- Is War Still a Racket? An Ex-Marine Compares Gen. Smedley Butler's 1933 with 2003
- War Is a Racket ~ Major General Smedley Butler
Chris White, Counterpunch
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January 09, 2003 | As a Marine serving on a ship in the Pacific in 1997, the ship’s commander ordered the dumping of the ship’s refuse into the ocean. I asked around to see if this was a common event, as this was my first time at sea in the military, and was told that the Navy had no other way of dumping while at sea, and that it was standard procedure. In order to make this environmental atrocity productive, the Marines used the big, filled, plastic garbage bags as target practice. For a good two hours, we fired thousands of rounds out of our .50 caliber machine guns and sniper rifles at the trail of waste that stretched for miles toward the horizon.
The above story is meant to illustrate how counterproductive the military is, and this applies to this essay’s discussion of how the military is inherently bound to the interests of the power elite, and against everything else, especially the defense of freedom. After his retirement in 1931, Marine Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, one of only two Marines in history to have received two Medals of Honor, spoke out against the U.S. government’s use of force in world affairs. He wrote and spoke of the way in which corporations profited from war, while countless millions suffered as a result. This essay compares General Butler’s analysis of this process in 1933 with the use of war for power and profit in 2003, with the goal of establishing that not only has the racket expanded tremendously, but our national security has correlatively reduced. I am not anti-American. I am an ex-Marine sergeant and current doctoral student in history who is concerned about the consistent destruction of this planet and its people carried out by my government in the false name of the promotion and defense of freedom.
War Is a Racket ~ Major General Smedley Butler, USMC
- 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.