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As General Smedley D. Butler Said: War Is A Racket

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There is one great voice that does not turn up in our sanitized and cleansed textbooks and his message was a condemnation of the callousness of the blood barters and his voice was one that spoke from experience. He is the highly decorated (two medals of honor) former USMC General Smedley Darlington Butler. General Butler was one of the earliest critics of American intervention and the plundering of foreign countries for the benefit of Wall Street looters who were all too glad to trade lives for profit. Butler wrote the scathing War Is A Racket that was a no-holds barred indictment of the early military-industrial complex. Butler told it like it was, not a convenient thing for the revisionist historians who write the textbooks to indoctrinate the good little Americans in the religion of the always great, always righteous and blessed land of plenty.

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. 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. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902–1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on 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 that he could do was operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

Those were the good ole days when the wetwork of building the empire was primarily done by the use of the U.S. military rather than the CIA, the economic hitmen and mercenary armies like Blackwater. Butler’s scathing tract entitled War Is A Racket is an indictment of all of those who traffic in the blood of the young in the pursuit of accumulating wealth through waging war and selling arms. War Is A Racket was a pre-Eisenhower statement on the dangers of the unchecked military industrial complex that have now come home to roost resulting in tyranny and global suffering despite those who sought to warn us.

From 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 the only one 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 [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.

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 parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? 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, as they are today, I must face it and speak out.

Butler also figured prominently with a planned coup d'état against Franklin Delano Roosevelt by prominent Wall Street investment bankers and influential corporatists that has largely been scrubbed from our national history. The Business Plot as it is known was an attempt to beat back FDR when it became apparent much to the horror of the blood barters and the moneychangers that the hated New Deal was bad news for business as usual. I can only imagine the sound of puckering a**holes in boardrooms, yacht clubs and country clubs when Roosevelt went on the attack against the greedmongers in his inaugural speech:

Primarily this is because rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have failed through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and have abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men. True they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence....The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.

The country was in tatters as a result of the Republican Great Depression and strong leadership was essential to beat back the wolves and imbue the common man with a long forsaken dignity. An argument that I often hear from conservatives is that FDR was a dictator and while he was able to amass great power he unlike the current occupants of the White House used it to help normal Americans, reign in the oligarchs and bring about the end to the economic disaster through the implementing of the New Deal and the WPA as well as regulations that have since been overturned by the treasonous looters who have seized control of the system and whose continuing hatred for Roosevelt drive their every move as they seek to dismantle the social safety net. Gasbag pundit Rush Limbaugh (our modern day Father Couglin) has said “Roosevelt is dead, his programs live on but we are in the process of doing something about that as well” and the neocons along with their fascist packed court system are going to be raping and pillaging the land on behalf of the greed mongers and blood barters for at least a generation barring any sort of intervention by a reinvigorated public or a bought and sold congress.

The business plotters attempted to recruit Butler to lead their march on Washington due to his great popularity with veterans for his speech to the Bonus Army during their 1932 protest. The demonstration was broken up through the domestic use of military forces led by George S. Patton and Douglas MacArthur that was in clear violation of the Posse Comitatus Act which should be especially relevant today with the rise of the Bush-Cheney neocon junta. The renegade occupying force in Washington has established a domestic military force with Northcom and tasked it with defending The Homeland in the event of an ‘emergency’ of which the definitions are intentionally vague to facilitate the rogue government when it deems that a declaration of martial law is necessary in order to protect the illegitimate administration that currently has a stranglehold on state power.

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Donn Marten is a free lance writer and consultant who resides in West Central Florida.

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