By John Vibes
Obama plans to give a speech about the NSA on January 17th, the anniversary of Eisenhower’s warning about the “Military industrial complex” and a “scientific-technological elite”
WASHINGTON (INTELLIHUB) — On January 17th, 1961 president Eisenhower gave a famous speech before leaving office, in which he warned of the “Military industrial complex” and a “scientific-technological elite”.
Now, exactly 53 years later, Obama is planning to give a highly anticipated and long overdue response to the NSA scandal of the past year, on the same date, January 17th.
As with most speeches that politicians make, Obama’s response to the scandal will be filled with lies and empty promises, but the fact that this lands on the same date as Eisenhower’s warning gives us a good opportunity to point out that the NSA scandal proves that this warning did in fact come true.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the warning, the full speech can be viewed in the video above, and the most revealing portion is quoted below:
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.
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; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the 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.