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Title: MAJOR GENERAL SMEDLEY BUTLER USMC
DOGS OF WAR   DOGS OF WAR
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Status: RULER OF FIVE GALAXIES AND BOSS OF TV REMOTE
Score: 1326
Posts: 1326
From: Canada
Registered: 12/06/2008

(Date Posted:06/14/2009 9:17 PM)
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Major General Smedley Butler USMC

Throughout the years various men of military service have spoken up and spoken out against the actions of the American military. Some men speak up about atrocities that have gone covered up, about discrimination, about deceptions that have been used against the American public, and about actions that have been taken that are contrary to what they view as American principles. Major General Smedley Butler is one of the most outspoken military service men who opposed the actions of the military that he served in.

Marine Smedley Darling Butler is one of the most highly decorated military men from the pre-World War II era. He served from 1898 to 1931 and saw action all over the world.


Butler (second from right) in Veracruz, Mexico - 1914

Butler became a prominent political figure and was one of America’s important leaders of the liberal movement of the 1930s. Butler advocated military isolationism and was against American involvement in World War II. His isolationist views are certainly unpopular today, and in fact are not compatible with the current geopolitical situation. His views, however, developed from 33 years of serving as what he called “a gangster for capitalism.”


Smedley Butler at his 1931 retirement ceremony

Though Butler was not a member of the American Communist Party he did give speeches at Communist Party meetings in the 1930s as well as many speeches for the League Against War and Fascism. When asked about the company he was keeping he noted, “They told me I’d find a nest of communists here. I told them ‘What the hell of it!’”  


Smedley Butler preparing to speak at one of his stops in the 1930s

All told Butler gave over 1,200 speeches in over 700 cities during his speaking tour of the United States.

In 1935 Butler published War is a Racket, which got high praise at the time, as well as strong criticism. The forward by Lowell Thomas spoke of Butler’s “moral as well as physical courage” and noted that “Even his opponents concede that in his stand on public questions, General Butler has been motivated by the same fiery integrity and loyal patriotism which has distinguished his service in countless Marine campaigns.”  

What Butler fought so hard to do was to take the focus off of moral and ideological arguments for war and concentrate on the geopolitical factors that actually motivated war. He tried to raise awareness of what the real motivating factors of war were as well as the consequences of war. He was one of the first Americans to really bring the economic implications of war to the forefront of the public conscience. In War is a Racket Butler “names names” and lays out in wonderfully blunt detail how the American “military machine” was used to the benefit of wealthy American industrialists. He noted how proponents of war typically call on God as a supporter of the cause and how they embellish the mission as one of liberation and the spreading of freedom, but that these people tend to shy away from discussing the economic details of military ventures.

Butler didn’t choose sides when it came to expressing his views on war. Butler could certainly be considered a liberal but he spoke out against the liberal FDR administration and also broke ties with anti-fascist groups when they called for war to defend against fascism. In 1935 he commented to a veterans meeting on the subject of the growing interest in the FDR administration to become involved in the conflicts of Europe that, “The political leaders of this country are for another conflict to cover up their blunders.”

Though most today would agree that his isolationist views would have been harmful had they been followed by the country in regard to American involvement in WWII his views on imperialism and the economic implications of war are still as relevant today as ever.

The following is an excerpt from a speech he gave in 1933:

“War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of 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 masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. 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.

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 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. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

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, 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 benefits 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. 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.”

http://www.fas.org/man/smedley.htm

In a few selected quotes from War is a Racket he writes:

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...

In the World War 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...

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...

...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...

The normal profits of a business concern in the United States are six, eight, ten, and sometimes twelve percent. But war-time profits – ah! that is another matter – twenty, sixty, one hundred, three hundred, and even eighteen hundred per cent – the sky is the limit. All that traffic will bear. Uncle Sam has the money. Let's get it...

Of course, it isn't put that crudely in war time. It is dressed into speeches about patriotism, love of country, and "we must all put our shoulders to the wheel," but the profits jump and leap and skyrocket – and are safely pocketed.

Butler goes on to name American companies that saw huge increases in profits during World War I. Below is a listing of pre-war vs. intra-war profits for American companies that are included in Butler’s analysis as well as some additional companies.

 Company

Average profits in the last pre-war year

 Average profits during the four years of war

U. S. Steel

$105,331,000

$259,653,000

Du Pont

$6,092,000

$58,076,000

Bethlehem Steel

$6,840,000

$49,427,000

Anaconda Copper

$10,649,000

$34,549,000

Utah Copper

$5,776,000

$21,622,000

American Smelting

$11,566,000

$18,602,000

Republic Iron and Steel

$4,177,000

$17,548,000

International Mercantile

$6,690,00

$14,229,000

Atlas Powder

$485,000

$2,374,000

American and British Man.

$172,000

$325,000

Canadian Car & Foundry

$1,335,000

$2,201,000

Crocker Wheeler

$206,000

$666,000

Hercules Powder

$1,271,000

$7,430,000

Niles, Bement Pond

$656,000

$6,146,000

Scovill Mfg. Co.

$655,000

$7,678,000

General Motors

$6,954,000

$21,700,000

It has been estimated by statisticians and economists and researchers that the war cost your Uncle Sam $52,000,000,000. Of this sum, $39,000,000,000 was expended in the actual war itself. This expenditure yielded $16,000,000,000 in profits. That is how the 21,000 billionaires and millionaires got that way. This $16,000,000,000 profits is not to be sneezed at. It is quite a tidy sum. And it went to a very few...

Who provides the profits – these nice little profits of 20, 100, 300, 1,500 and 1,800 per cent? We all pay them – in taxation. We paid the bankers their profits when we bought Liberty Bonds at $100.00 and sold them back at $84 or $86 to the bankers. These bankers collected $100 plus. It was a simple manipulation. The bankers control the security marts. It was easy for them to depress the price of these bonds. Then all of us – the people – got frightened and sold the bonds at $84 or $86. The bankers bought them. Then these same bankers stimulated a boom and government bonds went to par – and above. Then the bankers collected their profits.

But the soldier pays the biggest part of the bill.

If you don't believe this, visit the American cemeteries on the battlefields abroad. Or visit any of the veteran's hospitals in the United States. On a tour of the country, in the midst of which I am at the time of this writing, I have visited eighteen government hospitals for veterans. In them are a total of about 50,000 destroyed men – men who were the pick of the nation eighteen years ago. The very able chief surgeon at the government hospital; at Milwaukee, where there are 3,800 of the living dead, told me that mortality among veterans is three times as great as among those who stayed at home...

Perhaps the following sounds familiar of the current Bush administration as well? Just replace “Germans” with “Iraqis.”

So vicious was this war propaganda that even God was brought into it. With few exceptions our clergymen joined in the clamor to kill, kill, kill. To kill the Germans. God is on our side...it is His will that the Germans be killed.

And in Germany, the good pastors called upon the Germans to kill the allies...to please the same God. That was a part of the general propaganda, built up to make people war conscious and murder conscious.

Beautiful ideals were painted for our boys who were sent out to die. This was the "war to end all wars." This was the "war to make the world safe for democracy." No one mentioned to them, as they marched away, that their going and their dying would mean huge war profits. No one told these American soldiers that they might be shot down by bullets made by their own brothers here. No one told them that the ships on which they were going to cross might be torpedoed by submarines built with United States patents. They were just told it was to be a "glorious adventure."...

Butler proposed that the only way to actually prevent war is take the profits out of war. He proposed several ways to achieve this. What is important to note is that it is possible to take the profitability out of war, but it must be done at an international level. Taking the profitability out of war and out of the weapons industry is really the way that is most likely to be able to achieve some level of global peace. Of course there has never been any effort to do this in America, in fact the opposite is true, and right now the Bush administration is making war even more profitable, only ensuring its proliferation.

The General concludes by proclaiming:

TO HELL WITH WAR!

War is a Racket - Smedley D. Butler

For more on Smedley Butler, and info on the assassination plot against FDR see:

http://home.iprimus.com.au/korob/fdtcards/Butler.html

http://www.starbuilders.org/fft/articles/racket.html

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