Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: War Is A Racket: General Smedley Butler - United States Marine Corps ...

19 March 2006

War Is A Racket: General Smedley Butler - United States Marine Corps ...

Pictured above is the late, Major General Smedley Darlington Butler of the United States Marine Corps, a double recipient of the coverted Congressional Medal of Honor.

As startling as it may seem to those whose history lessons have hidden him from them, in 1935 this true American patriot proved for the umpteenth time how perfectly patriotic he really was, in many more ways than one, when he lay it on the line what he'd learned in over 33 years US military service:

" War is just a racket."

But while it's now some 71 years since Smedley Butler spilled the beans on something surely now so self evident -- sadly, some still can't [or won't] accept what Smedley strove so sterlingly, and in all sincerity, to show them.

Such as:
"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."

Witness what else he said, and wonder as we two do, why in the world it's not yet as plain to see as the General's super-plain speaking should have assured it should be.
In spite of Iraq - plus perhaps Iran - and possibly Syria - and maybe North Korea - and Venezuela - or Cuba - and/or ... ?

We could carry on. But we won't. So read on.

"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."

Then the General went on:

"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."

And he added:

"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."

Learned anything yet that your history teacher didn't tell you? Though to be fair, their own may not have told them -- nor, in all honesty, ever even have known. Such is the stateside system, education-wise.

Well, now you can learn lots more, by reading General Butler's revealingly relevant speech in it's entirety, right here.

Then please pay this brave, honest and true US military patriot a fitting tribute by paying a visit to THE SMEDLEY BUTLER SOCIETY.


Blogger Natalia said...

You know, some of this sounds a bit like my grandfather. He was general in the Soviet army. WWII hero and all. One of the most complicated thinkers on war that I've ever known, and you'd think that from his side of things it wouldn't have been complicated at all... And a Major General too, come to think of it!

I've never heard of Smedley before, but it makes me feel better that there are more complex military men that were out there.

Eternal peace to them.

Ok, now I'm going to go sob in a hanky because I miss Granddad. See what you've done?!

2:37 am  
Blogger Natalia said...

Oh! Oh! I also wrote a short story dedicated to Granddad on ze blog. "Glory to the Victors." It's a bit long, but if you're ever at the computer screen, with a cup of coffee, and have time to waste, I welcome you to read it. It's not very political though, except when I attempted to engage the Reaganite view of "The Evil Empire."

2:39 am  
Blogger Gert said...

Good find Richard... I might link to this to see if I get some reaction from the "gung 'ho, let's bomb Iran crowd..."

4:03 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

natalia, that's really amazing, and very interesting. Sorry to bring back memories & upset you, but on the other hand I'm glad could help put granddad back in your thoughts. And you can add my Amen, to 'Eternal peace to them'.
On the 'story' topic, I'll be sure to drop in to look, soon.

gert, I've known about Smedley Butler for a few years now but there are sooo many topics I have in mind to 'cover' and never get to, because something else always seems to 'come up'. It usually takes some kind of 'trigger' to remind me of 'filed' ideas.

I wonder how many [totaly wrong] cries/comments of 'coward' and/or 'traitor' we'll hear ?

9:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Notwithstanding the absolute truth of his words, I have to say, that guy's name makes me chuckle.

"Smedley Darlington Butler." It's like something out of a Columbia Studios short in the 30s and 40s -- "Mahatma Kane Jeeves," WC Fields' pseudonym, for example.

Ok. Serious face on now, because I think he is absolutely right -- and so few people realize it.

In fact, I was slightly stunned recently to read a post by Justin Raimondo at about a conference he attended in Indonesia (Malaysia, I think). He was very proud because the conference was sponsored ONLY by corporations, and there was no government money involved. (Justin is a Murray Rothbard "War is the Health of the State" devotee and libertarian.)

Blip! Justin glosses right over the corporate-government connection. Government regulation is bad, bad, bad, and Justin doesn't want to see any governments involved in the conference, as if everyday government handouts of land, infrastructure, taxpayer-funded grants, and technology transfer (not to mention military actions) don't confer advantages on corporations that they would simply never be able to gain on their own.

But that is absolutely AOK and under Justin's radar, apparently.

From here, it looks like libertarianism is a bit of a racket as well.

10:42 pm  
Anonymous soph said...

Thanks a bundle for this one, Richard. I'd heard the saying before but had forgoten the guy's name. I hadn't heard the rest of that speech either, and didn't know much at all about the man.

He's now on of my heroes. Where are his like when we need them?

12:03 am  
Anonymous me said...

That's cool Natalia.

gert, it is a good find.

anon, Sounds like Raimondo's a rat. Sorry about the alliteration rip off, Richard ;-}

soph, for all we know there could be plenty like him. MSM won't let us know, no more than them teachers you spoke of would let the kids hear about Gen Butler.

1:30 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More proof that what many have said for years. Pols of all stripes put big coporations and their bosses and their lobbyists BEFORE their voters.

Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee may sound trite at first, but it REALLY has gotten to be that way. So what's for voters to do? More important - who amongst Dems can (or will) LEAD the people towards change? NOT Hilary - that's for sure.

11:44 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny- I learned about his post-retirement stance a bit ago too. It made me laugh, because Marine Corps recruits are taught his name in boot camp. So, all I never knew about the guy was that he and Dan Dailey were the only two Marines to ever win the CMH twice.

Proud to be a fellow anti-war veteran.


5:46 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

anon 1, thanks for that insight and info - it's noted with interested.

soph & me, thanks, you're welcome - as always.

anon 2, I have to agree on both counts - I hate to have to say.

Isaac, proud to know you then, and welcome. It seems we've enlightened each other since I never knew about Dan Dailey, either. I loved watching him though. And Donald O'Connor and all the rest of that period's musical/movies crew. Aah, happy days.

12:31 am  
Blogger noel adamson said...

Hi Richard and all

General Butler is one of my heroes and I have a video on my hard drive entitled "the Plot to Overthrow FDR". Wall street made the mistake of approaching General Butler to lead a half million WW1 veterans to D.C. to take over the government from Franklin Roosevelt. General Butler refused to be involved in anything that "smacked of fascism". The Wall Street people, led in large part by Prescott Bush, G.W.'s Grandpa, then attempted to do so with their man Adolph Hitler at the expense of 50,000,000 lives and virtually limitless other destruction and suffering. People like Natalia's Grandfather saved us all; Russia was Hitler's downfall and the tank battle of Kursk marked the turning point. The "the Plot to Overthrow FDR" video is 700 MB and I could upload it to one of my websites if anyone wants to download it. I downloaded it via torrent but don't know if it can still be found. Smedly Butler's "War is a Racket" can be found here here As for General Butler's post retirement stance he said that he "had never had a thought of his own the entire time he was in the Marines". I didn't have too many during my own military service. Very dangerous...

I actually stopped by to post a brag and let you know where I've been and what I've been up to Richard. The brag is that our peace march here in Eureka on March 18th gathered 4,000 or more people (again), which I think makes ours the highest per capita turn out in this country, and I posted pictures and video at
(not my personal page but one I maintain for the organizers of these marches in Eureka) For our efforts in the anti war, anti-fascism and pro-environmental battlefields we have had a rash of malicious litigation leveled at us and I have also maintained a web site for a local coalition of groups at which includes information on some of this. I think it is a measure of our success and their desperation. They are geting even more venomous. Be careful but don't back down.

5:26 am  
Blogger Richard said...

Noel! Long time no 'see or hear'. Xmas wasn't it? Anyhow it's great to know you're ok. You're a vet-hero in your own right, but from past experience I know you're far too modest to admit it.

I'll ensure I get to visit those links you've given, soon, and I highly recommend others do too, to see what genuine 'activism' really means. Kudos re: that brilliant, protest turn out of yours. You're excellent examples to all.

As for litigation, how did that nightmare inflicted upon you [for your true patriotic efforts to enlighten & inform] by that local cabal go? Well, I hope.

I try to be careful but as you know already, This Old Brit is one of the bulldog breed. Like Churchill said, I 'Never give in. Never, ever give in'. And I won't while I still have breath.

Again, lovely to have you here again. Don't leave it so long this time. :^)

2:41 pm  
Blogger catra17 said...

Richard...what I worry about is other countries ruled by robber barons...where does th fit into Butler's ideals......
OK I accept we have them here,,,,but to the same extent?
Very alarmed by a thing on the radio recently....Paddy Ashdown,speaking about Eastern Europe.....cant quote exactly, but gist was that these criminals were out there.....once these countries joined EEC....crime went down.....if we didn't allow them in,they'd come here we should let them in......sounds like he was advocating leaving your door open for burglars,otherwise they.d just break it down.

9:31 pm  
Blogger Eva Myrth said...

While I entirely agree with Senor Smedley's sentiments, I wonder then, for example, what the US should have done with regard Hitler & Co. back in the day? Should the UN disband? Is there no such thing as a just war?? And so on...

11:05 am  
Blogger Richard said...

Eva, here's a thought for you, re: Hitler.

Had both Bush's both grandfathers - [and other financier/investor co-horts] not traded with [and helped finance] the enenemy [namely Hitler's Germany] his military aggressions almost certainly would not have gotten anything like half as far as they did.

8:08 pm  
Blogger Richard said...


Plenty of robber barons ruling almost everywhere, I agree.

Not sure what you're saying/meaning when you talk of criminals in Eastern Europe;surely criminals are everywhere.

About Paddy Ashdown, I've just one thing to say right now. Did you know he was a member of the [in]famous S.B.S. - Special Boat Squadron, when he was in the military himself?

8:14 pm  
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2:10 am  

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