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Trump targets The Swamp, echoes Eisenhower on Pentagon and ‘military-industrial complex’

On Monday, President Donald Trump said that top Pentagon leaders promote war to keep defense contractors “happy.”

And the Swamp was not happy about it.

During a White House news conference, President Trump again refuted allegations that in 2018 he called fallen World War I soldiers buried at an American military cemetery in France “losers” and “suckers.”

The Atlantic published a story last week making these charges by using anonymous sources, and the claim has been refuted by sources [3] who were actually there.

But then Trump touched the true “third rail” of American politics. He said what only few have had the guts to say about American foreign policy after WWII.

On Monday, Trump gave the newly-pro-war liberal media the vapors, saying, “I’m not saying the military’s in love with me — the soldiers are, the top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.”

Trump has been markedly different than the Republican mainstream on the issue of war and foreign policy. During the 2016 campaign, he repeatedly assailed the Iraq War.

In South Carolina, referring to President Bush and his cabinet, Trump said [4], “They lied, they said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none and they knew that there were none!”

Trump has also been a vocal opponent [5] of the Vietnam War and the 19-year-long war in Afghanistan.

This kind of talk didn’t go over well with one of CNN‘s “national security” correspondents.

CNN National Security reporter Ryan Browne tweeted, “In an unprecedented public attack by a sitting US president on the leadership of the US military, President Trump has accused US military leaders of seeking to start wars to boost the profits of defense contractors.”

Unprecedented? Seriously?

Has CNN‘s Browne ever heard of President Dwight Eisenhower?

Progressive journalist Glenn Greenwald immediately fired back, “Oh, yes, perish the thought that Pentagon officials are eager to sustain militarism and war for power and profit. Are you in third grade?

“Google someone called ‘Dwight Eisenhower’ and see what he said about this if you think it’s ‘unprecedented.’ CNN is so jingoistic.”

The Federalist‘s Mollie Hemingway also reminded Browne of Ike, tweeting, “You are free to dislike and hysterically respond to any and all criticism of the military industrial complex. You are not free to claim that it’s unprecedented for a president to critique it. AGAIN, here is President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1961.”

Greenwald followed up with a similar tweet, “Here’s a lesser-known part of Eisenhower’s Farewell Address. He had 16 minutes on TV to warn Americans of what he thought they most needed to know, and used it primarily to emphasize the dangers of Pentagon growth, weapons spending, and the threats of Endless War.”

Never-Trump neoconservative and pro-war establishment Republican Bill Kristol wanted Defense Secretary Mark Esper to demand Trump apologize for his remarks.

“Surely @EsperDoD will rebuke Trump for his claim that ‘the top people in the Pentagon…want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy,’ and dare Trump to fire him, or resign.”

CNN‘s Browne then insisted on following up his first dumb tweet with an even dumber one.

“Some folks really ought to read what President Eisenhower actually said in his farewell address,” Browne wrote. “While they are both critical of the military industrial complex, nowhere does Eisenhower actually accuse military leaders of engaging in shooting wars to boost profits for firms.”

Ike’s warning about the military-industrial complex nearly six decades ago was that defense contractors, in cahoots with the U.S. government, would encourage America to be in a permanent state of war to increase corporate profits.

It was very clear what Eisenhower was implying, and it is the same as what President Trump said outright on Monday—no matter how much the Swamp wants to deny it.

This piece originally appeared in ThePoliticalInsider.com [18] and is used by permission.