Tuesday, November 29, 2005

War is Still a (Profitable) Racket

A sort of continuation of the last posting...

Major General Smedley Darlington Butler served the US Army for more than three decades, and was the recipient of two Congressional Medals of Honor.

Perhaps better known now for his book War is a Racket, in which he described how war - any war - is but a tool in the hands of business tomake money...

The full text of book can be accessed at:
[Highly recommended - a must read!!]

The following is the excerpt from a speech delivered in 1933 by him, that gives the gist of his experience as a warrior: http://www.twf.org/News/Y2001/0911-Racket.html

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. . . .

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 Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). 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.

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...

Apparently, not much has really changed in the world since then. Here are some news items and reports:

  • Rebuilding Iraq Proves to Be A Gold Mine for Middlemen (Wall Street Journal, 16 June 2003)
  • The Privatisation of War (The Guardian, December 10, 2003)
  • Advocates of War Now Profit From Iraq's Reconstruction (Los Angeles Times, 14 July 2004)
  • The Price of Freedom in Iraq and Power in Washington by Ceara Donnelley and William D. Hartung, August 2003 (gives a detailed account of profits have zoomed up for companies such as Boeing, Bechtel, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Halliburton, DynCorp, etc.)
  • A Band of Brothers: The Rebuilding of Iraq [pdf format]
  • List of Articles on War Profiteering from CorpWatch
  • WarProfiteers.com

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