FOREWARD: In addition to Mr. Moore's excellent commentary, The Federal Observer has chosen to post the highlites of the General's commentary as a foreword to the author's column.
Moore: War is just a racket, said a General in 1933
By Jim Moore
~ Foreword ~
Smedley Butler on Interventionism
Excerpt from a speech delivered in 1933, by Major General Smedley Butler, USMC.
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 (where have I heard that name before?). 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.
Major General Smedley Butler, USMC
Some things that were said by authoritative people years ago are so germane to events transpiring today that they bear rethinking and much quoting before we go down any further on the war road.
Here are the opinions about war expressed by two generals who are surely not unacquainted with the blood and guts of the subject.
During the Civil War, General Sherman looked at the battlefield and said, "War is Hell!" Only a stone-hearted person would dispute that.
A half century later, in the relatively calm year of 1933, retired Major General Smedley Butler, USMC, made a speech in which he said something else about war : "War is a racket."
In my view, both opinions should get equal time, given the dangerous situation America finds itself in today.
A critique of General Butler's speech by David J. Smith of Newswatch was printed in a recent issue of the magazine, and I offer the gist of it here for your consideration, because General Butler's words could just as well have been spoken today.
"War is just a racket," said Butler, "A racket is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It's conducted for the benefit for the very few, at the expense of the masses.
"I believe in adequate defense of our coastlines 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% over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100%. Then the flag follows the dollar, and the soldiers follow the flag.
: "I wouldn't go to war again to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes; the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket."
General Butler knew well of what he spoke. He spent 34 years in the Marine Corp, and says he spent most of that time being a high-class "muscleman" for Big Business, Wall Street and the bankers.
In essence, a racketeer; a gangster for capitalism.
In a candid appraisal of his long career going back to 1916, Gen. Butler says he helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests. Helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for National City Bank. Helped rape a half dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. Helped "purify" Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers. Brought "light" to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests. And in China, saw that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
And there it is, the testimony of a high ranking Marine officer on how he was personally instrumental in disrupting the functions of foreign governments to solidify American banking interests and pave the way for corporate profits.
And that was 70 years ago!
So the questions that go begging are these: Has America changed all that much since then? Human nature being what it is, and opportunists being what they are, is the reason for war still motivated by profit, greed and control, as it was back then? Is the same "patriotic" deception still being foisted on the public? In short, is it true that war is still as much a racket today as it was in 1933?
The answer is, yes, and probably more so.
One needs only to think about the questions and answers that writer Smith reveals in his article: Did Iraq actually attack our borders with their military? No! Iraq did nothing but harbor Saddam Hussein---hardly a reason to call out the entire army and navy Did the U.S. work with the Security Council of the UN toward a diplomatic solution? No! Have we ever found in Iraq what we allegedly attacked the nation for - weapons of mass destruction? No!
The fact is, Bush never allowed enough time for inspectors to search for weapons of mass destruction. It was suspiciously evident from the beginning that this search for WMD's was a sham, and Bush's seemingly delayed action before attacking was a charade that could not go on any longer. Why? Because it would disrupt the time frame of the Iraq war, the prelude to a PLANNED takeover of the MiddleEast.
Yes, I said planned, because that's what it is, a Plan.
In 1997, according to the investigative work done by Davis, 40 men sat down to work out a program whereby the United States would control the Middle East oil supply for the 21st century. The plan included war against Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and North Korea.
The plan also called for U.S. forces to occupy these nations from 10 to 20 years to secure pemanent control of the oil, and guarantee "stable" governments that will presumable work with the U.S.
Just like General Butler said in 1933, the military is a high-class muscleman for Big Business, Wall Street, and the bankers. Would the public ever believe that our military is being used to enforce big businesses' illegal claim over a foreign country's assets? Never in a million years!
Would the public ever believe that their president would use his office to elicit from foreign takeovers profits for himself and his business partners? Not OUR president!.
You don't have to believe that war is a racket, if you don't want to. And I might not blame you if you don't. Because, heaven forbid, you haven't seen or heard even a hint of this in the mainstream media. But it will be interesting to see which Middle East country we go to war with next.
Place your bets!
"Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."
About the Author
Jim Moore is a free-lance political writer and is a regular columnist for Ether Zone. A list of works by Jim Moore can be seen at the American Reformation Project website.
Published in the May 5, 2003 issue of Ether Zone. Copyright © 1997 - 2003 Ether Zone.