Ike’s “military-industrial complex” was a bland compromise

Speechwriters who despair that the speech-creation process is too bureaucratic to produce any memorable communication—take heart!

Newly released documents from the National Archives reveal that the most enduring phrase from President Eisenhower, the line in his farewell address warning of the need to be vigilant about the “military-industrial complex,” had been watered down over the course of two years and 21 drafts. And still it had plenty of juice.

The lesson here, apparently: Write a bold first draft!

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