21 June 2000

America's Armed Forces

Major General Smedley D. Butler, United States Marine Corps, (Retired)


 The following is an excerpt from a speech delivered in 1933, by Major

 General Smedley D. Butler, USMC(Ret.)

        "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


       The record of racketeering is long.  I helped purify Nicaragua for

 the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912.  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



        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."

[CITATION: The above is quoted from MajGen. Butler's article "America's Armed Forces --  2. In Time of Peace:  The Army" published in COMMON SENSE, Nov. 1935. Thanks to Ms. A. Ferrante, Marine Corps Museum for this expanded citation.]

A biography on MajGen. Butler is located at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smedley_Butler

Semper Quoting,

Anthony F. Milavic

Major USMC (Ret.)