Lose the Ike analogy
In his Jan. 23 op-ed, “Ike was right: Cut defense,” David Ignatius gave favorable attention to President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s call to “restrain the ‘military-industrial complex’ ” as a means to trim the defense budget. Mr. Ignatius failed to note that while Eisenhower did hold down military spending, his administration relied on “massive retaliation” by nuclear arms to offset reductions in conventional forces. It relied extensively on the use, or threatened use, of nuclear arms to confront the challenges of that period — mainly the Soviet Union.
Our era is much different, with varied kinds of threats, making simple comparisons between the 1950s and today less relevant to the debate. Analogy should not substitute for analysis.
Thomas H. Henriksen, Stanford, Calif.
The writer is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.