The Legacy of War — and Lessons Unlearned

(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

In his farewell address to the nation after spending 8 years as president, in 1961 Eisenhower warns of a growing danger.

Eisenhower on the Military Industrial Complex



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…

Why would a respected President, set the sights so high, for his successors, and for America, as the dawn of the Television Age, blazed its path, towards an unknown Future?  

That was SOME Warning — well actually it was SOME Speech too ..

Farewell Address – January 17, 1961

Dwight D. Eisenhower:

Good evening, my fellow Americans.



We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has witnessed four major wars among great nations. Three of these involved our own country. Despite these holocausts, America is today the strongest, the most influential, and most productive nation in the world. Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize that America’s leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches, and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.

Throughout America’s adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace, to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity, and integrity among peoples and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension, or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt, both at home and abroad.

Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insiduous [insidious] in method.



Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. … We annually spend on military security alone more than the net income of all United States cooperations — corporations.

… Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.



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.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system — ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society’s future, we — you and I, and our government — must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

During the long lane of the history yet to be written, America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect. Such a confederation must be one of equals.



Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. … As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war, as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years, I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.



So, in this, my last good night to you as your President, I thank you for the many opportunities you have given me for public service in war and in peace.



To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America’s prayerful and continuing aspiration: We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its few spiritual blessings. Those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibility; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; and that the sources — scourges of poverty, disease, and ignorance will be made [to] disappear from the earth; and that in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.



Thank you, and good night.

(emphasis added)

http://www.americanrhetoric.co…

WOW! what an eclectic mix of hope, dread, and honesty from an American President! But what prompted Eisenhower to send us off with so many somber warnings?

Perhaps, the Weight of History, balanced against the Promise of the Future, lost — weighed heavily on his mind?

Perhaps Eisenhower was all too familiar with the dreadful toll of war?

These figures include deaths of civilians from diseases, famine, atrocities etc. as well as deaths of soldiers in battle.

This is an incomplete list of wars.

   * 60,000,000-72,000,000 – World War II (1939-1945)

   * 36,000,000 – An Shi Rebellion (China, 755-763)

   * 30,000,000-60,000,000 – Mongol Conquests (13th century)

   * 25,000,000 – Manchu conquest of Ming China (1616-1662)

   * 20,000,000-70,000,000 – World War I (1914-1918) – 70M includes Spanish flu deaths

   * 20,000,000 – Taiping Rebellion (China, 1851-1864)

   * 20,000,000 – Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945)

   * 10,000,000 – Warring States Era (China, 475 BC-221 BC)

   * 7,000,000 – 20,000,000 Conquests of Timur the Lame (1360-1405)

   * 5,000,000-9,000,000 – Russian Civil War and Foreign Intervention (1917-1921)

   * 5,000,000 – Conquests of Menelik II of Ethiopia (1882- 1898)

   * 3,800,000 – 5,400,000 – Second Congo War (1998-2007)

   * 3,500,000-6,000,000 – Napoleonic Wars (1804-1815)

   * 3,000,000-11,500,000 – Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648)

   * 3,000,000-7,000,000 – Yellow Turban Rebellion (China, 184-205)

   * 2,500,000-3,500,000 – Korean War (1950-1953)

   * 2,300,000-3,800,000 – Vietnam War (entire war 1945-1975)

        — 300,000-1,300,000 – First Indochina War (1945-1954)

        — 100,000-300,000 – Vietnamese Civil War (1954-1960)

        — 1,750,000-2,100,000 – American phase (1960-1973)

        — 170,000 – Final phase (1973-1975)

        — 175,000-1,150,000 – Secret War (1962-1975)

   * 2,000,000-4,000,000 – French Wars of Religion (1562-1598)

   * 2,000,000 – Shaka’s conquests (1816-1828)

   * 2,000,000 – Mahmud of Ghazni’s invasions of India (1000-1027)

   * 300,000-3,000,000 – Bangladesh Liberation War (1971)

   * 1,500,000-2,000,000 – Afghan Civil War (1979-)

        — 1,000,000-1,500,000 Soviet intervention (1979-1989)

   * 1,300,000-6,100,000 – Chinese Civil War (1928-1949)

        — 300,000-3,100,000 before 1937

        — 1,000,000-3,000,000 after World War II

   * 1,000,000-2,000,000 – Mexican Revolution (1910-1920)

   * 1,000,000 – Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988)

   * 1,000,000 – Japanese invasions of Korea (1592-1598)

   * 1,000,000 – Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005)

   * 1,000,000 – Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970)

   * 618,000 – 970,000 – American Civil War (1861-1865) includes 350K from disease

   * 900,000-1,000,000 – Mozambique Civil War (1976-1993)

   * 868,000 – 1,400,000 – Seven Years’ War (1756-1763)

   * 800,000 – 1,000,000 – Rwandan Civil War (1990-1994)

   * 800,000 – Congo Civil War (1991-1997)

   * 600,000 – 1,300,000 – First Jewish-Roman War

   * 580,000 – Bar Kokhba’s revolt (132-135CE)

   * 570,000 – Eritrean War of Independence (1961-1991)

   * 550,000 – Somali Civil War (1988- )

   * 500,000 – 1,000,000 – Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)

   * 500,000 – Angolan Civil War (1975-2002)

   * 500,000 – Ugandan Civil War (1979-1986)

   * 400,000-1,000,000 – War of the Triple Alliance in Paraguay (1864-1870)

   * 400,000 – War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714)

   * 371,000 – Continuation War (1941-1944)

   * 350,000 – Great Northern War (1700-1721)

   * 315,000 – 735,000 – Wars of the Three Kingdoms (1639-1651)

   * 300,000 – Russian-Circassian War (1763-1864)

   * 300,000 – First Burundi Civil War (1972)

   * 300,000 – Darfur conflict (2003-)

   * 270,000-300,000 – Crimean War (1854-1856)

   * 255,000-1,120,000 – Philippine-American War (1898-1913)

   * 230,000-1,400,000 – Ethiopian Civil War (1974-1991)

   * 220,000 – Liberian Civil War (1989 – )

   * 217,000 – 1,124,303 – War on Terror (9/11/2001-Present)

   * 200,000 – 1,000,000 – Albigensian Crusade (1208-1259)

   * 200,000-800,000 – Warlord era in China (1917-1928)

   * 200,000 – Second Punic War (BC218-BC204)

   * 200,000 – Sierra Leone Civil War (1991-2000)

   * 200,000 – Algerian Civil War (1991- )

   * 200,000 – Guatemalan Civil War (1960-1996)

   * 190,000 – Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871)

   * 180,000 – 300,000 – La Violencia (1948-1958)

   * 170,000 – Greek War of Independence (1821-1829)

   * 150,000 – Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990)

   * 150,000 – North Yemen Civil War (1962-1970)

   * 150,000 – Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905)

   * 148,000-1,000,000 – Winter War (1939)

   * 125,000 – Eritrean-Ethiopian War (1998-2000)

   * 120,000 – 384,000 Great Turkish War (1683-1699)

   * 120,000 – Bosnian War (1992-1995)

   * 120,000 – Third Servile War (BC73-BC71)

   * 117,000 – 500,000 – Revolt in the Vendée (1793-1796)

   * 103,359+ – 1,136,920+ – Invasion and Occupation of Iraq (2003-Present)

   * 101,000 – 115,000 – Arab-Israeli conflict (1929- )

   * 100,500 – Chaco War (1932-1935)

   * 100,000 – 1,000,000 – War of the two brothers (1531-1532)

   * 100,000 – 400,000 – Western New Guinea (1984 – )

   * 100,000 – 200,000 – Indonesian invasion of East Timor (1975-1978)

   * 100,000 – Persian Gulf War (1991)

   * 100,000-1,000,000 – Algerian War of Independence (1954-1962)

   * 100,000 – Thousand Days War (1899-1901)

   * 100,000 – Peasants’ War (1524-1525)

   * 80,000 – Third Punic War (BC149-BC146)

   * 75,000 – 200,000? – Conquests of Alexander the Great (BC336-BC323)

   * 75,000 – El Salvador Civil War (1980-1992)

   * 75,000 – Second Boer War (1898-1902)

   * 70,000 – Boudica’s uprising (AD60-AD61)

   * 69,000 – Internal conflict in Peru (1980- )

   * 60,000 – Sri Lanka/Tamil conflict (1983-)

   * 60,000 – Nicaraguan Rebellion (1972-91)

   * 55,000 – War of the Pacific (1879-1885)

   * 50,000 – 200,000 – First Chechen War (1994-1996)

   * 50,000 – 100,000 – Tajikistan Civil War (1992-1997)

   * 50,000 – Wars of the Roses (1455-1485)

   * 45,000 – Greek Civil War (1945-1949)

   * 41,000-100,000 – Kashmiri insurgency (1989- )

   * 36,000 – Finnish Civil War (1918)

   * 35,000 – 40,000 – War of the Pacific (1879-1884)

   * 35,000 – 45,000 – Siege of Malta (1565)

   * 30,000 – Turkey/PKK conflict (1984- )

   * 30,000 – Sino-Vietnamese War (1979)

   * 25,000 – Second Chechen War (1999 – present)

   * 25,000 – American Revolutionary War (1775-1783)

   * 23,384 – Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 (December 1971)

   * 23,000 – Nagorno-Karabakh War (1988-1994)

   * 20,000 – 49,600 U.S. Invasion of Afghanistan (2001-2002)

   * 15,000-20,000 – Croatian War of Independence (1991-1995)

   * 11,053 – Malayan Emergency (1948-1960)

   * 11,000 – Spanish-American War (1898)

   * 10,000 – Amadu’s Jihad (1810-1818)

   * 7,264-10,000 – Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 (August-September 1965)

   * 7,000-24,000 – American War of 1812 (1812-1815)

   * 7,000 – Kosovo War (1996-1999) (disputed)

   * 5,000 – Turkish invasion of Cyprus (1974)

   * 4,588 – Sino-Indian War (1962)

   * 4,000 – Waziristan War (2004-2006)

   * 4,000 – Irish Civil War (1922-23)

   * 3,000 – Civil war in Côte d’Ivoire (2002-2007)

   * 2,899 – New Zealand Land Wars (1845-1872)

   * 2,604-7,000 – Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 (Oct 1947-Dec 1948)

   * 2,000 – Football War (1969)

   * 2,000 – Irish War of Independence (1919-21)

   * 1,975-4,500+ – violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (2000 -)

   * 1,547-2,173+ – 2006 Lebanon War

   * 1,724 – War of Lapland (1945)

   * 1,500 – Romanian Revolution (December 1989)

   * 1,000 – Zapatista uprising in Chiapas (1994)

   * 907 – Falklands War (1982)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W…

Certainly an Intelligence Species, such as Humankind proclaims to be, can one day, rise above such 1-dimensional madness?

Time will tell.

With, Without … Afterall, It’s what the Fighting is All About …

Us And Them – Pink Floyd



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…

We are a species with so much potential … yet that untapped potential, usually must battle through the “foolish consistency [which] is the hobgoblin of little minds”  — Ralph Waldo Emerson

One day maybe, we’ll win that battle

We are not creatures of circumstance; we are creators of circumstance.

Benjamin Disraeli

Destiny is what you are supposed to do in life. Fate is what kicks you in the ass to make you do it.

Henry Miller

Whatever limits us we call Fate.

—  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Justice is truth in action. ~

Benjamin Disraeli

The future still waits to be written …

Compose it well.

[ Note: an earlier version of this essay was posted on dKos, 4-27-2009,

the legacy of war ]

9 comments

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    • jamess on May 25, 2009 at 4:08 am
      Author

    in this season of remembrance,

    let’s take a few moments to ponder

    the warnings, and the lessons, of the past.

    • dkmich on May 25, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    One of my favorites.  

    • Edger on May 25, 2009 at 5:51 pm

  1. said “military-industrial-Congressional complex,” a much more accurate and revealing phrase. He was urged to remove that part, I think.

  2. has always struck me as more of a confession than a warning.

    After all, if he was so concerned about the MIC’s rise, why didn’t he do more about it during the eight years prior to his farewell address?

    • TomP on May 29, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    We still need to listen to that warning.

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