This is a great book that I read about US President Eisenhower called, Ike’s Bluff: President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World by Evan Thomas.
It gave me a real insight into what he was able to accomplish as president, and why his military service was so instrumental in his policy and leadership. Some of my favourite quotes from the book attributed to Eisenhower were:
“God help the nation when it has a President who doesn’t know as much about the military as I do.”, when referring to the Military Industrial Complex, lobbyists, and foolish politicians.
Eisenhower had a healthy skepticism about the grandiose schemes of the military. He knew how the top brass used worst-case scenarios to frighten their civilian masters into spending more on unnecessary new weapons systems and pet boondoggles.
In private conversation and in his public remarks, he often warned against what he called “the garrison state.”7 Military necessity would require citizens to give up their cherished freedoms—and, Eisenhower feared, to become automatons of the state. Ike had witnessed the turn toward fascism during the Great Depression.
Eisenhower was, in effect, his own secretary of defense. When Defense Secretary Neil McElroy warned him that further budget cuts would harm national security, Eisenhower acerbically replied, “If you go to any military installation in the world where the American flag is flying and tell the commander that Ike says he’ll give him an extra star for his shoulder if he cuts his budget, there’ll be such a rush to cut costs that you’ll have to get out of the way.”
There are many more, but those were some that stood out to me, especially in regards to the current situation in the US.