Nation: What Is the Military-Industrial Complex?

The military-industrial complex is at once more and less than the name implies. As a catch phrase, it may be on its way to surpassing in notoriety "merchants of death," the term that grew out of Senator Gerald Nye's investigation of the arms industry in 1934. But the complex is not a well-organized, centrally directed entity. It is a vast, amorphous conglomeration that goes far beyond the Pentagon and the large manufacturers of weapons. It includes legislators who benefit politically from job-generating military activity in their constituencies, workers in defense plants, the unions...

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