War is a Racket


What would have General Butler said on the current War on Terror

[Note for WoP Readers: Before I put up a report filed by Tom at his website, I reproduce below some paragraphs from General Butler’s book ’War is a Racket’. The book was published in 1935 by Round Table Press, Inc., New York. Reader’s Digest condensed it as a book supplement, with an introduction by Lowell Thomas, who praised Butler’s “…moral as well as physical courage… ”

 “Hans Schmidt, in his 1987 biography of Butler, Maverick Marine: General Smedley D. Butler and the Contradictions of American Military History, offers the following assessment: “Much of War is a Racket was stock antiwar, anti-imperialist idiom, part of an American tradition dating back to the eighteenth century. Butler’s particular contribution was his recantation, denouncing war on moral grounds after having been a warrior hero and spending most of his life as a military insider. The theme remained vigorously patriotic and nationalistic, decrying imperialism as a disgrace rooted in the greed of a privileged few.” 
I have excerpted some paragraphs from this marvelous book written by that great American genius. I have made some minor changes here and there to render currency to his prophetic words in modern times. If I hadn’t done so, even then the stark truth about the wars as revealed by Butler would have remained as valid today as it was in 1935. Nayyar]


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, pounds or rupees 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 any war, a mere handful garner the profits of the conflict. A new set of millionaires and billionaires are made. That many admit their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsify their tax returns no one knows.
How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them ever 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 wars (whether conventional or non conventional, like the present war on terror) nations acquire additional territory or hegemony, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired hegemony promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung money 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 on terror as it is today, I must face it and speak out.
All of them who prompt this war are trying to escalate their passion for blood, money and lives. Not the people – not those who fight and pay and die – only those who foment wars and remain safely at home to profit.
Then, to save that US citizens are in danger, insecure in their homes or in offices, through the power of media the whole world is being brainwashed to hate Islam and to go for a war – a war that is going to cost billions of dollars, many thousands of lives of Americans, and many more physically maimed and mentally unbalanced men. How many people in uniform or otherwise will have the same fate on the opposite side, no one knows.
Of course, for this loss, there would be a compensating profit – fortunes would be made. Millions and billions of dollars would be piled up. By a few. Munitions makers. Bankers. Modern combat air craft and drone Manufacturers. Meat packers. Speculators. They would fare well.
Yes, they are getting ready for another war in Pakistan. Why shouldn’t they? It pays high dividends.
But what does it profit the men who are killed? What does it profit their mothers and sisters, their wives and their sweethearts? What does it profit their children?
What does it profit anyone except the very few to whom war means huge profits?
Yes, and what does it profit the nation?
Billions of dollars are being spent on war efforts in Afghanistan and now Pakistan. The American people will pay the price of these wars in dollars and the people in Afghanistan and Pakistan with the lives of their near and dear ones, and many a time with their own ones. Keep aside the authenticity of the war and causality figures we are being fed,  keep aside the fear psychosis the Bush Cheney cabal has goaded into the mind of a common US citizen, just look into the simple human reaction, the people on each side of the war are losing , with flesh, blood and life. If the mightiest nation in the world can go for a war on another nation, what should the poor people who are losing every thing do? This and some similar questions are being asked by Tom in his following article. Being a large sized document, I am putting up his post in a set of three parts.     Continue reading…
Text excerptfrom the book ‘War is a Racket’ courtesy The Scuttlebutt & Small Chow

2 replies to “War is a Racket

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