I’d like to thank Sally Cramer for mentioning my story “The
Permanant War: MIlitarism and the American Way of Life,”
(appearing in Utne, April, 2005). She hit the nail right on
the head when she said we Americans misuse the
military as a jobs program and also for periodic
economic stimulus. My point was that we could accomplish both these
objectives with peacetime industries such as education,
daycare, healthcare, mass transit, etc.
Author Richard Barnet, in his book “Roots of War” (1971),
answers the riddle as to why this is not implemented,
however much sense it might make: We do not put our
Keynesian spending into such peacetime activities
because the government would find itself competing with
established private businesses already in these
industries. The military, however, is the exclusive
province of the federal government; hence, no
I have one minor correction to make to Ms. Cramer’s
story, however, and that’s Eisenhower’s remarks about
the “military-industrial complex” and about every
unnecessary gun manufactured representing a theft from
“people who hunger and are not fed” were both made
during his outgoing speech in 1961, when he turned the
White House over to John F. Kennedy.
As an afterthought I might add that Kennedy, generally
regarded as a man of peace, was actually one our most
aggressive presidents in terms of foreign policy.
Thanks again for your insight.
Michael Ray Fitzgerald