Archive for Saturday, December 11, 2010

Papers shed light on Eisenhower’s farewell address

December 11, 2010


— For nearly two years, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his aides searched for the right words to describe at the end of his presidency his fear that the nation's burgeoning military power was driving its foreign policy, newly released papers show.

Many months before delivering the farewell address in which he famously warned about the strength of the American "military-industrial complex," Eisenhower weighed various ideas for the speech, but concerns about the military were always central to his remarks.

The Eisenhower Presidential Library on Friday unveiled previously unseen drafts of the speech that were found recently in a cabin owned by Eisenhower speechwriter Malcolm Moos.

The documents help explain the origins of the term "military-industrial complex," which Eisenhower used to warn against unbridled military development. The term was thought to have started as "war-based" industrial complex before becoming "military" in later drafts.

But that theory was based on an oral history from Ralph Williams, one of Eisenhower's aides. In the new collection, "military" appears in the passage from the first draft.

"What we know now is that 'military-industrial complex' was in there all along," said Valoise Armstrong, the archivist who processed the new papers.

In one draft, the paragraph mentioning the military-industrial complex is riddled with pencil marks deleting whole sentences, but the term itself is unblemished.

Moos' son, Grant, found the papers — covered with pinecones, dirt and other debris — in a cabin in Minnesota earlier this year. He turned them over to the library in October.

"We are just so fortunate that these papers were discovered," said Karl Weissenbach, director of the library in Abilene. "We were finally able to fill in the gaps of the address. For a number of years, it was apparent that there were gaps."

The papers show that Eisenhower and his staff spent two years preparing for his final speech to the nation. One document features a typewritten note from the president lamenting that when he joined the military in 1911, there were 84,000 Army soldiers — a number that ballooned roughly tenfold by 1960.

"The direct result of this continued high level of defense expenditures has been to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions, where none had existed before," he wrote in the passage, a variation of which reached the delivered speech on Jan. 17, 1961.

The notion of a farewell address began with a list of potential topics Eisenhower could discuss from May 1959 through the end of his second term.

The drafts show that the speech started as a reflection on public service and the role of the military, but expanded into wide-ranging remarks about the technological revolution and his lament that he never achieved world peace, but avoided a nuclear war.

Eisenhower biographer David Nichols noted that while the address is known for the reference to the military-industrial complex, the president had warned about military growth and Cold War threats throughout his presidency.

"He was always talking about the Cold War and the threat to American values and the danger that America would become a garrison state," Nichols said. "The military wanted a lot more than he was willing to give them. It frustrated the Army. He thought about it all the time."

The papers include 21 drafts of the speech, showing the evolution of the final presentation, which was originally intended to be given before Congress but was eventually delivered from the Oval Office.

Nichols, who is working on a book about Eisenhower and the Suez Canal Crisis, said historians often overlook the president's speeches because of his weak skills as an orator. But, he said, Eisenhower was heavily involved in his public addresses, often rewriting them himself until moments before delivery.

The presidents' brother, Milton Eisenhower, and Moos' staff helped him develop his farewell speech.

Milton Eisenhower's notations are found throughout the rough drafts, including wholesale changes on one draft prepared just 10 days before the president spoke on television. Weissenbach said Milton Eisenhower was part of the president's inner circle, along with the president's son John.

"That to me illustrates how Milton had a take-charge moment where he wasn't pleased with the direction it was taking and made an overhaul. Obviously he wouldn't have done it without the blessing of his brother," Weissenbach said.

Nichols said Milton Eisenhower had a special relationship with his brother throughout his presidency. However, he said, little exists in the public record of his involvement, outside a few memos in the archives.

"Eisenhower kept marvelous records on what he did, in the Oval Office, the hospital, but his conversations with Milton were off the record," Nichols said. "I only wish and pray that we could uncover some notes."

Born in 1890, Eisenhower grew up in Kansas and graduated from West Point. During World War II, he commanded the Allied forces in Europe, including the D-Day invasion of France.

After the war, he became president of Columbia University and the first commander of NATO before running for president in 1952, a campaign that featured the slogan "I like Ike." He died in 1969.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 6 months ago

Too bad our subsequent political leaders defied his warning.

somebodynew 7 years, 6 months ago

Oh, as opposed the Republicans (Bush) who got us into Iraq and was such a quick and decisive victory ?????

stlcards515 7 years, 6 months ago

I think Tom's post was to counter your point before you could make it

devobrun 7 years, 6 months ago

From Ike's address:

“But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise. Of these, I mention two only. Our military organization today ........."

Yes, this is the section of the speech that famously coins the term military-industrial complex. It is odd that the second threat is ignored.

What is that 2nd threat to which Eisenhower refers?

"Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades. In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government. Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers. The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite. "

Scientific-technological elite. Not quite as catchy as the MIC, but even more relevant to today's errors in statesmanship. The link between government and research has created an abomination. University professors do research, go to D.C. and regulate research and return to the university to do research. It is a revolving door of research and funding of research. The key to rising in the elite is to play the funding-research game.

It is incestuous. It is not science, it is big business. Peer review is the good-ole-boys-club.

The MIC is famous. The STE should be as well. Science is no longer a fountainhead of free ideas, just as Ike warned. Money and power pervade the halls of university research facilities. And public policy has "become the captive of a scientific-technological elite"

Science suffers. The idea of free exchange of ideas suffers. And the world suffers because instead of advancing knowledge we channel knowledge. We guide it from the halls of congress and the pentagon.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 6 months ago

So, we know that you feel excluded by the "scientific-technological elite," as it's a major theme in most of your posts, devo. But how would you change it? How would you ensure that science doesn't do research that comes up with results that conflict with your ideology?

Joe Blackford II 7 years, 6 months ago

What's wrong with STE in K S? Ike & Milton (former K S U President) must be spinning in their graves.

2009 Report on legislative and oversight activities of the House Committee on Homeland Security

"Similarly, the Committee missed a valuable opportunity to consider biosecurity, bioforensics, and the future role of the National Biological Countermeasures and Analysis Center. The Committee's jurisdiction over these issues could have been asserted throughout the 110th Congress, but especially in the wake of the FBI's determination that the anthrax attacks were perpetrated by an American scientist at an elite American biodefense laboratory." (U S A M R I I D)

KSU's Col. Dr. David Franz The Inside Man:

Col. Franz is a member of DHS committee which advised the N B A F site-selection official, Jay Cohen, on where to place NBAF.

Col. Franz sits on a N I H committee responsible for "dual use" research, as in my employee dual used U S A M R I I D anthrax to kill 5 people in 2001 AND win an award in 2003.

Col. Franz joined up with Midwest Research Institute, KC, MO, in 2003. He actually runs M R I's lab in Fredrick, MD, a contractor for U S A M R I I D (infamous DoD "revolving door" job).

Col. Franz is a member of the KS Bioscience Authority, which authorized tax $ for N B A F.

jmadison 7 years, 6 months ago

How much federally funded research papers conclude that another study needs to be funded and done with additional tax dollars? How much of academia involves obtaining grants for studies of dubious need?

devobrun 7 years, 6 months ago

I reject your last question as presumptuous. However, your first can be addressed.

First and foremost is that the attitude of western culture be changed to being more skeptical of that which is deemed science. Specifically, when this newspaper and others receive press releases from researchers showing that some correlation implies some new form of scientific result, call a skeptic.

Universities or other think tanks should provide skeptical points of view for just such reasons. Don't let science continually publish garbage and get away with it. Employ more statisticians and value them in research and in the media and in the public. Insist on better statistical testing before popular media turns fuzzy science into dogma.

Value the concept of "I don't know" more. Question the notion that the "scientific" results are better than nothing. That is, often scientists will give an answer that they admit is pretty fuzzy, but will then go ahead and give you an answer. They will justify their answer with, "Well, its better than nothing". No it isn't. Often experts should say "i don't know", when they don't know.

Being more honest about that which we don't know will ripple through the world. Lawsuits will diminish. People will be expected to be more individually responsible for their own actions. Business will be stimulated because uncertainty will be more accepted as a reality.

Indeed, we will return to a time when reality is a most uncertain thing. Its the truth, why not admit it. Being more real will make us all better. Being less dependent upon "experts" will too.
We need to be more conservative. We need to take fewer risks because we we don't know as much as we think we do.

California real estate frauds will not be protected by overwrought computer programs that hide risk. Fancy diets and disingenuous explanations for fat people will be relegated to snake oil. Roundabouts will go away because they suck, no matter what the traffic engineers say.

You know I could go on about this. There are many things we are pushed into accepting because some "expert" said it was true. Now what is that credit score? And just what is my daily dose of riboflavin? And why is the wind blowing hard right now. And why are we arguing about creation versus evolution?

Simple answer to the above questions are: Never mind the credit score. Don't borrow too much money. Don't run up your credit card this holiday season. Who care what the riboflavin daily dose is. Eat a reasonable amount of a bunch of things and you'll be fine. Who cares why the wind is blowing. It is. Deal with it. We don't know how all this got here and it doesn't matter what explanation is believed. It doesn't change a thing whether God, spaghetti monster, or some massive "expert" explanation made all this. It is like the wind. It is. Deal with it.

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