Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: "War Is a Racket" - by Major General Smedley Butler, USMC (1933)

  1. #1
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Seattle, Washington, USA
    Posts
    923

    "War Is a Racket" - by Major General Smedley Butler, USMC (1933)

    Is war a racket?
    At least one Major General of the USMC thought so, and he spoke about it in 1933.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig12/butler-s1.1.1.html

    "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 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"

    "...........
    At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War..........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?............."


    "
    The World War, rather our brief participation in it, has cost the United States some $52,000,000,000. Figure it out. That means $400 to every American man, woman, and child. And we haven't paid the debt yet. We are paying it, our children will pay it, and our children's children probably still will be paying the cost of that war."


    "
    Who provides the profits........We all pay them – in taxation............But the soldier pays the biggest part of the bill.........."
    Last edited by END_THE_FED; 03-04-2011 at 06:43 AM.
    A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.- Thomas Jefferson March 4 1801

  2. #2
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Fairborn, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    13,063
    War is necessary for those who would defend their God-given rights: Life, Liberty, and Property.

  3. #3
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    North Chesterfield VA
    Posts
    10,682
    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    War is necessary for those who would defend their God-given rights: Life, Liberty, and Property.
    Although war is not necessary, it is what usually takes place while folks are waiting for diplomacy to produce results.

    No, I do not believe in unicorn farts and skittle rainbows, and yes I have participated in the activities before the treaty was signed. I just don't believe that war is necessary, although it often seems inevitable. Especially against those who wish to deny others of their rights.

    stay safe.

  4. #4
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Seattle, Washington, USA
    Posts
    923
    I don't think the author was saying that war is never necessary.

    He was critical of those who profit from war.
    He feels that the ones who profit most risk the least and the ones who risk the most profit the least.

    He was speaking from experience.

    I am not sure if you read the whole thing or not, but if not I would encourage you to do so. He makes some good points.
    Last edited by END_THE_FED; 03-04-2011 at 11:31 AM.
    A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.- Thomas Jefferson March 4 1801

  5. #5
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Fairborn, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    13,063
    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Although war is not necessary, it is what usually takes place while folks are waiting for diplomacy to produce results.

    No, I do not believe in unicorn farts and skittle rainbows, and yes I have participated in the activities before the treaty was signed. I just don't believe that war is necessary, although it often seems inevitable. Especially against those who wish to deny others of their rights.

    stay safe.
    Those who believe that war is not necessary, will end up fighting in one anyway. They won't have started it and won't be prepared, but war cannot be avoided.

    If you want peace, prepare for war. It'll happen less often and be less severe, but it will happen.

  6. #6
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Fairborn, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    13,063
    Quote Originally Posted by END_THE_FED View Post
    I don't think the author was saying that war is never necessary.

    He was critical of those who profit from war.
    He feels that the ones who profit most risk the least and the ones who risk the most profit the least.

    He was speaking from experience.

    I am not sure if you read the whole thing or not, but if not I would encourage you to do so. He makes some good points.
    Might as well complain about those who profit from feeding folks, or from constructing housing, or from developing medicines, or from curing illnesses, or from educating our children, or from...

  7. #7
    Regular Member DevinWKuska's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Spanaway
    Posts
    300
    Ya know... War isnt great for anyone as far as daily lives. Some miss thier husbands, fathers, mothers, sisters or brothers who are off in some foreign country fighting. But IMO the REALITY is America was pretty much founded on war, and the American people make money off of war.

    Dont believe me? Ask anyone who works at say... Boeing if the company makes more during times of peace or during times 9of conflict. Even if you work in say metal industry. The cost of certain metals(namely Steel, Brass, copper, and lead) go up. War is not pretty but after every war that I am aware of the US of A see's an economic boom. I know for the Pierce county area anyways the soldiers returning home with fat wallets are pretty much what is keeping alot of people employed.
    "So there I was between a rock and a hard place, when it hit me... What am I doing on this side of the rock?"

  8. #8
    Regular Member rotorhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    862
    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    Might as well complain about those who profit from feeding folks, or from constructing housing, or from developing medicines, or from curing illnesses, or from educating our children, or from...
    I fail to see how any of those other industries ever had the power to draft people into submission by threat of jail in order to make them conform. I guess that throughout history there have been cases where people have been forced into labor but never on such a large scale as for those leaders that have used men for war when taken as a whole.

    It's easier to swallow when sweetened by words such as Honor, Duty, and Country, but when you take a hard look at it, it's nothing but smoke and mirrors. The facts are glaringly present to confirm that, in literally untold cases throughout history, those that start wars will prove themselves dishonorable and will hide in the shadows as other men carry the actual risks of war.

    It is even more evident today that not only will those that pronounce themselves above the fray of battle do all they can to avoid actual combat, but that they will also find ways to profit from it.

    And what of those that actually fight it? Perhaps a nice piece of metal shaped into something which has been lifted by empty words to a high status will suffice? Maybe we could make some half-hearted attempt to compensate their injuries will shut them up? Yes, perhaps we could all name a day in their honor! Pleasant pats on the back no doubt, but hardly worth risking our one and only life over, are they?

    But, more on topic...

    The General made some very valid points, as do many today as well. But, although it's easy to prove that some people do, in fact, profit from war, what is harder to prove is that wars are created to make a profit. Not impossible, just harder to prove.

    Ahh yes- I forgot the ol' disclaimer that I have served in no less than four deployments. I only add this to lend credibility to my words and to show they come from someone who actually went, as opposed to one who hasn't. Other than the above stated reason, this disclaimer serves no other purpose. It is not made to assume a superior insight, but simply to add a background picture of understanding.
    Last edited by rotorhead; 03-04-2011 at 11:47 PM.

  9. #9
    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfax County, Virginia
    Posts
    11,487
    Quote Originally Posted by DevinWKuska View Post
    The cost of certain metals(namely Steel, Brass, copper, and lead) go up. War is not pretty but after every war that I am aware of the US of A see's an economic boom.
    First of all, war is the health of the state. The effect to which you're referring is not a good way to bolster an economy. It creates a never-ending train of state-feeding pork.

    Secondly, it didn't happen this time anyway. The economy has just been getting worse and worse, the whole time. Correlation doesn't imply causation, but maybe it's gotten to the point where too much drain from non-value-adding economic sectors (military-industrial stuff is generally not value-adding) means that too much of our nation's economic potential has been usurped for the economy to be capable of bouncing back.

    To put it another way, the government has too large a share of the GDP. There isn't enough money free for the private, value-adding sectors anymore for the economy to grow. The solution is to drastically cut government revenue, which means military spending (among a slew of other things).

    No matter how I look at it, war (as I have lived to see it) benefits the state, but it only hurts me.

    A strong state does not a strong people make. Quite the contrary. A strong state makes a dependent, coddled citizenry incapable of standing on their own two feet.

    Quote Originally Posted by rotorhead View Post
    Ahh yes- I forgot the ol' disclaimer that I have served in no less than four deployments. I only add this to lend credibility to my words and to show they come from someone who actually went, as opposed to one who hasn't. Other than the above stated reason, this disclaimer serves no other purpose. It is not made to assume a superior insight, but simply to add a background picture of understanding.
    Would it be odd to thank you for your service as well as your rational opinion and input?
    Last edited by marshaul; 03-05-2011 at 12:00 AM.

  10. #10
    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfax County, Virginia
    Posts
    11,487
    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    Might as well complain about those who profit from feeding folks, or from constructing housing, or from developing medicines, or from curing illnesses, or from educating our children, or from...
    Except, those thing aren't even potentially aggressive. Minor quibbles, I know...
    Last edited by marshaul; 03-04-2011 at 11:58 PM.

  11. #11
    Founder's Club Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Fairfax Co., VA
    Posts
    18,766
    I read War is a Racket for the first time last year. Pretty impressive.

    Eisenhower's speech against letting industry and military form a sort of coalition speaks to the same thing, entrenched.*

    Throw in American intelligence disinformation, and we have a recipe for human disaster and misery.

    Anybody pay attention to the lastest noises about the military with regard to Libya?

    *You can see the relevant part of Ike's speech here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0Noh...eature=related
    Last edited by Citizen; 03-05-2011 at 01:30 AM.

  12. #12
    Founder's Club Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Fairfax Co., VA
    Posts
    18,766
    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    Might as well complain about those who profit from feeding folks, or from constructing housing, or from developing medicines, or from curing illnesses, or from educating our children, or from...
    Funny you should mention that. While hunting up Ike's farewell warning against a military-industrial complex, I caught part of a video where Ike complained [paraphrase]: We spend vast numbers of bushels of wheat on a single fighter plane. One bomber takes what could be spent to build homes for 8,000 people.

  13. #13
    Regular Member rotorhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    862
    Quote Originally Posted by marshaul View Post
    First of all, war is the health of the state. The effect to which you're referring is not a good way to bolster an economy. It creates a never-ending train of state-feeding pork.

    Secondly, it didn't happen this time anyway. The economy has just been getting worse and worse, the whole time. Correlation doesn't imply causation, but maybe it's gotten to the point where too much drain from non-value-adding economic sectors (military-industrial stuff is generally not value-adding) means that too much of our nation's economic potential has been usurped for the economy to be capable of bouncing back.

    To put it another way, the government has too large a share of the GDP. There isn't enough money free for the private, value-adding sectors anymore for the economy to grow. The solution is to drastically cut government revenue, which means military spending (among a slew of other things).

    No matter how I look at it, war (as I have lived to see it) benefits the state, but it only hurts me.

    A strong state does not a strong people make. Quite the contrary. A strong state makes a dependent, coddled citizenry incapable of standing on their own two feet.



    Would it be odd to thank you for your service as well as your rational opinion and input?
    lol no it wouldn't be odd. My former self is appreciative of such accolades

  14. #14
    Regular Member DevinWKuska's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Spanaway
    Posts
    300
    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    Funny you should mention that. While hunting up Ike's farewell warning against a military-industrial complex, I caught part of a video where Ike complained [paraphrase]: We spend vast numbers of bushels of wheat on a single fighter plane. One bomber takes what could be spent to build homes for 8,000 people.
    Yes but 1 bomber creates the need and the jobs to rebuild those 8,000 jobs. Yet another way war is profitable yes? Look at france, they wanted no part in Iraq but were fighting tooth and nail to get the rebuild contracts.
    "So there I was between a rock and a hard place, when it hit me... What am I doing on this side of the rock?"

  15. #15
    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfax County, Virginia
    Posts
    11,487
    Quote Originally Posted by DevinWKuska View Post
    Yes but 1 bomber creates the need and the jobs to rebuild those 8,000 jobs. Yet another way war is profitable yes? Look at france, they wanted no part in Iraq but were fighting tooth and nail to get the rebuild contracts.
    Are you familiar with the window breaking fallacy?

    Because your opinion, while amusing, has very little to do with non-Keynesian economics.

    Are you a Keynesian?
    Last edited by marshaul; 03-05-2011 at 01:14 PM.

  16. #16
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Seattle, Washington, USA
    Posts
    923
    Quote Originally Posted by marshaul View Post
    Are you familiar with the window breaking fallacy?

    Because your opinion, while amusing, has very little to do with non-Keynesian economics.

    Are you a Keynesian?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0nERTFo-Sk
    Last edited by END_THE_FED; 03-05-2011 at 02:58 PM.
    A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.- Thomas Jefferson March 4 1801

  17. #17
    Founder's Club Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Fairfax Co., VA
    Posts
    18,766
    Quote Originally Posted by DevinWKuska View Post
    Yes but 1 bomber creates the need and the jobs to rebuild those 8,000 jobs. Yet another way war is profitable yes? Look at france, they wanted no part in Iraq but were fighting tooth and nail to get the rebuild contracts.
    Well, yes, of course. The point is that by overspending on military we have military, and distortion in housing and food, etc. Whereas by spending only what is absolutely necessary on military, we have enough military plus housing and food, etc.

    From another angle, if Rapiscan or Rocketdyne or Northrop Grumman wants profits, let them farm or become home builders.

  18. #18
    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Whatcom County
    Posts
    17,338
    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    From another angle, if Rapiscan or Rocketdyne or Northrop Grumman wants profits, let them farm or become home builders.
    As developers they'd still make money as a regular working contractor profits seem to be a thing of history....sigh....well I can't speak for farmers but as a home builder I am on the precipice of disaster.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •