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Excerpt: "And here's the part I don't even want to write - and none of you really want to consider: It matters not whom we elect. The Pentagon and the military contractors call the shots. The title 'Commander in Chief' is ceremonial, like 'Employee of the Month' at your local Burger King."

Portrait, Michael Moore, 04/03/09. (photo: Ann-Christine Poujoulat/Getty)
Portrait, Michael Moore, 04/03/09. (photo: Ann-Christine Poujoulat/Getty)


Dwight Was Right

By Michael Moore, OpenMike Blog

30 September 10


o ... it turns out President Eisenhower wasn't making up all that stuff about the military-industrial complex.

That's what you'll conclude if you read Bob Woodward's new book, Obama's War. (You can read excerpts of it here, here and here.) You thought you voted for change when you cast a ballot for Barack Obama? Um, not when it comes to America occupying countries that don't begin with a "U" and an "S."

In fact, after you read Woodward's book, you'll split a gut every time you hear a politician or a government teacher talk about "civilian control over the military." The only people really making the decisions about America's wars are across the river from Washington in the Pentagon. They wear uniforms. They have lots of weapons they bought from the corporations they will work for when they retire.

For everyone who supported Obama in 2008, it's reassuring to find out he understands we have to get out of Afghanistan. But for everyone who's worried about Obama in 2010, it's scary to find out that what he thinks should be done may not actually matter. And that's because he's not willing to stand up to the people who actually run this country.

And here's the part I don't even want to write - and none of you really want to consider:

It matters not whom we elect. The Pentagon and the military contractors call the shots. The title "Commander in Chief" is ceremonial, like "Employee of the Month" at your local Burger King.

Everything you need to know can be found in just two paragraphs from Obama's War. Here's the scene: Obama is meeting with his National Security Council staff on the Saturday after Thanksgiving last year. He's getting ready to give a big speech announcing his new strategy for Afghanistan. Except ... the strategy isn't set yet. The military has presented him with just one option: escalation. But at the last minute, Obama tells everyone, hold up - the door to a plan for withdrawal isn't closed.

The brass isn't having it:

"Mr. President," [Army Col. John Tien] said, "I don't see how you can defy your military chain here. We kind of are where we are. Because if you tell General McChrystal, 'I got your assessment, got your resource constructs, but I've chosen to do something else,' you're going to probably have to replace him. You can't tell him, 'Just do it my way, thanks for your hard work.' And then where does that stop?"

The colonel did not have to elaborate. His implication was that not only McChrystal but the entire military high command might go in an unprecedented toppling - Gates; Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Gen. David H. Petraeus, then head of U.S. Central Command. Perhaps no president could weather that, especially a 48-year-old with four years in the U.S. Senate and 10 months as commander in chief.

And, well, the rest is history. Three days later Obama announced the escalation at West Point. And he became our newest war president.

But here's the question Woodward doesn't answer: Why, exactly, can't a president weather ending a war, even if he has to fire all his generals to do it? It's right there in Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution: The President's in charge of the military. And so is Congress: the army can't just march over to the Treasury Department and steal the money for wars. Article I, Section 9 says Congress has to appropriate it.

In the real world, though, the Constitution's just a piece of paper. In the real world, a President who fired his top military in order to stop a war would be ruined before you could say "bloodless coup." The Washington Post (filled with ads from Boeing and Northrop Grumman) would scream about how he was the reincarnation of Neville Chamberlain. Fox and CNN (filled with "experts" who work for think tanks funded by Raytheon and General Dynamics) would say he was a girly-man who had to be impeached. And Congress (which experienced its own escalation in lobbying from defense contractors just as the Afghanistan escalation was being decided) might well do it. (By the way, if you want to listen to Lyndon Johnson talk in 1964 about how he might be impeached if he didn't follow the military-industrial complex's orders and escalate the war in Vietnam, just go here.)

So here's your assignment for tonight: Watch Eisenhower's famous farewell speech.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCRDp4OF5Ig

And then start thinking about how we can tame this beast. The Soviet Union had its own military-industrial complex, which is one reason they got into Afghanistan ... which is one reason there's no more Soviet Union. It happened to them.

Don't think it can happen to us?

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+96 # Pikewich 2010-09-30 19:02
Absolutely it can happen to us. Absolutely it will.

Happened in Viet Nam, Korea and Iraq. Afghanistan is where empires go to die. Too bad there is such a problem with forgetting that bit of world history.

But on February 15th, 2002, we told you so. No one wanted to hear that 911 was a crime, not an act of war committed by a sovereign nation.

The other shoe is dropping. We have to live with the fact we have to wait till this idiocy plays itself out just like Viet Nam.
 
 
+41 # Harry 2010-09-30 22:59
There is little new here except for the fact that the media will never openly disclose the truth because they are part of the military-indust rial complex that benefits from this double-edged sword to begin with. GE/NBC along with the other
big five.
 
 
+30 # Ted 2010-09-30 23:04
And Dwight in all likelihood learned that from General Smedley Butler who figured it out. Google "War is a racket".
 
 
+25 # Mouna Wilson 2010-09-30 23:05
Please, Michael. Please keep giving us assignments and keep
waking us up to the fact that there could be a military coup
that would destroy this nation. Were we duped into electing an
"innocent" who did not (hopefully until now) realize that he was
being used as a patsy? IF Rahm Emanuel is "on his way out," would you kindly take his place?

Thank you, Michael, and I really mean it!
 
 
+34 # Dion Giles 2010-09-30 23:06
Michael Moore is telling an important part of the story, but not all of it. The presidents who didn't (don't) stand up to the brasshats all lack(ed)moral fibre. When General MacArthur in 1951 moved to cross the Yalu River and attack China without presidential approval, the USA stood at the brink of nuclear war. China didn't have nukes then, but what it did have was a treaty with the USSR - and the USSR did have nukes. So Truman abruptly sacked MacArthur. There was a torrent of protest, but MacArthur remained sacked, and the Yalu River remained uncrossed. MacArthur was booked to address his angry and adoring supporters in Carnegie Hall, but in the event few turned up.
 
 
+20 # muriel schnierow 2010-10-01 09:44
Dion You are absolutely ight .And Truman was a former Haberdasher witH GUTS. THAT IS WHAT WE ALL NEED NOW-
GUTS TO FIRE THEM ALL OF THEM
 
 
+16 # Stevi 2010-09-30 23:07
Read BOMB POWER by Gary Wills and WASHINGTON RULES: AMERICA’S PATH TO PERMANENT WAR by Andrew Bacevich.
 
 
+13 # karenvista 2010-10-02 12:42
Sorry, my previous half-finished comment disappeared and may have been posted by accident............

In case you haven't noticed, the only president with the guts to stand up to the JCS was Kennedy. Read JFK And The Unspeakable to find out the whole story. Before he was assassinated he had directed the JCS to withdraw 1,000 troops from Vietnam by the end of 1963 (a month after he was assassinated) an all personnel by the end of 1965. The JCS and CIA were livid. CIA had been active in Vietnam since 1954. Johnson knew what he had to do. He had no choice. Every president since then has been under the same pressure to give the generals and the leaders of industry their wars. It is their way of money laundering. They turn public tax revenue into private profit through war. Obama knows, or should know, the consequences of not giving in to the military/indust rial complex.
 
 
+20 # James Marcus 2010-09-30 23:16
It is Civilian Control over the Miiitary! Over the Congress, the President and the Corporations, too. Even the Banks are 'fronts' and 'Patsie's for these folk.
Tbey are 'Cilviilian'. But they are not the Civilian 'Public-at-Larg e. Hardly.
They are neither in Uniform, nor hold public office. But their power to Corrupt from 'behind-the-sce ne' is nearly as unfathomable as their collective wealth.
 
 
+32 # Nancy Patterson 2010-09-30 23:44
In the 2005 documentary "Why We Fight," Eisenhower's son said that the original phrase was "military-indus trial-congressi onal complex," but that his father dropped "congressional" from the final speech. I suggest we all use the original phrase.
 
 
+33 # Karen Gore 2010-09-30 23:46
The collective sound of countless Americans singing La-la-la-la-la while putting their hands over their ears is deafening. And scary as hell. I am as afraid of my fellow Americans who don't care to hear the Truth as I am of the military industrial complex and their agenda.
 
 
+19 # Tom Martin 2010-09-30 23:46
With Obama succumbing to the Pentagon and our "security" apparatus, we who are opposed to war - war for profit, war for dominance, war for the thrill of it - are presented with a big challenge: finding someone or some way to accomplish what Obama and previous Presidents have not been able to do. It can't be done by an individual, although individual leadership is critical. It has to be done by developing an awareness of the nature and magnitude of our military-indust rial problem, and regaining control, through congress, of our country. If we count the number of people in our military, including "defense" contracting companies, and compare that number with the number of the rest of qualified voters, the result would give us an idea of whether this can possibly be done.
 
 
+21 # Albert Krauss 2010-09-30 23:54
So spot on, its infuriating. Rage may know no constraints, and this is why the intelligence services (services? Ulcers would be more analogous) are so eager to wrap up control of dissent. Because revolutionary rage would take out the people who fill the little slots as generals, liaison officers, corporate executives, major stockholders, and essentially violently overthrow the status quo (put a rap rhythm to that last rhyme!). Chicken shit Western World conspiracy to control all resources and enslave all ordinary people.
So, readers of the internet, rise up, unite, and DO IT (this is an overt incitement)
 
 
+18 # RonTruth 2010-09-30 23:57
.

Instead of seeking peace, we all have taken the easy road to comfort, gas and oil for our many motored means of transportation, easy money for bankers at the expense of finding more ways to distribute that wealth through better federal spending by government hiring workers by the millions as Bill Clinton did.

But now it is late in the game. Too much borrowed money from communist nations like China to pay for unconstitutiona l wars for oil and natural gas, not to mention the idea that we somehow, because of whatever the hell happend on 9/11/2001, have adjudicated ourselves worthy to attack other nations, with no other "cause" than to "go after those terrorists."

The last presdent to stand up to the MIC was John F. Kennedy who ordered the withdrawal from Vietnam.
See www.jfkmurdersolved.com and let Jimmy Files tell it like it actually happened!
 
 
+10 # Albert Krauss 2010-09-30 23:58
So spot on, its infuriating. Rage may know no constraints, and this is why the intelligence services (services? Ulcers would be more analogous) are so eager to wrap up control of dissent. Because revolutionary rage would take out the people who fill the little slots as generals, liaison officers, corporate executives, major stockholders, and essentially violently overthrow the status quo (put a rap rhythm to that last rhyme!). Chicken shit Western World conspiracy to control all resources and enslave all ordinary people. So, readers of these words, and internet users everywhere, rise up and UNITE, and DO IT! This is a revolutionary incitement.
 
 
+25 # Jorge 2010-09-30 23:59
If we really had a "Liberal" Media they would play this clip periodically to warn Americans of the MIC. Perhaps Dennis Kucinich or Grayson or someone with courage (and a sense of morality) could bring this before Congress and maybe someone in the Corporate-Contr olled Media would have a moment of decency and discuss the MIC's stranglehold on America and how it diminishes us as Americans. Wouldn't it be nice to end the wars, bring the troops home, and close foreign bases and use that money in the states (for schools, infrastructure, health care, jobs, jobs, jobs). I like Ike.
 
 
+19 # Marco Luxe 2010-10-01 00:16
Blame this on Barbara Bush. I'm sure Poppy wanted to have his addled son become a real man in 'Nam, but Mommy knew that it wouldn't be prudent to enlist her first born cheerleader. Fast forward 25 years, and W starts wars like they're war games over TX National Guard air space, never knowing the horrors of real war. John Fogerty's "Fortunate Son" rings in my ears while I weep for America. http://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/fahrenheit911/fortunateson.htm

On second thought, I blame Scalia's gang of 5 in Bush v Gore as well. At least Gore [and Kerry] saw and acknowledged the horror and folly of preemptive war. Thanks Antonin.
 
 
+31 # Harvey S. Frey 2010-10-01 00:17
Harry Truman did it and survived.

And MacArthur was a lot bigger deal than McChrystal or Petraeus.

All it took was GUTS!
And that's what's missing today.
 
 
+11 # muriel schnierow 2010-10-01 09:52
HARVEY
YOU GOT THAT ONE RIGHT!!!AND OF COURSE YOU REMEMBER THE TRUMAN -DEWEY ELECTION.TRUMAN WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO THOUGHT HE COULD WIN .I AGREE TOTALLY AND EXPECT PRES OBAMA TO STAND UP TO THE MILITARY.
 
 
+5 # Pat Williams 2010-10-02 08:19
I thought Ike was the one who finally put the Korean War on hold. Though our military presence has been permanent. There are only a very few nations that have been able to dislodge our military occupation. France, Iran and the Philippines come to mind. Carter did a no-no when he recognized the end of a treaty and got us out of Panama. Al Qaeda's stated goal is to get us out of Saudi Arabia, the holiest of holies. The Saudi family, of course, is thankful that we are there to keep them in power as they amass wealth the old-fashioned way. They steal it from the rest of the citizenry.
 
 
+2 # karenvista 2010-10-02 13:30
Ike also gave Kennedy the Bay of Pigs and Vietnam. So while we praise his words, his deeds as the incubator of two of our greatest political blunders also need to be recognized.
 
 
+11 # S. Wolf Britain 2010-10-01 00:23
Welcome to finally waking up more, Mike, and finally realizing all of this. I could have told you all of this before the end of 2002, and certainly in the beginning of 2003 before the U.S. government and military perpetrated another "supreme international crime" through preemptively attacking a defenseless country, Iraq, that had nothing to do with attacking us, and mass murdering over a million innocent people in the last seven years. I'm glad you've finally woken up to all of this, Mike, but where were you in 2002-2003? I'm also very glad you're telling it more like it is, though. Please don't let up, and don't mince words like you haven't in this article...
 
 
+15 # Denise D 2010-10-01 10:16
S. Wolf Britain, see "Fahrenheit 911." I believe Mr. Moore addresses your concerns there.
 
 
+16 # Len 2010-10-01 00:26
It's actually not just the military-indust rial complex. That is two-thirds. It is the military-indust rial-CONGRESSIONAL complex. A triumverate. Industry and the military need the congress. That's who makes it all work. Change the congress, and maybe we'll see some progress.
 
 
+7 # Pat Williams 2010-10-02 08:28
So the funding and electoral fraud that gets candidates elected, or eliminates some of the best from the competition, is often coming from the corporate arm of the MIC. There have also been a couple of very handy plane crashes. Take Wellstone for instance.
 
 
+35 # AngryMan 2010-10-01 00:26
Vietnam and Korea were different. We had a military draft going during both of those aggressions. (Please stop calling Iraq and Afghanistan "wars". They are not "wars"!)

Bring back the military draft. That will suppress our appetite to spill blood for corporations. There is nothing better than a boatload of dead guys that died for no tangible reason, to start a proper movement to end this nonsense.

And like in the Vietnam era, I want to see the fighting every single day, painted on my television screen when I eat dinner. I want the populace to see what these acts of aggression are all about. We cannot show caskets of the dead because that would be "disrespectful" ? Are you joking? You cannot know who is in which box, so how is showing unidentified body boxes "disrespectful" ? We have expunged death itself from the actual cost of "war". Our whole treatment of "war" is laughable.
 
 
+8 # Denise D 2010-10-01 10:18
We've already HAD "a boatload of dead guys that died for no tangible reason." And tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths, plus millions of displaced families. It ain't workin', AngryMan.
 
 
+6 # Ellis D. Tripp 2010-10-02 08:52
Quoting Denise D:
We've already HAD "a boatload of dead guys that died for no tangible reason." And tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths, plus millions of displaced families. It ain't workin', AngryMan.


The KIA rate in Vietnam was hundreds of American dead every week, peaking at 400+/week in 1968. The Vietnam war ended because of all the dead soldiers shipped back to American families. The current rate of US troop attrition is simply not large enough to bring the outrage. I am not in any way suggesting that I want to see it go higher, I do not. It's just that getting the attention of the American public is like getting a mule's attention: you have to him the mule between the eyes with a 2x4.
 
 
+17 # Bill Smirnow 2010-10-01 00:31
A great deal of this is true but ultimately, the US public has the final say so, not the military. The fact that there are so many ignorant, largely propagandized , apathetic & shallow basically brain dead people out there is the bottom line. Collectively we are more powerful than any/all corporation, even the military/media complex. People and workers of the oountry and world unite. With climate change it's probably too late but in the period of time the human and other species have left on this planet, ZERO of this warmongering insanity/terror /crap is necessary. Absolutely Z-E-R-O. Think Rationally With Open Minds After Getting The Facts. Then ACT Rationally And With F-E-E-L-I-N-G over and over and over again until we have the Peace we could have had from day one.
 
 
+9 # Denise D 2010-10-01 10:22
Absolutely outstanding post!!!
 
 
+11 # Jeff Adams 2010-10-01 00:37
To be direct the entire industrial media complex can't say "excrement" even when their mouths are full of it. And along comes our hero and a true patriot, Michael Moore, who can succinctly point out why our President --- and our entire country --- are being held hostage by the military. And clearly point out how we have been forced into a $3.0+ trillion war (total cost) that we can win. And a war that does nothing to improve our security or economic interests. We learned nothing from Vietnam.
 
 
+17 # comrade Marimira 2010-10-01 00:43
Our lust for blood, war, and mayhem is insatiable- and of course it's underwritten by corporate profiteers and their hangers-on who believe in our God-given right to demand that our comfort not be threatened by anyone, especially the brown and black bodies that inhabit this world. Somebody not too long ago opined that our wars are STARTED BY OLD MEN AND FOUGHT BY YOUNG MEN. Yeah, the irony is palpable. Why can't we imagine a world driven by the noblest and high ideals that presumably differentiate us from our feral cousins? Why this appetite for the gory and brutalizing regimens?
 
 
+5 # Pat Williams 2010-10-02 08:36
These ads run by our military to train parents on how to acquiesce to sending their offspring to be part of the war machine has me shouting at the tv every time I see one. Tell the kid he or she is being conned. Tell the kid you don't want him trained to kill people as a profession, to think of innocent people as collateral damage. Tell him to go to the Peace Corp if he wants to serve humanity.
 
 
+13 # Saje Williams 2010-10-01 01:09
It won't be the first time I've said it. Obama would need to have been willing to sacrifice his career to do what needed to be done. All kidding aside, we needed someone with the moral courage of a Roosevelt who was willing to throw caution to the wind and do what he believed needed to be done.

Obama had a choice... he could be a President whose election made history, or a President whose very administration made history. He, unfortunately, seems to have chosen the latter rather than the former.
 
 
+22 # Patricia Chang 2010-10-01 01:18
Yes, the screams from the Pentagon and the Far Right would have been heard around the world. Obama needs to be a very courageous man to defy the Pentagon. I am sorry he is not. In my opinion, he is going to be a one-term President; because he is too in awe of Big Guns, Big Oil, Big Pharm, Big Wall Street, Big Insurance,etc.S o, he might as well have saved hundreds of lives by doing the right thing, and admitting Afghanistan never has been and never will be defeated. If more Al Quaeda training camps are built, we have spy satellites that can read the printing on a pack of cigarettes. We have mountain blaster bombs. We have more destructive devices than King Tut had gold. What we dont have is common sense, compassion for civilians, and humility. Obama has seen the enemy, and it is himself. He can stop blaming the "Professional Left," whatever that is. I thought he would be more than just another politician. More fool me.
 
 
+7 # Denise D 2010-10-01 10:24
BRAVO!!!! Spot on!
 
 
+4 # F.X. Feeney 2010-10-01 01:36
Michael, this is the same kettle of fish you were peddling in 2000 when you voted for Nader. Do you really want to say yet again that it didn't matter whether Al Gore or George W. Bush became President? It mattered.

Obama said on the campaign trail he was going to escalate the Afghan commitment. He did. He said at West Point that he's pulling out in July 2011, and Woodward's book says he means it. This is why I believe General McChrystal bailed, under the guise of his self-destructiv e remarks. Obama HAD shown who was boss, in his cool un-melodramatic way.

He's like a guy who's been elected President to move a 50 gallon drum of nitroglycerin downhill to the nearest outhouse. You better believe he's moving carefully -- and slowly! Be grateful he is. At least the ghastly follies and policies that filled the Grand Canyon in our history between the election battle of 2000 to the hope of 2008 will eventually end up in the crapper where they belong.
 
 
+3 # Denise D 2010-10-01 10:25
DREAM ON.
 
 
+24 # Hors-D-whores 2010-10-01 01:41
Within a couple of months into Obama's administration my liberal friends were complaining that Obama was no better than Bush because it didn't appear that he was going to end the atrocities of the wars he inherited. I clearly saw the picture, even though I'm not as erudite as some of them are, that the President soon found out who was really in control of the wars. I mentioned that if he went against the Pentagon that he would have faced dire consequences and/or a military coup. Some were irate with me that they had to accept that their president could be that powerless. My early understanding of the position he was in is why I have been an apologist for things that President Obama has not been able to do. I think he faces other large forces as well, the FBI, the banking industry, corporate powers, and of course the Republican party hacks who want to see NO achievements by this well meaning and hard working president.
That is why we the people need to stay involved, vote and fight back.
 
 
+4 # Pat Williams 2010-10-02 08:50
Obama has been doing what he can. He put Mrs. Clinton in charge of the State Department, bringing back diplomacy and using it effectively around the world. He has been working very hard on reducing nuclear armaments. Amen. What he hasn't been able to do is go after the criminal activities of the private mercenary contractors in a serious way.
 
 
+4 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-01 02:11
For all you die hards who think Obama can do no wrong...this article rests my case. So I ask again: When are we going to get a LEADER? One who has backbone? One who is not a coward and will stand up and do the right thing regardless of the risks?

When are we going to get leadership that puts the good of the country ahead of their own careers...ahead of the military industrial complex and corporate America?

If Michael Moore is right...and I believe that he is, we are already living under a military dictatorship and this is the absolute truth by default. If President Obama doesnt have the moral, mental and spiritual fortitude to actually function as the Commander In Chief instead of the Pentagon's employee of the month (or presidential term)then he needs to be replaced in 2012 by a Democrat that will. Nothing short of this will do.
 
 
+11 # Rowland 2010-10-01 13:26
I do not believe Obama can do no wrong. He did wrong by NOT UNDOING what Cheney Bush and Company did prior to his administration. And that is the gist of Michael Moore's article. And I agree with it. I wish I had just a half hour of President Obama's time and his undivided attention. He has screwed up by trying to please everybody--even those fools who don't believe he is American.
 
 
+2 # Pat Williams 2010-10-02 08:54
The MIC will eliminate anybody like that. That's what happened to JFK. That's what happened to Wellstone. In a different way, that's what happened to Gore. Perhaps Kerry too.
 
 
+15 # Dennis 2010-10-01 03:09
Mike: Did you forget to notice, with your grim insight here (not from Woodward of course), that you are also discussing why President Kennedy was murdered? See "JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died & Why It Matters" by James Douglass (Orbis), the most important, most thoroughly and studiously ignored book of Our Day. Check it out...
 
 
+2 # karenvista 2010-10-02 13:45
Quoting Dennis:
See "JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died & Why It Matters" by James Douglass (Orbis), the most important, most thoroughly and studiously ignored book of Our Day. Check it out...


I think you might have recommended this book before-I took your advice and bought it and I heartily agree. It has 100 pages of footnotes and document references to papers that have been recently declassified from Soviet and U.S. intelligence files and vast numbers of interviews. It's the most astounding thing I've ever read. (Although it could have been better edited.) 75% of Americans believe that there was a conspiracy involved in the JFK assassination and this book tells you why it happened and who did it.
 
 
+17 # C.P. 2010-10-01 03:35
When it comes to war it is obvious that the people who have to actually fight have no voice in the matter. Parents and siblings and spouses of warriors the world over have protested loudly for decades that wars are usually senseless. Only WWII in the last 70 years made winning essential; all the others were ideological struggles against Communism or tyranny or some other country's civil war. Despite the protests, American presidents have listened to their generals and admirals, and manufacturers of offensive defense weapons, and concluded that war is good for the country's economy, and that thousands of deaths are merely collateral damage in the fight for "freedom."
 
 
+8 # Brenda Louise 2010-10-01 03:39
Democracy and freedom run hand in hand. But, Democracy and Freedom also have a dark side. The public has always willed to remain nutral in the many decisions that the goverment makes. Sometimes it's also necessary to keep the public in the dark about certain things for military defense sake. But as things are labeled as top secret, so is the chance to pull one over on the public interest. We've always prided ourselves on the checks and balances that are built into the governmant, but big business will always seek to get around those checks and balances for profit. The biggest export today from the USA is military loans, weapons, and death machines. But we can drape our conciences with the bible, religion, and military income. We give out arrows, not olive branches.
 
 
+4 # carl 2010-10-01 05:07
one certainty: obama is no harry truman
 
 
+18 # Bill Murray 2010-10-01 05:57
Having worked with the DoD for over 21 years I can assure you that the military industrial complex is in control, not the White House. Having retired a number of years ago and having seen what has transpired in recent years I believe the situation has worsened. The Military/Indust rial complex is stronger now then it was 25 years ago. In reality the President is not the Commander-In-Ch ief of the military; he is but a figurehead that has no real control over military and international affairs.
 
 
+2 # karenvista 2010-10-02 13:51
Thanks for the confirmation Bill. Many of us have sensed for a long while that the president is a figurehead controlled by shadowy figures behind the screen. I think most politicians know before running for the office that their actions will be circumscribed but I also have this nightmare of a new president being read a document telling him where the boundaries are, what he is allowed to do and told that if he steps outside his box he will be, in the words of Carl Paladino, "taken out."
 
 
+30 # Eliza 2010-10-01 06:11
Thanks, Michael, for saying it like it is. I think there are Presidents who would stand up to the machine (Kucinich, Nader), but they would have to be willing to sacrifice their lives. I can easily imagine a coup in this country, followed by a Tienamen Square-type killing of civilian protestors. We are living in a virtually fascist country now. We need leadership which is not afraid to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences. And we need a populace that understands what is really going on, and will go tot he streets like they do in Europe, to hold the government accountable. The frightening thing right now is that we have Tea Partiers who are doing the bidding of the billionaires and have little idea what their own class interests are. They could easily be turned into the foot soldiers of the fascists. We need to get organized.
 
 
+15 # Norm 2010-10-01 06:28
Wish Michael would do a documentary of what Peace would look like....I believe people forgot that Peace is more responsible than waging constant War.

MICHAEL PLEASE !
 
 
+12 # Jawbone Grouch 2010-10-01 06:38
Then you are saying we are a Military Dictatorship {since industry and the military are one}?

How many millions {of voters} out of 350,000,000 would we need to pressure the Congress to take charge and demote the Pentagon to it's proper level?

Are we totally powerless?

Is Government gelded?
 
 
+12 # Mike Carpenter 2010-10-01 07:08
The employees of the war contractors have high-paying jobs, superb health insurance, and superb retirement plans. Their kids go to well-funded schools. Where are the war contractors? In the Districts of the southern right-wing bigots who denounce health care for all, Social Security, and repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell." Who's got socialism in America, and who ain't?
 
 
+6 # Hank 2010-10-01 09:39
Yeah, and who supplies "war contractors"? Manufacturers in every state of the union. So, to borrow a phrase, "we're all war contractors now." Or, to borrow another one, "your winnings, sir."
 
 
+2 # Ellis D. Tripp 2010-10-02 09:02
Quoting C.P.:
Only WWII in the last 70 years made winning essential; all the others were ideological struggles against Communism or tyranny or some other country's civil war.


WWII was also the last time America fought to defend freedom. American wars since WWII have been fought to generate profits for the military-indust rial-congressio nal complex with the American public being fed a line of BS a mile wide and a foot deep.

Interestingly enough, WWII was the last American war that resulted in victory. Victory is not profitable as it ends the profit generating event, the war. Peace is not profitable for the military-indust rial-congressio nal complex so we are always at war.
 
 
+19 # jimmyjames 2010-10-01 08:05
Overheard when discussing the proposed Patriot Act:

"Mr. President," one aide in the meeting said. "There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution."

"Stop throwing the Constitution in my face," Bush screamed back. "It's just a goddamned piece of paper!"

Our Democracy went down the tubes when the military-indust rial complex had JFK assassinated in 1963. Dwight was right and Kennedy tried to act on his advice. See where it got him!
 
 
+4 # muriel schnierow 2010-10-01 10:02
THIS FAILURE IN THE MIDDLE EAST HAS BEEN GOING ON SINCE WW2. HOWEVER JFK SEEMED UNAWARE OF THE DANGERS, NO WAY DID HE HAVE TO BE IN TEXAS IN AN OPEN LIMO. THE ELECTORATE PUT BUSH IN FOR A SECOND TERM AND NOW ARE NOT SUPPORTING OBAMA'S SENSIBLE WISH TO GET OUT OF AFGHANISTAN. IF THESE COMMENTS ARE TYPICAL THERE ARE MORE OF US THAN THEM.
 
 
+9 # Just An Observer 2010-10-01 08:26
If a President wanted to truly lead despite opposition from civilian and military bureaucracies/o rganizations, that President would have a plan, sell it right on TV, the papers, the net and any other media they could find, and then they would defend it against all comers.

Can we clone Truman please?
 
 
+4 # proud_lemming 2010-10-01 14:17
Truman?

Atomic bombs, Cold War, Korea ... and the creation of the National Security Agency in 1947, which kick-started overt American Imperialism, the collapse of which we are only beginning to see ...

Maybe not so much.
 
 
+9 # Duffy 2010-10-01 08:26
Howard Zinn, the American historian who died last year, predicted shortly before his death that Obam would be a mediocre president at best. Sadly, I believe his prediction is proving true.
 
 
+8 # Duffy 2010-10-01 08:53
The late American historian, Howard Zinn, predicted Obama would be a mediocre president at best. It appears his prediction is proving true. I'm afraid we have elected a good intentioned, well educated Harvard lad who is in over his head.

The Democratic leadership by Reed and Pelosi in both Houses has been a disappointment.

A strong president would have taken more direct action to push his legislation through, but a hands-on approach from this White House has proven weak and late.

It's possible we may have a one-term president.
 
 
+5 # Karlos 2010-10-01 08:58
"Why, exactly, can't a president weather ending a war, even if he has to fire all his generals to do it?" That is the question. A president with cojones could have. I'm sure after the third or fourth general had been fired, the rest would have gotten the message and gotten into line. But we elected a patsy who wants everyone to like him.
 
 
+12 # Vardette 2010-10-01 09:11
One used to be able to say things like the Eisenhower speech- We are already headed for economic collapse - I ask myself should I give up? No I can't. As dark as it may seem, I must speak out, march and let my reps and President know that the military industrial complex and the take over of the Robber Barons will leave us on an economic ash heap. There is a bottom to the barrel and we are getting there fast - Although I must say that Cost Rica is looking very good to me these days.
 
 
+2 # Richard Peabody 2010-10-02 19:59
Quoting Vardette:
One used to be able to say things like the Eisenhower speech- We are already headed for economic collapse - I ask myself should I give up? No I can't. As dark as it may seem, I must speak out, march and let my reps and President know that the military industrial complex and the take over of the Robber Barons will leave us on an economic ash heap. There is a bottom to the barrel and we are getting there fast - Although I must say that Cost Rica is looking very good to me these days.


Save for the fact that we have troops in Costa Rica right now ostensibly helping out in the drug war. Since Costa Rica has no military it's a bit like an occupation isn't it?
 
 
+5 # john henry 2010-10-01 09:49
Michael Moore has indeed identified the problem with our Nation's ills. Neither Congress nor the Executive live up to their oaths to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. If only there were a popular movement in our country to reclaim constitutional limitations on government! Strictly adhered to, the Constitution offers our only protection against a tyranny of elites. Perhaps Mr. Moore, with all his wealth and his public voice could encourage Americans to demand a return to constitutional restraint on government.
 
 
+10 # RonTruth 2010-10-01 09:54
Questions like, "When are we going to get a LEADER,?" etc. and statements like "Obama is no "Harry Truman," etc. show a lack of the importnance of November 22, 1963. The Kennedy assassination, and the following Kennedy (Robert F.) assassination and that of Martin Luther King, Jr.

All three of these great leaders DIED because they dared speak against the Military-Indust rial Complex's cherished war in Vietnam. KBR (Brown and Root, the Cheney oil construction co. that got all the "no-bid" contracts in Iraq, got all of the no bid contracts in Vietnam! Get it?

Powerful corporations give buckoo billions to politicians, then call in their favors by having politicians give them the wars they want so they can rake in more $bajillions.

Do you remember the four teenaged gunmen who were "caught" by Denver police just before candidate Obama was nominated?? They had loaded rifles with them. Police said "they had no plan," and let them go.

The MIC warned Obama.
 
 
+6 # Denise D 2010-10-01 10:48
Most of the posters here are aware of the history you outline, Ron. But is that a reason to just give up and let the MIC declare overt victory? If Obama didn't want to confront the MIC, maybe in the way that "Just an Observer" suggests, then he should have declined the candidacy. His succumbing to intimidation hasn't done a bit of good for the country.
 
 
+6 # Sue Hartman 2010-10-01 10:36
Jeff Adams said, in part: "clearly point out how we have been forced into a $3.0+ trillion war (total cost) that we can win.

There must be a typo in there. Was "can" was written instead of "can't" ?
 
 
+3 # Interested Observer 2010-10-01 23:23
Wouldn't be worth 3 Trillion even if we could win it.
 
 
+7 # Helen 2010-10-01 10:43
Tomorrow's march in Washington could give Obama a convenient opportunity to stand up for the people and take on the militarists, the polluters and the war profiteers. If he can't do this, we certainly will need a popular movement, and maybe a whole new party, the Progressive/Eis enhower/Peace Party perhaps? I am ready for this.
 
 
+4 # Gail Karr 2010-10-01 10:58
He's right up there tying with MLK on speechmaking and prophesy on this on.
 
 
+5 # proud_lemming 2010-10-01 14:12
Too bad he only "woke up" in his farewell address, and too bad he only said it once.
 
 
+8 # Sylvia 2010-10-01 11:36
Eisenhower pushed through Congress in 1958 a huge budget item for education called the National Defense Education Act which funded many programs, including a scholarship that my husband (and many others) got in the ‘60’s long after Eisenhower was gone from the White House. My husband was born in a log cabin in Piedmont, MO went through public schools, was a Marine Corps officer after graduation from MIZZOU, went on to get a fellowship at Harvard, become a principal of a huge high school and ended his career as a professor of Education. He served on the County School Board for 8 years. He had a major positive impact on the lives of many people.
That is called government funding of programs that lift people out of poverty through education to help make for a better country. It works. War is hell.
 
 
+14 # proud_lemming 2010-10-01 12:38
Dwight was right ... as far as he went.

Unfortunately, he scratched out the 3rd part of his warning when GOP officials advised him against using his original phrase, "the military-indust rial-CONGRESSIO NAL complex.

Now, I'd add another. American education and media contribute to historical amnesia. When they speak of history at all, they provide a triumphalist, exceptionalist and moralistic narrative that ignores the rest of the world and concentrates on America's greatness.

No wonder "they" hate "us"! We're so narcissistic and ill-informed that we don't evern know WHY they hate us ... and we don't much care either.
 
 
+8 # enrique 2010-10-01 12:52
Why do you think the money bags spent so much money to brainwash and mislead the average citizen? Because they know, that actually, the citizens hold the power!! They are a tranquilized tiger. They have the votes, the ultimate weapon!! Please voters, get away from your stinking TVs which are the tool of seduction, disinformation, deliberate wasting of your time. Please read, read, on the Internet which is full of invaluable information, written by knowledgeable people. Learn the truth and use your power in the voting booth!
 
 
+3 # Pat Williams 2010-10-02 09:06
Which is one of the key reasons, aside from greed, that a few telecommunicati ons corporations have been working mightily on limiting our access to the internet.
 
 
+7 # Rowland 2010-10-01 13:18
I bet that we'd be OK if we teach Boeing and Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon and General Dynamics how to fix roads, bridges and schools, and manufacture high speed rail systems, and solar and wind generators. If we cut 50% off our defense budget and close 50% of the military bases worldwide, we wouldn't need to worry so much about where we're heading. Right now it's off a cliff.
 
 
+2 # Pat Williams 2010-10-02 09:08
There is far, far more money in supplying wars than in building infrastructure.
 
 
+3 # karenvista 2010-10-02 14:04
George Orwell addressed why national wealth had to be spent on destruction rather that construction and education in "1984." It (once again) is a money laundering operation to turn tax dollars into private profit and secondly, the MIC can't allow the people to become educated because it would become apparent to them that their "rulers" are fools running a gigantic con and they would try to take over.
 
 
+8 # Bry 2010-10-01 14:13
I truly believe at this point in history, we are a nation on the verge of implosion, on several fronts.

I think one of the most dangerous things we've done is to "dummy down" our educational system in the last three decades (right after the assinations of the 60's and Watergate when our moral was low and hope was lost).

A dummied down, violence desensitized, stressed out nation = bad news across the board. We are, indeed, also, ripe for a new Hitler.

Obama needs to grow balls and stand up for all that he told us he believed in and promised he would do!
 
 
+2 # Ellis D. Tripp 2010-10-02 08:20
Quoting Bry:
I think one of the most dangerous things we've done is to "dummy down" our educational system in the last three decades (right after the assinations of the 60's and Watergate when our moral was low and hope was lost).

A dummied down, violence desensitized, stressed out nation = bad news across the board. We are, indeed, also, ripe for a new Hitler.


An uneducated and ignorant populace is more easily manipulated by the corporate media to follow the whims of the military-indust rial complex.
 
 
+1 # john henry 2010-10-02 10:10
Quoting Bry:


Obama needs to grow balls and stand up for all that he told us he believed in and promised he would do!


Yes indeed Bry. Arne Duncan's Department of Education is seeking to further dumb down education by requiring all of America to implement his program. It is the same approach that led Chicago schools to their dismal performance. He seeks to hold American students to an international standard of the UNESCO World Core Curriculum designed by Robert Muller on the model of Alice Bailey to create an international citizenry subservient to nonrepresentati ve global governance.
 
 
+9 # S. Wolf Britain 2010-10-01 14:14
...Now, if only you'd get on the bandwagon of the 9/11 TRUTH that it most-definitely was a government inside job, because it had to have been for the greatest national defense apparatus in the world to have allowed it to happen without those planes being shot down, the standard operating procedure for uncommunicative , off-course, potentially-hij acked planes, before they hit their targets! Now, wake all the way up, Mike, and completely face just how deep the military-indust rial complex rabbit hole goes!...
 
 
+6 # Debby Nicely 2010-10-01 14:56
The opposite of liberalism is fascism. What will you stand up for?
 
 
+6 # enrique 2010-10-01 15:04
Comment above: Would I put it past them? Hell no. Where was NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command)? We spent billions and billions for that outfit and brag and brag endlessly about it. It looked most peculiar to me at the time.
 
 
+7 # yvette zinaman 2010-10-01 16:03
What is it that Obama doesn't get about EXECUTIVE ORDERS!
 
 
+7 # richard keene 2010-10-01 16:47
Basically, we have taxation without representation. ..no tea party half wit here...just looking at all these posts and realizing...we have nothing. I live in Mexico and people keep saying "it is dangerous and Mexico is a failed state" and I say right back, "you live in a failed state too" no one seems to get "it"....sad sad sad
 
 
+4 # J.L. Karpinski 2010-10-01 17:13
Our best source of real information is Michael Moore and Bob Woodward. Where is the President to face the nation and tell the truth? Ashamed of how he collapsed in the face of the military advisors who are effectively intimidating him? FIRE all of them. A president who does not believe in his decisions, ESPECIALLY in sending Soldiers to war, is beholding to somebody or something and placing the nation at risk. The Lobbyists are calling...We are teetering at this point and the precipice is calling.
 
 
+2 # Ellis D. Tripp 2010-10-02 20:47
All presidents are corporate presidents regardless of party.
 
 
+6 # Barry Inscore 2010-10-01 17:55
Ike coined the term "military industrial complex" but Lincoln said it best. "That this government of the people by the rich and for the rich shall not perish from the earth." Money talks. Loudly.
 
 
+5 # fredboy 2010-10-01 17:55
You can't earn a star without combat.
So every military generation pushes for war.
 
 
+4 # Gene Fontaine 2010-10-01 21:58
Wow, it seems that there are actually other citizens (not just Veterans For Peace members) who see, know the reality.

The statement that Pres. Kennedy was assassinated because he was about to 'Overthrow' the US of A's military regarding Viet Nam is fact until proven otherwise in my opinion.

So, its simple: Does Barack or anyone else take on (the military, industrial, congressional complex) the risk of assassination by becoming 'el presidente'?

Gene Fontaine, VFP, Chapter 50
 
 
0 # Fred Dente 2010-10-02 07:26
Michael, Please run for Prez? Pretty Please! Cynthia McKinney or Ann Wright for VP. We'll make it go viral. Our bloodless coup to change the paradigm. Mr. President, call me your hotheaded Friend on Kaua`i, fred
 
 
+3 # Ellis D. Tripp 2010-10-02 08:18
And to what Michael said, I would like to add that U.S. foreign policy since WWII has revolved largely around the genocidal expenditure of astronomical tonnages of deadly (and for the military-indust rial complex very profitable)muni tions on yellow and brown people while the government assures us that this is all done "to protect American interests." American service men and women that die enforcing American foreign policy are just the cost of doing business.
 
 
+5 # Mary Schweitzer 2010-10-02 16:08
Let's add historical context to Eisenhower's warning. In 1961, we were closer to World War ONE than we are today to Vietnam. WWI was one of the stupidest wars ever fought. Eisenhower believed it was primarily caused by a munitions industry that had stockpiled so much they HAD to have a war.

Cut to Germany in the 1930s. Hitler brought prosperity back to Germany by pumping money into a great war machine and then robbing the nations it invaded.

Eisenhower feared the creation of a US war machine would have the same results it did in Germany in 1914 and 1938.

It is a reasonable fear. The defense industry is capital-intensi ve, and does not help much with job creation, but we fund it. This is the true "entitlement" sector - Not the poor, the unemployed, the sick. They don't care HOW a profit is made, as long as they get theirs - and think paying taxes is someone else's problem. They are selfish, self-centered, and dangerous.

Ike was right.
 
 
+2 # Elizabeth Barger 2010-10-03 16:48
Right on Mary, The defense industry is a rat hole that sucks down everything. WWII could have been avoided, too, if some very rich capitalists, including some wealthy Americans [closely related to a son and grandson who became Presidents of good ol' USA] had not backed Germany's industrial war machine at great profit to themselves.
 
 
+3 # David Goodlett 2010-10-02 17:17
The situation remains a conflict between the haves and have nots both domestically and internationally . After meditation I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that the majority (but not all) of haves will do or support anything that maintains or increases their capacity to have at whatever expense to others it may cost, be it the lives of our sons and daughters, the well being of the ecosystem, the virtual enslavement and/or impoverishment of the masses of humanity, the betrayal of a country, the integrity of their interest group, or the moral degradation of the American people. This greed and false quest for security this wealthy interest group seeks to infect populations here and abroad with in the name of American values is a greater threat to the world than any terrorist group could ever be. The challenge to all humanity is how do we save ourselves and our planet from these insatiable souls we still acknowledge as our brothers without becoming like them for the world and Love's sake.
 
 
+2 # soularddave 2010-10-02 22:27
Many, many insightful comments here. They're read, too; look at the numbers! Pass this along to friends and others who Need to read this.

Read the Obama interview in rolling Stone, too! Read the books suggested in the comments on these pages (used books work well too!) - and pass them around.

Get informed and educated and converse with friends and foes alike. Wait for the President's second half, and get him some Congressional help.

Not just "yes we can", but *WE MUST!*
 
 
+2 # robert goldberg 2010-10-03 09:42
Thank you Mike. Unfortunately, it is not only the Military Industrial Complex, but a set of complexes in every area that gets public money in one form or another, and laws to do what they want without public oversight or corrupt that oversight at every turn. In short, a corrupted society in Benjamin Franklin's sense of what happens to a republic when its people are more concerned about having trinkets than opposing tyranny and corruption - when there is no vision.
 
 
+2 # Rosalie Riegle 2010-10-03 15:43
Oh, Michael! I wish there was someone in Washington with the guts you have! And the brains! Thank you, but I ask? WHAT are we going to do? Rallies aren't cutting it, even though they're necessary and make us feel good. I think we need to pack the prisons in non-violent protest.
 
 
+3 # Phillip 2010-10-03 17:14
Afghanistan is the 'graveyard of empires'. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Welcome to a post-America world.
 
 
+2 # Dan OConnell 2010-10-04 16:50
I've grown up a democrat (my Dad was a friend of Harry S Truman) & have voted "D" most of my life. But I'm proud to say I voted for Eisenhower twice. (I'm a "Green" now, but will vote ""D" again next month. (I'm 81 now.) Down with the MIC!
 
 
+2 # Donna Blagg 2010-10-05 07:47
I wouldlike to recommend F. Fletcher Prouty's book: JFK: The CIA, Vietnam and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy. Prouty, who worked for several administrations and who was "Mr. X" in Oliver Stone's movie "Dallas", confirms Michael Moore's premonitions about who runs the US. And he tells us what happens to a president who plans to wind down a war against the wishes of the military industrial complex. Kennedy had been warned by Ike, but he thought he was invincible.
 
 
+3 # alice copeland brown 2010-10-05 08:00
Lawsy mussy. It appears that there are a few Americans still left with the ability to think analytically and who actually were either taught or ferreted out the lessons of history.
Our national disgraceful educational system is destroying our children's minds and the nation itself.
 
 
+4 # Wil Burns 2010-10-05 14:20
What I find amazing, is how the wealthy get the less fortunate folks to vote against their best interests.
 
 
-1 # Richard Prince 2010-10-06 16:01
Sorry Mike, you're wrong. It matters Even if your bland simplistic reductionist thinking approximates the truth about the military industrial complex, sorry Mike, it still matters who we elect. There are thousands of decisions made every day in the White House and Executive branch that the Generals in the Pentagon have no idea or briefing about. So sorry, Mike, I know you want every thing to fit your little simplistic world of right and wrong but IT MATTERS. And if you took the time to think about what you are saying without the emotional hyperbole, you'd see Mike, that IT MATTERS who we elect.
 
 
-1 # c-los 2010-10-07 23:50
Ok, I had to provide my name to these people in order to post a comment. I was hesitant to do that because i don't know who is reading these post and what they have the power to do about it if they don't like what I say. Now how do you think Obama must feel about making decisions that will effect the MIC? JFK and the Kennedy's are proof of what happens when a presdident acts without believing that he can be killed from within his own security appartus! Kennedy's were and inside job, 911 was an inside job! Obama has to make all of the right dicisions while trying to stay alive while he can trust no one! It is virtually guaranteed that any president or otherwise will not stop what is already out of our control! You people who want Obama to die, keep incouraging him to do the impossible? He should have never taken the job.
 
 
0 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-09 04:46
Gee c-los, if he can't stand the heat maybe he should get out of the kitchen.
 
 
0 # Daniel Fletcher 2010-10-08 03:01
I'm actually one of those simplistic souls that thinks we should not be voting for persons, but for ideas and ideals first, and then and only then for servant leaders that will serve those ideals. Michael Moore is remarkably correct. As long as there is no one running on a platform that places first what is best for all citizens, corporations and the military industrial complex be damned, it just simply cannot matter who the hell is elected. If the forgone conclusion is proven time and time again that all that we have to chose from are corporate sponsored shills it couldn't possibly matter who gets elected. YOU are naive if you think it matters in a climate where it is dollars and not votes that count.

The ONLY justification for voting is a completely unwarranted hope, based on the evidence that is, that voting will matter. I vote based on hope, not conviction or even belief. So I will vote Democrat even though I know I am screwed. Hope is a funny thing, but it's all we have left.
 

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