Twice-decorated US Army General says,
April 25, 2003 6:32 AM   Subscribe

Twice-decorated US Marines General says, "War Is Just A Racket" Relax. It's an excerpt from a speech delivered in 1933, by Major General Smedley Butler, USMC. A fascinating maverick.
posted by theplayethic (9 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: previously

"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."

It's OK. It's better these days.
posted by theplayethic at 6:36 AM on April 25, 2003

An original fold_and_mutilate post double post--now there's something you don't see every day.
posted by y2karl at 6:42 AM on April 25, 2003

OK Ok, not exactly--but I knew I'd seen those words here before.

Whho hoo, but the comments there--

civilian deaths from U.S. bombing in Afghanistan surpassed 3,700

This is the new Godwin's Law. More rose-colored, cumbaya lamentations on a world that does not exist (except in the drug addled minds of a graying generation). War is bad. No shit. So is 3,000+ dead people. You go pass your olive branch to Uncle Osama or Arafat and gauge their well-reasoned response.
posted by owillis at 8:11 PM PST on July 17

...And the national interest of having access to oil is by no means the same thing as sacrificing our national interest for the monetary interest of oil corporations. That national interest would remain if we were flat-out, hard-left, yowza-Red communist.
posted by dhartung at 10:51 PM PST on July 17

All that and Roger Rabbit, too. Same as it ever was.
posted by y2karl at 6:52 AM on April 25, 2003

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 - 1969), From a speech before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1963

On the contrary, the soldier above all other people pray for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: Only the dead have seen the end of war.

Douglas MacArthur.

Straight from the source.
posted by jonmc at 6:53 AM on April 25, 2003

"I don't believe it.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 7:05 AM on April 25, 2003

This is what got me about Roger Ebert's comment form fold_and_Mutilate's post yesterday--I begin to feel like I was in the last generation of Americans who took a civics class.

As if you'd ever hear this stuff in a civics class.

I had a civics teacher in high school was one of these RIF'ed bird colonels--a septuagenarian whose favorite subject was the evil communist threat of Rev. Martin Luther King--he made the black kids--well, they were still negroes then--get up and mumble something about how terrible King was for the Negro race, all this done just for his own satisfaction... or else.

God, high school--no one forced you kids to go to hour long Federation of Christian Athletes assemblies--on school time--and listen to various jocks witnessing for Christ and have to sing Old McDonald Had A Farm, complete with humiliating acting out parts which you had to do... or else.
posted by y2karl at 7:09 AM on April 25, 2003

goddam. put keywords in search engine for ages. nothin came up. what to do? only have so much time. (is this a metatalk thang?)

Anyway, multo grazie for the McArthur and Eisenhower quotes. E's Miltary-industrial complex speech at the beginning of Stone's JFK still my favorite creepy bit of news footage ever. Anybody got a link for a download?
posted by theplayethic at 7:22 AM on April 25, 2003

I've also seen that speech featured at G2mil:The Magazine of Future Warfare--there's a military maverick or two in every generation.
posted by y2karl at 7:46 AM on April 25, 2003

A little bit on Smedley Butler:

Firstly, and most importantly, HE WAS A FUCKING MARINE, not some run of the mill soldier. Get that straight, you dumbass....

I'm just playing...your title post says "US Army General".

"Twice-decorated" does not mean two medals.

IT MEANS TWO FUCKING MEDALS OF HONOR. You know, with the star, and the blue sash...that the majority of winners get posthumously. That's some pretty important shit, considering only one other Marine has done it from the USMC...good ole' Dan Daly. DD was enlisted, SB was an officer.

Marine officers idolize these guys. They were badasses, and EARNED those MOHs.

Read this.

With only 100 men, Butler led an attack on a rebel stronghold called Fort Riviere. It as reputed to be impregnable, but Butler had it destroyed in one afternoon. He was the 3rd.person to enter the fortress, and with these two other Marines held off the rebels in violent hand to hand combat until help arrived.
posted by taumeson at 7:48 AM on April 25, 2003

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