The military-industrial complex phrase is nearly always quoted out of the context of the speech. Eisenhower was neither condemning nor praising the military-industrial complex. He was making a much deeper point.
The unassuming former House Republican leader from Michigan joined the pantheon of America's greatest presidents on Tuesday when his statue was unveiled in an elaborate ceremony in the U.S. Capitol amid effusive bipartisan praise.
Today, on Budget Kabuki Day, President Barack Obama twice referred to the level of discretionary spending in his proposed budget for fiscal 2012 as the "lowest share of the economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president."
Eisenhower's message is muscular, stark, and foreboding, and his fears were well-placed. Since the speech, we've seen a massive extension and consolidation of the power of the military industrial complex.
Clearly, the Eisenhower warning we needed to hear even more clearly over these last 50 years is about the nation's insolvency complex. An alert and knowledgeable citizenry, Ike said, should take nothing for granted.
As Dr. King told us, we cannot walk alone. The destiny of all Americans is inextricably bound together. My greatest hope is that the justice movement will be a way for all of us to stand together to "Build the Dream!"