Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Marine Commandant, Major General, Smedley Butler: "War Is A Racket"

In his lifetime, General Butler was the most highly decorated Marine ever.


Smedley Butler on Interventionism

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

“War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope…. [and] the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described 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. 

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…. I must face it and speak out.

There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its ‘finger men’ (to point out enemies), its ‘muscle men’ (to destroy enemies), its ‘brain men’ (to plan war preparations), and a “Big Boss” (super-nationalistic capitalism). 

It may seem odd for a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to.
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. 

I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. 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. I helped make Honduras “right” for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927, I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested….

I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket…. I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was operate his racket in three city districts. We Marines operated on three continents…. 

Our exploits against the American Indian, the Filipinos, the Mexicans, and against Spain are on a par with the campaigns of Genghis Khan, the Japanese in Manchuria and the African attack of Mussolini.

No country has ever declared war on us before we first obliged them with that gesture. Our whole history shows we have never fought a defensive war.” 

The entire text of "War is a Racket" is freely available at
Smedley Butler's Wikipedia page -

In his lifetime, Major General Butler was the most decorated Marine ever. 
In retirement, General Butler, a life-long Republican, ran for a Pennsylvania Senate seat.

Military Cancer (Video)
The above video's ideological tone does not appeal to me.
That said, I find very little misrepresentation of fact.

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