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Ike on Military

November 15, 1990

In response to "Ike's Warning on Military Spending" (letters, Nov. 7):

Among the five letters to The Times, not one mentioned what preceded President Dwight D. Eisenhower's famous quote: "A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction."

President Eisenhower's entire defense strategy was based on the concept of "massive retaliation," which set the principle of "deterrence" for subsequent administrations.

Only as a second thought did Ike warn: "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex." To cite this statement without citing what preceded it takes President Eisenhower's words out of context. To distort a dead man's words and meanings is abhorrent, but unfortunately it is done all too frequently by those who would advance their cause at any cost of the truth.

EDWIN O. LEARNARD

San Diego

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