War Is A Racket


The cover of the book War Is A Racket

War Is A Racket (free ebook link) is a speech and later a book by Major General Smedley Butler, The Fighting Quaker. Smedley Butler born in 1881. He was a decorated career military soldier. In 1924 the newly elected mayor of Philadelphia asked him to become Director of Public Safety.  He was given a temporary leave from his military career by President Calvin Coolidge to take the position. His task was to clean up the corruption during a time of speakeasy and prohibition.

Though unorthodox by today’s standards of  fighting corruption, he was much-loved by the citizens of Philadelphia. However, his style and tenacity had gotten the ire of the politicians.  Mayor Kendrick reported to the press, “I had the guts to bring General Butler to Philadelphia and I have the guts to fire him.” 4000 citizens occupied and negotiated a truce between Butler and the Mayor.  The president extended Butler’s leave for another year. The following year the President did not renew his leave from the military. Upon completion of his duties he said  “cleaning up Philadelphia was worse than any battle I was ever in.”

From left to right: Philadelphia Mayor W. Freeland Kendrick and new Director of Public Safety Smedley Darlington Butler. 1924

Butler eventually retired from the military and became an in demand speaker. During a brief failed senate run, he campaigned hard for veterans of World War I and their families.

Bonus Army marchers gather on the steps of the U.S. Capitol on July 4, 1932. (Corbis)

In 1924, the veterans had been partly paid in bonds for service during World War I. The bonds had a mature rate of 20 years. However, 1932 many of the veterans had been out of work for an extended time. Rallied together by an army sergeant 24,000 people of which 17,000 were veterans assembled and marched on Washington DC. Derogatorily nicknamed the Bonus Army by the powers that be, the service certificates were not bonuses but a pay scheme, A pay scheme that included “credit” toward the amount owed the veterans. The veterans did not need nor want more credit because they could not pay the loans they had; they and their families wanted to cash their bonds.

When the Bonus Army arrived in Washington DC they encamped.  The goal was to get  from congress a decision. While the veterans and their families were encamped Butler visited the encampment, he told them that they were fine soldiers and they had a right to lobby Congress just as much as any corporation.

“I never saw such fine soldiers. I never saw such discipline…. You have as much right to lobby here as the United States Steel Corporation…. this is the greatest demonstration of Americanism ever seen.” .…The general gave another pep talk the next day, cautioning the veterans to “keep your sense of humor” lest belligerence cost them the considerable public sympathy they had already won.

It was already clear that the war profiteers did not want to pay by President Coolidge’s words years earlier on May 15, 1924,  “patriotism…bought and paid for is not patriotism.” Such sentiments wore on the people’s good will and ruefully chided charitable nature of the common class.

The veterans received their answers on July 28th , 1932 when the US Attorney General Mitchell was used as a patsy to order the removal of the veterans from public land. The burden fell on Washington police department. Shots were fired killing 2 veterans. The Washington police department did not return. At 4:45 pm, President Hoover ordered the Army to clear the veterans off public land. General MacArthur led an infantry, a cavalry, and 6 tanks to drive the men, women, and children out of the encampments using chemical agents and burned the path behind them as veterans, wives, and children fled.

The soldiers had mistakenly believed the infantry, cavalry, and tanks were gathered for a parade in their honor This belief was nurtured because the civil servant employees of Washington DC were leaving work to watch “the parade”. The civil servants were cheering until General MacArthur charged the veterans, where by as they began shouting, “Shame! Shame!” and watched in shock and fear. It is unknown why the cavalry, infantry, and tanks did not turn on General MacArthur, instead of the veterans.

President Hoover did not get a second term as president. US Attorney General Mitchell went on to be the lead in the investigations concerning the Pearl Harbor attacks. There was another Bonus Army protest the next year that was dispelled by President Roosevelt. President Roosevelt gave supplies for the encampment, sent his wife for negotiations, and offered jobs in the newly created Civilian Conservation Corps by exempting veterans of the under 25 and single limitations.

A Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp in Marsing, Idaho, in 1941. The crew is laying concrete pipe.

Though the CCC was improving the infrastructure and family stability across the US,

Civilian Conservation Corps Poster

by 1942 the corrupt profiteers raised a crisis through Germany that had to be addressed. A crisis that spilled into most parts of Europe and created a humanitarian crisis across many swaths of humanity.

A crisis we  now know assisted by corrupt double speak global conglomerates, known at that time as industrialist.  The very same sorts mentioned in this article about pre-US civil war global conglomerates.

The CCC, which never received permanent place in American infrastructure by law was instead replaced with the draft and employment into the war culture.

A war culture to the point that an open and running joke was  : Hitler had ordered thousands of tanks from Ford’s plant, but didn’t make painting or delivery arrangements; He said he would call ahead on the paint scheme, and pick them up on his way through town.

Ford workers and their children picket in April, 1941

For more information read: Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler

More importantly the use and abuse of slave labor. 

In addition:

 “we only had had a draft twice in our history before: the Civil War and World War I. The idea of a standing army was anathema to most Americans, as it had been to the Founding Fathers. We just didn’t do that. I mean, that was not in the American scheme of things, and a group of private citizens said that we needed … a standing army.”

Lynne Olson –  Historical author on policy and diplomacy

Criminal patterns often become clear through the passage of time. Don Berecz, director of the Center for Forensic Studies in Accounting and Business at Georgia Southern University, fielded the questions once, “What makes a crime family? How many generations does it take before a family is considered a crime family? What are the perimeters of a criminal organization? These are not complicated questions. The answers need to be applied evenly across the board.

In 1935 Butler stated:

Major General Butler

I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and 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 benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902–1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might 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.

Smedley Butler – War Is A Racket

But many people do not know what racketeering is. They vaguely know it has something to do with organized crime.

The word racketeer was first coined in 1927 when describing the Teamsters Unions activities by one of the many special interest created to oppose unionization for corporate interest, Employers’ Association.

The word racket had a long history of negative meaning. In 1560 it was associated with a loud intimidating noise, comparative to the Gaelic word racid “noise” meaning dishonest or suspicious noise, ike a bump in the night.  By 1590 the term rack-rent was in use to mean “extortionate rent” similar to the term scary rent or rent extortion something serfs would have dealt with at the time. In 1785 racket had taken the meaning of dishonest activity, via the word racquet as in “game” the name for types of ball games during that era.

Interestingly, corporate business interests now lobby against the  civil racketeering laws as being excessive.

Wikipedia states: A racket is a service that is fraudulently offered to solve a problem, such as for a problem that does not actually exist, will not be affected, or would not otherwise exist. Conducting a racket is racketeering.

The general definition from Dictionary.com is:  organized illegal activity and a dishonest scheme, trick, business, activity, etc.

Specifically, in the US after 1970 racketeering is 2 purposeful illegal crimes in 10 years. The law states that the crimes must be of a certain sorts, but it pretty much includes them all that are committed on purpose.

In that sense, Butler was one of the first modern-day Fraud Fighters. By today’s standards, he would be an Occupier, Occupy Marines specifically. And with out a doubt, he was a Culling Corruption Campaigner.

Occupy Marines logo

In 1934, he became a whistle-blower exposing a coup d’état scheme called The Business Plot.  The scheme was to over throw the government and install a government fashioned after “organizations of Fascist character” abroad.

The Business Plot was investigated by a Senate Committee, McCormack-Dickstein Committee. The McCormack-Dickstein Committee was “Authorized to Investigate Nazi Propaganda” from 1934 – 1947. It was replaced with a committee that focused on communism. Most of the business people were not called before the  McCormack-Dickstein Committee. However, the final report f the McCormack-Dickstein Committee stated:

In the last few weeks of the committee’s official life it received evidence showing that certain persons had made an attempt to establish a fascist organization in this country. No evidence was presented and this committee had none to show a connection between this effort and any fascist activity of any European country. There is no question that these attempts were discussed, were planned, and might have been placed in execution when and if the financial backers deemed it expedient.

It is important to note that Dickstein was a profiteer and racketeer. He “ran a lucrative trade in illegal visas for Soviet operatives before brashly offering to spy for the NKVD, the KGB’s precursor, in return for cash.” His handlers even nicknamed him “The Crook“.

With the focus diverted away from Hitler’s activities and focused on a fraudulent and sabotaged investigation of communism while being used as a front for illegal visas for Soviet operatives, the industrialist were able to exploit the slave labor and the war market Hitler was creating.  Not only did they profit from Hitler’s crimes, but they helped him along.

Only when the industrialist’s rackets with Hitler became painfully obvious did they cease use them to profiteer.  Like most corruption related crimes the fear of being exposed is one of the greatest deterrents.

As society and humanity builds on knowledge, we have learned that keeping free of corruption is as important as keeping free of filth. The same way we must wash our hands or take a shower regularly, we must expose corrupt practices to rid ourselves of them. Transparency is a good deterrent. We should expect good business hygiene.  However, some businesses are resistant to good business hygiene. For those sorts, we are going to have to drag them into the modern era. They should expect such too.

Today, what humanity is dealing with in the terms of corruption is near levels of the black plague. We cannot allow a corpocracy. A corpocracy with a known history of unhygienic business practices. A corpocracy which has effectively committed a coup d’état against the US government. A corpocracy building one of the largest war machines in the history of the world and only because of modern advances are able to amass such. These industrialist, corporatist, fascist, or whatever nom du jour must be brought into the modern era of accountability.

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One comment on “War Is A Racket

  1. shakeymclovin says:

    Reblogged this on The Center of the Decentralized.

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