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Paperback War is a Racket Book

ISBN: 1737668629

ISBN13: 9781737668626

War is a Racket

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General Smedley Butler's frank book shows how American war efforts were animated by big-business interests. This extraordinary argument against war by an unexpected proponent is relevant now more than... This description may be from another edition of this product.

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Only A Military Man could Have Written This

In very terse language, General Smedley Butler tells it like it is about war in this short book. His ideas of how war is so economically profitable to some is valid in our own times as well. He calls it no less than 'blood profit', money accumulated by big business by promoting death and destruction. The General found all this out by direct experience. After a career in the Marines that was spent fighting in numerous wars, the truth that he has discovered, that 'War Is A Racket', should be written in stone for all, especially our leaders, to see. A classic in the literature about war that should be more widely known.

As applicable today as when it was first written

Brigadier General Smedley Darlington Butler is not a very familiar name when it comes to military lore in America. Butler was a two-time winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor. As a solider he oversaw American campaigns in China, Nicaragua, Cuba and Haiti. After his retirement from military service he brought down a planned corporate coup that threatened to seize control of the White House. He supported World War I Bonus Marchers who rallied in DC looking for their promised "War Bonus." He treated all his men fairly and honestly and was respected for it. Most importantly, he realized that in his role as a military leader he was a "high-class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short...a racketeer for Capitalism." This book was his effort to expose everything that he knew about the inner workings of the American War Machine. The first sentences of Butler's book, written in 1935 and mainly referring to World War I remain true today, "War is a racket. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious." Butler then rips into war profiteers who never shouldered a rifle yet made millions in blood money. Throughout his writing Butler posits that the single focus of war is to make money for the few by trading in the blood of the many. To know that in 2004 these words accurately and eerily describe the majority of the men and women now in control of the United States of America is shameful and disgraceful. In Chapter Two "Who Makes the Profits" Butler analyzes who made money during the Wars he was involved with. He analyzes how they made their money and how much they made. All one has to do is change some of the industries, corporate names, increase the profits exponentially and you will have a blueprint for the wars of today launched by the US. Again, this shows that when it comes to war, the technology may change through the years, but the end result is always the same, many die and a few make more money. Interestingly, Butler points out that it was not always big business that made money from war, up until the Spanish American War soldiers also made a profit above and beyond their military salary. Soldiers were paid enlistment bonuses, and they were paid when enemies were captured. The government then discovered they could substitute medals and ribbons for dollars and did so. Thanks to that logic, borrowed from Napoleon, soldiers pay the bill of war with their lives, limbs, minds and souls and are rewarded with worthless tin and ribbon. Butler offers simple solutions to end the racket of war. First, take the profit out of war. Pay everyone that works in the war industry the same wage that a solider would make in the trenches risking his life. This is a simple and effective plan. Pay the CEO of United States Steel (or Halliburton today) the same as the grunt in the trenches and see how many wars are launched. Another solution; vote on the war. However, the vote wo

War: Who Profits from it and who Pays for it

"War is a Racket" is marine general, Smedley Butler's classic treatise on why wars are conducted, who profits from them, and who pays the price. Few people are as qualified as General Butler to advance the argument encapsulated in his book's sensational title. When "War is a Racket" was first published in 1935, Butler was the most decorated American soldier of his time. He had lead several successful military operations in the Caribbean and in Central America, as well as in Europe during the First World War. Despite his success and his heroic status, however, Butler came away from these experiences with a deeply troubled view of both the purpose and the results of warfare.Butler's central thesis is that regardless of the popular rhetoric that often accompanies warfare, it is waged almost exclusively for profit. He advances this argument in three decisive examples.EXAMPLE 1: CORPORATE MILITARY PROFITS RESULTING FORM WARIn an early version of "follow the money", Butler provides pre- and post-World War I data on some of America's leading corporations to demonstrate the surge in profits that they experienced from the war, often totaling several hundred percent. While some companies, such as Dupont, arguably produced goods that contributed directly to America's military victory in 1918, others such as saddle manufacturers did not. Even when these companies failed to contribute directly to the war effort, they still managed to lobby the government to retrain or expand their contracts. Its as though powerful, well connected oil services company today were to contract with the government to supply oil to the military during a foreign campaign and then deliberately overcharge it.EXAMPLE 2: INVESTING IN OTHER NATIONS' WARSButler argues that the United States practically doomed itself to entering the First World War the moment it began lending money and material to the allies. Once the allies were faced with certain defeat, argues Butler, they approached American government and business officials and flatly told them that unless they were victorious they would not be able to repay their staggering debt. In the event that Germany and the axis powers won the war, they would have no motivation to assume and repay the allied debt to the United States. America entered the First World War, according to Butler, in order to guarantee the repayment of its massive military loans to the allies. No allied victory meant no repayment, which meant no profit. Thousands of American soldiers were killed or maimed, argues Butler, to protect corporate profits.EXAMPLE 3: THE MILITARY AS A COROPORATE THUGBased on his own service experience in Central America and the Caribbean Butler argues that most American military interventions in small countries were done in order to "clear the way" for American corporations to set up shop and commence pillaging. It would be as if the United States were to occupy an oil-rich nation and then start doling out "rebuilding" contracts to some of

Straight from the mouth of a General...

Dear readers, I first heard of Major General Smedley Butler when I joined the Marines twelve years ago. Hearing of his exploits while in Boot Camp, us recruits all wished we had as much guts as this Demi-God. Imagine my suprise now, after having learned that our brave and tough idol had confessed to being the best "enforcer" for big business there ever was! He then became a whistle blower of the highest order. Brave and honest men and women who attain some kind of fame on the world stage do not get to live too long in this world. Their outspokeness is extinguished as soon as people start listening. In General Butler's case there was a glitch in the system. He rose to the heights in rank because of his courage, heart, and tenacity during times of WAR. They had no choice but to elevate him. He earned his unobstructed view of how the world works with blood, sweat, and tears. When he realized that he was just being used... All hell broke loose. His passionate essay in this book should be read by everyone living in this great country. He tells it the way it was and the way it still is. It's going to be a while before someone else from so high-up steps "out of line" and talks. Can you imagine this happening nowadays? Not gonna happen. It seems that Generals are now chosen for political reasons. So read this book about the brave General who showed even more courage as a Civilian.

Decorated Marine General Cannot Be Ignored

EDITED from 17 Aug 03 to add book links. This book is a real gem, a classic, that should be in any library desiring to focus on national security. It is a very readable collection of short essays, ending with a concise collection of photographs that show the horror of war--on one page in particular, a pile of artillery shells labeled "Cause" and below is a photo of a massive pile of bodies, labeled "Effect." Of particular interest to anyone concerned about the current national security situation, both its expensive mis-adventures abroad and its intrusive violation of many Constitutional rights at home, is the author's history, not only as a the most decorated Marine at the time, with campaign experience all over the world, but as a spokesperson, in retirement, for placing constitutional American principles over imperialist American practice. The following quotations from the book are intended to summarize it: "I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil intersts 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. 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." [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] General Butler is especially trenchant when he looks at post-war casualties. He writes with great emotion about the thousands of tramautized soldiers, many of who lose their minds and are penned like animals until they die, and he notes that in his time, returning veterans are three times more likely to die prematurely than those who stayed home. This decorated Marine, who understands and documents in detail the exorbitant profits that a select few insiders (hence the term "racket") make from war, proposes three specific anti-war measures: 1) Take the profit out of war. Nationalize and mobilize the industrial sector, and pay every manager no more than each soldier earns. 2) Vote for war or no war on the basis of a limited plebisite in which only those being asked to bear arms and die for their country are permitted to vote. 3) Limit US military forces, by Constitutional amendment, to home defense purposes only. There is a great deal of wisdom and practical experience in this small book--Smedley Butler is to war profiteering what
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