By Jeff Schechtman
November 13, 2015
(Continued From Part Three of Jeff Schechtman's Interview with Professor Michael Glennon)
"Not to make this political but in a general sense as you look at this, are we better off as a nation electing presidents who understand this double government, who understand the system and who are walking into something that they know, as opposed to those who are more naive about it?"
"I'm not sure it makes much difference, and the reason is -- and I hate to sound so pessimistic -- that I don't know that there is a whole lot that any president can do about it.
I'm not sure that for national security double government purposes it makes a whole lot of difference whether the next president is Hillary Clinton or name the Republican.
Yes, at the margins, the choices will be different, but the momentum that is created by this structure is so great that it would require an extraordinarily unusual and highly improbable confluence of events to lead to the election of a president.
You can hypothesize, look in the past....Maybe somebody like say, for example, a Bobby Kennedy, who was tremendously popular with the public, who understood the national security bureaucracy from the inside out, who was tough-minded, who would not take no for an answer, who would stand up to the managerial network, maybe somebody like that who could grab these institutions by the lapels and tell them 'look, this is what you're going to do,' maybe somebody like that could turn things around.
It would be a very difficult task.
You wouldn't have Congress or the courts behind him and the public is fearful that these institutions are protecting them and fearful of taking their power away.
The ultimate answer is that in a democracy, people get the quality of government that they deserve and they've got to pick a leader who is able to stand up to it, and I don't see any evidence that they're prepared to do that."
"When Eisenhower talked about the military-industrial complex, is this what he was talking about?"
"Yes, but it's evolved since then.
Eisenhower gave this incredibly important speech - his farewell address - which was overshadowed by the euphoria of John F. Kennedy's inaugural address.
Eisenhower gave this speech you refer to only a few days before Kennedy's inauguration, and so it's been largely forgotten.
But Eisenhower very precisely warned of the emergence of a military-industrial complex.
He suggested a serious threat to democracy and Eisenhower, as I say, having been in a position to know having spent his life in the military, since he graduated from West Point, presided over all this.
As President he knew better than anybody what the risk was that the nation was confronting, and that risk, I must say, if anything, has expanded since January 1961 when Eisenhower gave that speech
Because the agencies in the intelligence and law enforcement community now operate with far less accountability, and the manpower and payrolls are far, far beyond anything Eisenhower could have imagined, so his warning, of course, was not taken seriously."
Professor Michael Glennon's book is "National Security and Double Government"
To hear the podcast of Jeff Schechtman's interview with Profesor Michael Glennon or to read the complete transcript, go to: