“”[W]e must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.
|—President Dwight D. Eisenhower, coining the phrase.|
“” 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.
The military-industrial complex (MIC) refers to the interactions and interdependency between weapons manufacturers, the government, and the public. In theory, these interactions provide a powerful incentive for arms manufacturers to produce expensive and unnecessary weapons, who in turn sell it to the government, which then justifies the purchase of the weapons by going to war. These actions harm the public, both financially (taxpayers pay for the weapons and the wars) and morally (through casualties of war and the normalization of violence as foreign policy).
The term was coined by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his farewell address, wherein he sought to warn the U.S. of its dangers. This is one of the reasons why most Republicans rarely acknowledge that he held the office for eight years.
The public obviously gets the raw end of the military-industrial complex. Taxpayers don't always get their money's worth on weapons. Money spent on defense could have been spent on other things, things that don't reduce humans to piles of scorched meat. Defense contractors have great incentive to bribe officials, which happens constantly. And most dire of all, with all those weapons lying around, it would be silly not to use them (and after all, if they're spent or destroyed, that's a great opportunity to produce more...). This happens over and over again until the MIC, as Ike said himself, has the chance to "[endanger] our liberties or democratic processes."
 See also
- Eisenhower's full farewell address on YouTube.
- ↑ Transcript of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Farewell Address (1961). Our Documents.gov.
- ↑ Dwight D. Eisenhower. "The Chance for Peace." 1953 April 16.
- ↑ Andrea Shalal-Esa. "F-35 jet a waste of taxpayers' dollars, say McCain, Gates." Christian Science Monitor. 2011 February 17.
- ↑ Charles R. Babcock and Renae Merle. "A Contractor's Purchase on Power." The Washington Post. 2006 March 20.
- ↑ Robert Brodsky. "Defense contractor employee pleads guilty to bribery." Government Executive. 2010 September 3.