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WAR is a RACKET - U.S. Marine General Smedley Butler
707 views • 9 months ago

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.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of
the 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 very many. Out of war a few people make huge
fortunes.

In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new
millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That
many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war
millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench?
How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of
them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun
bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were
wounded or killed in battle?

Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This
newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few - the selfsame few who wrung
dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

And what is this bill?

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.

For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I
retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering,
as they are today, I must face it and speak out.

Again they are choosing sides. France and Russia met and agreed to stand side by side. Italy
and Austria hurried to make a similar agreement. Poland and Germany cast sheep's eyes at
each other, forgetting for the nonce [one unique occasion], their dispute over the Pohsh
Corridor.

The assassination of King Alexander of Jugoslavia [Yugoslavia] complicated matters.
Jugoslavia and Hungary, long bitter enemies, were almost at each other's throats. Italy was
ready to jump in. But France was waiting. So was Czechoslovakia. All of them are looking
ahead to war. Not the people - not those who fight and pay and die - only those who foment
wars and remain safely at home to profit.

There are 40,000,000 men under arms in the world today, and our statesmen and diplomats
have the temerity to say that war is not in the making.

Hell's bells! Are these 40,000,000 men being trained to be dancers?

Not in Italy, to be sure. Premier Mussolini knows what they are being trained for. He, at
least, is frank enough to speak out. Only the other day, II Duce in "International
Conciliation," the publication of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said:

"And above all. Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of
humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the
possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace. . . . War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobiUty upon the people who have the courage to meet it."

https://archive.org/stream/WarIsARacket/WarIsARacket_djvu.txt

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