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Reading "War Is A Racket" converted me... Use it on others

The day I read this speech on my brothers blog my entire world view changed. I was almost sick.

I was an "I like RP except for foreign policy" guy at the time ('09 or '10). I had been aware of the arguments for Ron's foreign policy, as my brother was a supporter, but I still found a way to justify the wars and rationalize my decision to join the Army in 2008.

Reading this though brought to light what my brother was telling me. The fact that this prestigious General said this in 1933 is what really got to me.

Being a somewhat recent convert from a 'patriotic' neocon to a real patriot, I would like to suggest passing this on anyone you know who has the same mindset now that I had then. I hear lots of arguments to support Ron's foreign policy and I can see why they don't work, because for the longest time they didn't work on me.

Perhaps we could give this speech publicity at the up coming Veterans For RP Rally or make pamphlets or something to hand out. Being that it was what put me 'over the edge,' I think it would be prudent to use it to support a "Foreign Policy of Peace".

A link to the speech...

Written by Two-Time Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient,
Major General Smedley D. Butler
USMC, Retired

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.

Continue reading...

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docrife's picture

Semper Fi

I read this book about 5 years ago and have been encouraging others to as well. I served 20 years in the military and this book is an easy way to wake enlisted members up by hearing from one of their own!

Excellent work isn't it?

"War is a Racket" has had a tremendous impact on many. I just wish the military would give a copy of it to each potential recruit the day before they sign up...especially the "semper fi" types.

It's not likely you'll have many positive comments from modern "vets" or soldiers about this one. They still think they're fighting for "our freedoms".

docrife's picture

Don't give up on vets...

I spent 20 years in the military doing the bidding of corrupt politicians believing it was freedom I was fighting for. I woke up about 5 years ago and tell everyone I know that we have been lied to. It's hard for some after sacrificing so much to believe this truth. I find that after converting vets to the truth they are enthusiastic speakers for truth!

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


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.

Live Free Or Die

A true hero

GEE,I wonder why we don't read about him in school?

Jim Rogers

General Smedley Butler's

"War is a Racket" is the most powerful and convincing argument against the industrialist military complex that school children will never get to read.

Wouldn't it be something to slip copies of Butler's "War is a Racket" inside all the recruiters pamphlets displayed at high schools an colleges?

Maybe throw in a fact sheet about the Pentagons' study of the sexual harassment of 1 of every 3 females in the service, increased suicide rates, PTSD, and the 13% unemployment among returning vets.

Conscience does not exist if not exercised

"No matter how cynical you get, it's impossible to keep up!
---Lily Tomlin

Given your username I would

Given your username I would like you to read this.


"War is a Racket" - Maj. General Smedley Butler


This is a very populistic Rich vs Poor propaganda

Though there is some truth in that, a solder in a trench should not complain about a millionaire if without big business, no food would be delivered to that same trench, no new weapon would be provided (sure, one can dream about pop & mom store providing supply lines.) The rhetoric may play well for those who harbor rich envy resentment and are eager to accept class war mentality (like socialists, OWS or anti-Semites.) The better approach is to understand that wars are health of a STATE - POWER and diversion from internal problems. Thus Fascist Germany and socialist USSR produced few or zero millionaires during their military adventures.... We can b-itch about bankers, but in corporatism, tyranny of the state has always the upper hand.

You miss the Butler's point about millionires.

He's not railing against the rich in general. He's talking about corporatism, where the government is in cahoots with certain rich industrialists who promote war for their profit. Big difference.

Conscience does not exist if not exercised

"No matter how cynical you get, it's impossible to keep up!
---Lily Tomlin

Unless you get single party tyranny

(fascist Italy, Germany or socialist USSR, China), elections must be accommodated for. A symbiotic relationship between government and monopolies must be extended to incorporate special interests, trade unions, Iowa farmers, people on gov assistance etc. MIRROR, lets look in the mirror! Who are the trade unions? - teachers, policemen, firefighters, FEMA, FBI, prison guards, utility workers, government clerks, etc... The government becomes a mere reflection of the majority they buy with free stuff, perks and hand outs.

I see that part and I agree.

I see that part and I agree. I guess I just didn't see the populist propaganda 'poor vs rich' thing. Although that would make sense in that part of the century.

"War is a Racket" - Maj. General Smedley Butler


Johnny Got his Gun by Dalton Trumbo

came out during the same period around 1938. It compliments with Butler's essay with the message of the ordinary man fighting and dying for special interests. So yeah, perhaps a bit of the "have and have not's" could color Butler's essay, but with the crash of the stock market is understandable.

But to read in to it that Butler was encouraging socialism is ludicrous.

Conscience does not exist if not exercised

"No matter how cynical you get, it's impossible to keep up!
---Lily Tomlin

I not sure how you came to

I not sure how you came to that conclusion. Did you read the whole thing?

"War is a Racket" - Maj. General Smedley Butler


From the trenches...

war is horrible. The only way to stop it is to focus on guilty ones, the ones who steal the votes. And, to deal with them appropriately on time. Because, if you don't, cost is much higher. War also serves them to move attention from their crimes, and to keep the stolen property.

My Moment Of Enlightenment

I went from neo-con to libertarian when I watched the following debate between Ron Paul and prominent neo-conservative Dinesh D'souza:


Especially where Ron Paul talks about Robert Pape's book and explains the logic behind suicide terrorism. In fact I memorized what he said about that book and repeated it to whoever would listen. My worldview at the time was that the Muslims were just crazy and irrational and it was all because of their religion. I never heard of any alternative explanation that made what the suicide bombers were doing actually logical, like something I or any other normal person would do if we were in their shoes.

"I hate government as much as government hates freedom, and that's a lot." - Mike Malin

Check out my PowerPoint: http://www.slideshare.net/anarcholibertarian/why-do-they-hat...

And my Ron Paul vs. Lincoln video:


Good segment, but the video

Good segment, but the video is not at normal speed at least for the segment with Dr. Paul. The video has been sped up like playing a 33 rpm record at 45 rpm. Aside from being hard to follow when it is so fast, the accelerated play speed tends to shift Dr. Paul's voice one level toward sounding like the chipmonks. Is there a better clip that plays at normal speed?

Let it not be said that we did nothing.-Ron Paul
Stand up for what you believe in, even if you stand alone.-Sophia Magdalena Scholl

Wow great video. Why cant he

Wow great video. Why cant he repeat this in the current debates I wonder?

"War is a Racket" - Maj. General Smedley Butler


To stop war...according to this article...

1. all generals and all admirals and all officers and all politicians and all government office holders – everyone in the nation be restricted to a total monthly income not to exceed that paid to the soldier in the trenches!
2. Only those who must suffer should have the right to vote to go to War.
3. to make certain that our military forces are truly forces for defense only.

And how about..

Another good way could be showing people Ahmadinejad never said "Israel must be wiped off the map", yet the media keep claiming that to this day. (it's even on wikipedia, google 'rumor of the century')

Dunno how it works.. haven't really tried it on anyone.

http://j.mp/whyPaul <= my RonPaul-promotion site / on twitter: @m_x_t_u
thread : http://www.dailypaul.com/218966/a-little-why-you-should-vote...

I have been

Reading Healing our World In an Age of Aggression again for the third time. Awesome reading.



Big bump

I have a link to this General Smedley Butler's speech on the front page of my website -- lots of people click on it.
There is also this great video version:
Please send the link to others.

LL on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LibertyPoet
sometimes LL can suck & sometimes LL rocks!
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

A great


Prepare & Share the Message of Freedom through Positive-Peaceful-Activism.

I'm using it on a Romney supporter now on FB. Pray it works.


Let me know how it goes...

Let me know how it goes... should be a good case study.

"War is a Racket" - Maj. General Smedley Butler


Can any one pass this idea to

Can any one pass this idea to Adam Kokesh or whoever is running the rally?

"War is a Racket" - Maj. General Smedley Butler


I like that

so, bump!

What is begun in anger, ends in shame.