I believe Joan Kroc is sincere in stating her opinions concerning the U.S. defense business, but her position is emotional and unrealistic. I am proud to be a member of the defense establishment.
The alternative to a strong defense is the loss of our national way of life. It is this very freedom in our society that allowed Ray Kroc to create an innovative hamburger stand, that allowed millions of people to choose his superior-quality product, and that allowed the Kroc family to retain the monetary rewards that flowed from his better idea. I firmly believe that without the ability to defend our way of life, America would be reduced to a finite pot of human and natural resources to be used as a support for less-efficient, caste-based societies.
Joan Kroc’s criticism of the defense industry is subtle and plays on human emotions and unrealistic sentiments. Even with its expensive coffee pots, toilet seats and ashtrays, the U.S. defense industry is more efficient than other national system’s. The U.S. defense industry consists of a basic core of armament producers organized into a system that minimizes the financial drain on American society while providing sufficient defenses to discourage attack.
In the Soviet Union, defense spending drives the economy. However, the economy in the United States directs industrual resources toward the consumer, and only in times of war are industrial capabilities converted to large-scale armaments production. When compared to alternative ways of maintaining a defense industry, I believe the U.S. military-industrial complex should be held up as a model system for all the world to copy.
In a truly innovative manner, the United States has evolved a structure for its defense industry that, like much of American society, is based on the principles of market demand and industrial supply driven by the profit motive. The U.S. defense industry is no less innovative or uniquely American than the fast-food hamburger business.
Joan Kroc should consider how well the existing defense industry fits the needs of American society. If she knows of a better system that exists in the world today, she should advertise it in full-page ads in major newspapers. If she can imagine a better system, she should desribe her ideas in a campaign advocating change. If, however, she is only voicing the emotional view that defenses should be reduced because war is bad, she should contemplate the effect on her life, had her late husband been a Soviet citizen with an idea for mass producing a basic Russian consumer product.
The historical fact is that war and conflict and survival of the strongest are part of human nature. Many facets of human nature are unpleasant and hopefully evolution will eventually eliminate these undesirable traits. But for the forseeable future, the only way to guarantee the freedom of American life is through defense.
DR. ANTHONY P. TRIPPE