In his farewell address at the end of his presidency, Dwight D. Eisenhower famously (and insightfully) said the following:
…We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions…we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. 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.
Less well-known are the remarks of another Republican politician and military official, with many years of experience as a Department of Defense and Washington insider. These are the remarks of Colin Powell in a 2007 interview with GQ:
What is the greatest threat facing us now? People will say it’s terrorism. But are there any terrorists in the world who can change the American way of life or our political system? No. … The only thing that can really destroy us is us. We shouldn’t do it to ourselves, and we shouldn’t use fear for political purposes—scaring people to death so they will vote for you, or scaring people to death so that we create a terror-industrial complex.
Subsequently, in clarifying his remarks, Powell said
We’re spending an enormous amount of money on homeland security, and I think we should spend whatever it takes. But I think we have to be careful that we don’t get so caught up in trying to throw money at the terrorist and counter-terrorist problem that we’re essentially creating an industry that will only exist as long as you keep the terrorist threat pumped up. … Let’s make sure that we are spending money on the right things and not spending money just to spend money.
The text speaks for itself, as they say.