Today marks the 25th anniversary of our national Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, honoring perhaps the greatest advocate for peace in the last century. It's also the 50th anniversary of the President Eisenhower's speech about the rise of the military-industrial complex. President Eisenhower used his farewell address to warn America:
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.
As his granddaughter Susan Eisenhower notes in the Washington Post, Mr. Eisenhower's closing argument is the bookend to his opening one, in 1953, about the chance for peace. He took office at a time when fear of atomic war with the Soviet Union defined our politics. His question from the Chance for Peace" speech then remains as fundamental now:
This is one of those times in the affairs of nations when the gravest choices must be made, if there is to be a turning toward a just and lasting peace. It is a moment that calls upon the governments of the world to speak their intentions with simplicity and with honesty. It calls upon them to answer the questions that stirs the hearts of all sane men: is there no other way the world may live?
Read up before the show tonight. We're going for 11 on the Smart-o-meter. We'll see you at 9 PM Eastern.