, but also around the world.

And I have heard the personal impressions as comments caused to different Europeans of a certain age upon spending a few days in this country; and they mention this cult to the American flag that is visible, it seems, everywhere, and this sense of insular patriotism that is palpable in conversation; the imposition on everyone, outside of New York City, of not only English but of an American vision and values and even the Neoclassical architecture in many public and institutional buildings:

“There is a foul air a Fascism around here, man!” is the gist, more or less, of these impressions as comments.

And now I am coming across this in the structural sense Eisenhower alludes to with regards to Defense Department spending and influence, and also in regards to government itself and the clear-to my understanding-demise of the system of oppositions in liberal Democracy as governance.

And the union, or neutralization, of these now false dichotomies is money itself.

And when you talk about money, today in consumer society, you have to talk about human beings and the mistreatment they are subjected to that Eisenhower, back in 1961, had no way of foreseeing as to what extent it would become a problem.

And we will now come before the presence of this SS officer as Harvard MBA and his empty eyes, for I am taking you, as promised, to Auschwitz.

But this is not as tourism.

But you can be a tourist if you so choose, and bring your I Phone and take your pictures.

Up to you.

You in a free country, baby!

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