Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dwight Eisenhower: Advocate for the Poor

Veterans Day is always a time where I surf the 'net for quotes from famous military figures and watch YouTube video of generals like Patton and MacArthur and Bradley. We shouldn't, of course, limit our remembrance of these men - and of every man and woman who has ever served in the military - to just this one day and Memorial Day, but the history and significance of November 11 is conducive to this sort of research.

As you've probably noted in my previous few entries, my attention has turned in a significant way towards much more social issues: homelessness, poverty, elections and the public welfare, etc. In looking through some military quotes this evening, I was stunned to find this quote from Dwight Eisenhower that ties those entries in to this Veterans Day: "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

Eisenhower, the commander of Operation Overlord, Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe, and later President, was one I never expected to discuss something as significant as military spending essentially being "a theft" from those who are living without. I, like many, tend to keep him in the military box - talking to the troops the day before the invasion of Normandy, developing the grand strategy for victory in Europe, setting the parameters for the army's involvement in the reconstruction of western Europe. Never did I imagine (partly attributable to a lack of having read enough about him) that he would boil our overwhelming defense spending down to the lowest - but certainly not least sigificant - common denominator.

My respect for him has certainly grown, and while his quote could be taken by some political types as justification for their current calls for a reduction in military spending (some of which has actually been carried out), I think it clearly - and surprisingly - demonstrates a much deeper and plainspoken concern for the poor in this country than I ever expected.

4 comments:

Ed G. said...

thank you for sharing this today. peace to you!

Kansas Bob said...

What else would you expect from a guy from Kansas :)

His presidential museum in Abilene KS is a very impressive one built on the grounds of his boyhood home. Make sure you stop by and see me on your way to see it Matt :)

Dad said...

In speaking of poverty and the poor, Eisenhower also said "I have found out in later years that my family was very poor, but the glory of America is that we didn't know it."

Good post!

rdl said...

love the quote an i hope you'e right cause it seems like there's still a great divide between the uber rich and poor.