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View Full Version : I wish Smedley Butler would come back from the dead



Spartacus
04-22-08, 04:24 PM
and give Petraeus a swift kick in the nuts.

World Traveler
04-22-08, 05:05 PM
A great book written in 1935, by famed, retired Marine Major General, who saw through the propaganda and courageously spoke out after retirement, in a direct, clear way that people can understand.

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Foreword

Excerpt from a speech delivered in 1933 by General Smedley Butler, USMC

War is just a racket. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

I helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

Chapters from his book War is a Racket:

CHAPTER ONE: War Is A Racket
War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

In the World War [WW I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows. [Please note these are 1935 U.S. dollars. To adjust for inflation, multiply all figures X 10 or more]

How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill. And what is this bill?

This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.

For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering [WW2], as they are today, I must face it and speak out.

Again they are choosing sides. France and Russia met and agreed to stand side by side. Italy and Austria hurried to make a similar agreement. Poland and Germany cast sheep's eyes at each other. All of them are looking ahead to war. Not the people – not those who fight and pay and die – only those who foment wars and remain safely at home to profit.

There are 40,000,000 men under arms in the world today, and our statesmen and diplomats have the temerity to say that war is not in the making. Hell's bells! Are these 40,000,000 men being trained to be dancers?
Not in Italy, to be sure. Premier Mussolini knows what they are being trained for. He, at least, is frank enough to speak out. The publication of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said: "And above all, Fascism… believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace…War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the people who have the courage to meet it."
Undoubtedly Mussolini means exactly what he says. His well-trained army, his great fleet of planes, and even his navy are ready for war. His recent stand at the side of Hungary in the latter's dispute with Yugoslavia showed that. And the hurried mobilization of his troops on the Austrian border after the assassination of Dollfuss showed it too. There are others in Europe too whose sabre rattling presages war, sooner or later. Herr Hitler, with his rearming Germany and his constant demands for more and more arms, is an equal if not greater menace to peace.

Yes, all over, nations are camping in their arms. The mad dogs of Europe are on the loose. The trend is to poison us against the Japanese. What does the "open door" policy to China mean to us? Our trade with China is about $90,000,000 a year. Or the Philippine Islands? We have spent about $600,000,000 in the Philippines in thirty-five years and we (our bankers and industrialists and speculators) have private investments there of less than $200,000,000.

Then, to save that China trade of about $90,000,000, or to protect these private investments of less than $200,000,000 in the Philippines, we would be all stirred up to hate Japan and go to war – a war that might well cost us tens of billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives of Americans, and many more hundreds of thousands of physically maimed and mentally unbalanced men.

Of course, for this loss, there would be a compensating profit – fortunes would be made. Millions and billions of dollars would be piled up. By a few. Munitions makers. Bankers. Ship builders. Manufacturers. Meat packers. Speculators. They would fare well. Yes, they are getting ready for another war. Why shouldn't they? It pays high dividends.

But what does it profit the men who are killed? What does it profit their mothers and sisters, their wives and their sweethearts? What does it profit their children? What does it profit anyone except the very few to whom war means huge profits? Yes, and what does it profit the nation?

Take our own case. Until 1898 we didn't own a bit of territory outside the mainland of North America. At that time our national debt was a little more than $1,000,000,000. Then we became "internationally minded." We forgot, or shunted aside, George Washington's warning about "entangling alliances." We went to war. We acquired outside territory. At the end of the World War period, as a direct result of our fiddling in international affairs, our national debt had jumped to over $25,000,000,000.

It would have been far cheaper (not to say safer) for the average American who pays the bills to stay out of foreign entanglements. For a very few this racket, like bootlegging and other underworld rackets, brings fancy profits, but the cost of operations is always transferred to the people – who do not profit.

CHAPTER TWO: Who Makes The Profits?
...
http://www.wanttoknow.info/warisaracket

metalman
04-23-08, 10:35 PM
nothing new under the sun. the trick is to see how the past applies in the present and plan appropriately.

World Traveler
04-24-08, 02:53 AM
Metalman,

Of course you're right. The trick is to learn from the past to avoid the same mistakes in the future. Hopefully, the American public will do so and only allow wars of defense in the future.

Reason I posted exerpts from General Smedley Butler (whom I admire greatly) is because it's so relevant to today's wars and military-industrial complex - the insiders make money and the rest of society pays.

I didn't post this paragraph from his book, but he suggested the best deterence to unnecessary wars and military adventures I've ever seen - No one, no bank, no company is allowed to profit from supplying the war effort... that will be their contribution to the war effort.

WT

Spartacus
04-24-08, 05:00 AM
Apparently someone thinks they should learn from the past, so that they can repeat past mistakes perfectly. ; )

More probably, considering how "incurious" "they" reportedly are, they don't know what the past is.


Metalman,

Of course you're right. The trick is to learn from the past to avoid the same mistakes in the future. Hopefully, the American public will do so and only allow wars of defense in the future.

Reason I posted exerpts from General Smedley Butler (whom I admire greatly) is because it's so relevant to today's wars and military-industrial complex - the insiders make money and the rest of society pays.

I didn't post this paragraph from his book, but he suggested the best deterence to unnecessary wars and military adventures I've ever seen - No one, no bank, no company is allowed to profit from supplying the war effort... that will be their contribution to the war effort.

WT

western
04-24-08, 08:06 AM
nothing new under the sun. the trick is to see how the past applies in the present and plan appropriately.

This possibly is something new under the sun, although it was written just after WW1. Historians are often lulled into a false sense security as to the all of the reasons for military intervention in conflicts. We do not know and nor should we pretend to know what these reasons are just because we read the PR (History) associated with such conflicts. A good dose of fear and ignorance, cooked up with generous portions of patriotism and nationalism seem to be the simple ingredients for most conflicts.

"War is a Racket" is a fine book and should be read by all.

metalman
04-24-08, 09:27 AM
Metalman,

Of course you're right. The trick is to learn from the past to avoid the same mistakes in the future. Hopefully, the American public will do so and only allow wars of defense in the future.

Reason I posted exerpts from General Smedley Butler (whom I admire greatly) is because it's so relevant to today's wars and military-industrial complex - the insiders make money and the rest of society pays.

I didn't post this paragraph from his book, but he suggested the best deterence to unnecessary wars and military adventures I've ever seen - No one, no bank, no company is allowed to profit from supplying the war effort... that will be their contribution to the war effort.

WT

wasn't detracting from your post. thanks for the smedley butler. we need more like him.