New Addition to Liberty In Exile Book Club: War Is a Racket

The latest recommendation is a book by Major General Smedley Butler, the most highly-decorated Marine in American history. The book is titled War is a Racket.

I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and 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 benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might 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.. [p. 10]

“War is a racket. …It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.” [p. 23]

“The general public shoulders the bill [for war]. 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.” [p. 24]

This amazingly-written book is a presentation of the personal views and experiences of one Major General Smedley Butler, a highly-decorated Marine who comes to the realization that war and state aggression are merely tools for big companies to secure billions of more dollars. It is a willing indictment of war on moral and financial grounds, which he argues has been initiated to favor special industries and have almost never anything to do with what the public is told.

Major General Butler decries the military-industrial complex, the collusion of weapons manufacturers and industrialists which have devoted billions of dollars of resources from productive means to create extremely destructive ends.

What is also interesting to note of Butler’s life is his connection to what could almost be considered an attempted coup d’état in the United States of America in 1933. Titled The Business Plot, this involved many wealthy individuals who had grown unfavorable to President Roosevelt, and so looked to recapture the nation for themselves. They allegedly asked Butler to be the new leader of this supposed group, who would institute a fascist-type state and overthrow the old order so that profits could be protected without risk of interference. This is also detailed immensely in Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty’s book  JFK: The CIA, Vietnam and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy, another recommendation on the Liberty In Exile book club.


One comment

  1. Kate Smart

    Some of the only decorating books worth keeping are published by Better Homes & Gardens. This one, as well as the new edition which is not being shown on, are excellent. These are books you should OWN, have on your shelf, and refer to. Whether you’re looking for colour ideas, window treatments, where to place lamps, how hight to hang a picture, etc. these books offer what you need to understand balance, scale, and how to make a room look perfect. I would also consider giving these books away as gifts – they are very useful and the pictures are BIG which is everything. Short on text, long on visuals, is what makes a decorating book worth buying.

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