Not so, as Michael Swanson shows in a new book, The War State. Swanson points out that America’s warfare state didn’t come into existence until more than 150 years after the country’s inception. More important, he shows how the warfare state has not only altered our constitutional order in fundamental ways but also how it continues to pose a grave threat to the freedom and well-being of the American people.
Swanson begins by reminding people of the warning issued by Dwight Eisenhower in his Farewell Address in 1960. Eisenhower, a retired general who had served as the Allied commander in World War II, warned Americans of the dangers of the new massive “military-industrial complex” that had come to characterize American life:
Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry…. 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 alone more than the net income of all United States corporations.