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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Followup on Military Transformation 

Followup to this post, which discussed (among other things) General Eric Shinseki.

Well, it turns out that Shinseki, along with retired Admiral Vern Clark, will receive the Business Executives for National Security (BENS) Eisenhower Award. According to BENS' events calendar:

The Eisenhower Award is given to individuals who help safeguard American liberty. Past recipients include Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Gen. Abizaid.

And apparently a lot of people help safeguard American liberty. Admiral William J. Fallon received the award in San Francisco on October 17. And there are many other winners:

May 2005 honoring Fred Smith, founder, chairman and CEO of FedEx

November 2004 honoring Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Jim Jones, USMC

June 2004 honoring Gen. Tommy Franks

March 2004 honoring H. Ross Perot

November 2003 honoring Maurice Greenberg and General Richard Myers

May 2003 honoring Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

November 2002 honoring Lawrence T. Babbio, Jr., Vice Chairman & President of Verizon Communications, Inc.

May 2002 honoring National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice

As to why military and industrial people would receive awards from a man famous for warning about the military-industrial complex, BENS prefers to remember another part of Eisenhower's farewell address:

The BENS Eisenhower Award is presented to outstanding individuals whose contributions to our nation's security reflect the spirit of President Eisenhower's farewell address and exemplify the “alert and knowledgeable citizenry” that President Eisenhower saw as essential so that “liberty and security can prosper together.”

Regarding both topics, this is what he said. This is what Dwight D. Eisenhower said (emphasis mine):

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction....

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence-economic, political, even spiritual-is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. 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 huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

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....

[T]he 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.

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.

Which leads us to a question - why did BENS honor both Rumsfeld and one of his generals? Did BENS honor Rumsfeld for bucking his generals, and the general for bucking Rumsfeld? Mold and balance, indeed.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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