From President Eisenhower’s “Chance for Peace” speech of 1953, also known as the “Cross of Iron” speech:
[…]Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone.
It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.
It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.
It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.
We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat.
We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.
This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.
This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. […]
This speech should not be confused with this equally topical excerpt from his “Farewell Address” of 1961 invoking another of his famous coinages:
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence-economic, political, even spiritual–is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
In the spirit of Ike, this Coupture piece is made from steel-cased cartridges manufactured in the countries that inspired the military industrial compounding we continue to suffer under today.
7.62x54R (Czech, surplus): a the “Russian” round used from the Tsarist days through into the present, only made in Eastern Bloc countries
7.62×39 (Russian, commercial): the “Soviet” round, also manufactured in States
.223/5.56 (Russian, commercial): the “all-American”/NATO caliber; the Russians undercut U.S. .223 manufacturing with a cheaper steel-cased version. It’s rarer at recyclers, perhaps because of economic nationalism, or possibly because it is less forgiving than brass.
The points of the cross are red and blue glass, but so charred as to be black, except in certain lights. The white of the red white and blue (incidentally probably the most popular Western flag colors, and Russia’s too) may be spalled, but beneath those flaws is clear.