Andrew J. Bacevich is apparently a sane conservative and one thing is for sure: He dislikes imperial foreign policy and wars of choice.
Largely overlooked by most commentators was a second theme that Eisenhower had woven into his text. The essence of this theme was simplicity itself: spending on arms and armies is inherently undesirable. Even when seemingly necessary, it constitutes a misappropriation of scarce resources. By diverting social capital from productive to destructive purposes, war and the preparation for war deplete, rather than enhance, a nation’s strength. And while assertions of military necessity might camouflage the costs entailed, they can never negate them altogether.
I took me until a few years ago to recognize that anyone could seriously think otherwise. There are indeed people who believe that military spending boosts the economy overall. That is safely beyond the reach of my imagination - I had to encounter such people to consider the possibility that they may exist.
The whole idea of military spending = boosting the economy is outrageously illogical. Military spending does at the very best crowd out private consumption and reduces ceteris paribus the supply of qualified labour (especially engineers) for civilian products industries.