Smedley Butler, fully General Smedley Darlington Butler. aka Old Gimlet Eye, The Fighting Quaker and Old Duckboard

Smedley
Butler, fully General Smedley Darlington Butler. aka Old Gimlet Eye, The Fighting Quaker and Old Duckboard
1881
1940

American Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps, Outspoken Critic of U.S. Military Adventurism, at the time of his death he was the most decorated Marine in U.S. history

Author Quotes

War is a racket. It always has been... A few profit - and the many pay. But there is a way to stop it. You can't end it by disarmament conferences. You can't eliminate it by peace parleys at Geneva. Well-meaning but impractical groups can't wipe it out by resolutions. It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war.

We must permit the youth of the land who would bear arms to decide whether or not there should be war.

We must take the profit out of war.

Yes, they are getting ready for another war. Why shouldn't they? It pays high dividends...

Of course, it isn't put that crudely in war time. It is dressed into speeches about patriotism, love of country, and "we must all put our shoulders to the wheel," but the profits jump and leap and skyrocket ? and are safely pocketed.

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.

The normal profits of a business concern in the United States are six, eight, ten, and sometimes twelve percent. But war-time profits ? ah! that is another matter ? twenty, sixty, one hundred, three hundred, and even eighteen hundred per cent ? the sky is the limit. All that traffic will bear. Uncle Sam has the money. Let's get it...

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.

The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

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.

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?

I served in all commissioned ranks from a second Lieutenant to a Major General. And during that time, 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 for capitalism.

There are only two reasons why you should ever be asked to give your youngsters. One is defense of our homes. The other is the defense of our Bill of Rights and particularly the right to worship God as we see fit. Every other reason advanced for the murder of young men is a racket, pure and simple.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession I never had an original thought until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher- ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

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...

I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

WAR is a racket. It always has been.

In a 1931 speech, Butler recounted a story about Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini, how he had run over a child with his car, and said, as he moved on, It was only one life. What is one life in the affairs of the State.

In the World War 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...

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...

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.

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.

My interest is, my one hobby is, maintaining a democracy. If you get these 500,000 soldiers advocating anything smelling of Fascism, I am going to get 500,000 more and lick the hell out of you, and we will have a real war right at home.

My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military.

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. Ship builders. Manufacturers. Meat packers. Speculators. They would fare well.

Author Picture
First Name
Smedley
Last Name
Butler, fully General Smedley Darlington Butler. aka Old Gimlet Eye, The Fighting Quaker and Old Duckboard
Birth Date
1881
Death Date
1940
Bio

American Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps, Outspoken Critic of U.S. Military Adventurism, at the time of his death he was the most decorated Marine in U.S. history