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View Diary: General Smedley D. Butler, "War is a Racket!" Portrayed by Actor (25 comments)

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  •  A link to the full "War is a Racket" pamphlet (9+ / 0-)


    Butler was no pacifist, but after a life of service, took the time to really grok who was pulling the strings, and why.

    "Mitt who? That's an odd name. Like an oven mitt, you mean? Oh, yeah, I've got one of those. Used it at the Atlas Society BBQ last summer when I was flipping ribs."

    by Richard Cranium on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 06:04:30 PM PST

    •  One of the Biggest Rackets (9+ / 0-)

      ... was World War I.  I recently wrote a long diary about some of the famous poets of that war - "Surely We Have Perished" - Poets, Propaganda, and Dissenters in a Time of War.

      Here's an excerpt from the diary in which John Reed criticizes the war and its real motives:

      No recent words have seemed to me so ludicrously condescending as the Kaiser's speech to his people when he said that in this supreme crisis he freely forgave all those who had ever opposed him.  I am ashamed that in this day in a civilized country any one can speak such archaic nonsense as that speech contained.  But worse than the "personal government" of the Kaiser, worse even than the brutalizing ideals he boasts of standing for, is the raw hypocrisy of his armed foes, who shout for a peace which their greed has rendered impossible.

      More nauseating than the crack-brained bombast of the Kaiser is the editorial chorus in America which pretends to believe - would have us believe - that the White and Spotless Knight of Modern Democracy is marching against the Unspeakably Vile Monster of Medieval Militarism. What has democracy to do in alliance with Nicholas, the Tsar?  It is Liberalism which is marching from the Petersburg of Father Gapon, from the Odessa of Progroms?  Are our editors naive enough to believe this?

      No. There is a falling out among commercial rivals.  One side has observed the polite forms of diplomacy and has talked of "peace" - relying the while on the eminently pacific navy of Great Britain and the army of France and on the millions of semi-serfs whom they have bribed the Tsar of All the Russias (and The Hague) to scourge forward against the Germans.  On the other side there has been rudeness - and the hideous Gospel of Blood and Iron.

      We, who are Socialists, must hope - we may even expect - that out of this horror of bloodshed and dire destruction will come far-reaching social changes - and a long step forward towards our goal of peace among men.  But we must not be duped by this editorial buncombe about Liberalism going forth to Holy War against Tyranny. This is not our war.

      John Reed, "The Traders War," The Masses, September 1914 - Marxists.Org. Reed was portrayed by actor Warren Beatty in the 1981 movie Reds. Contributors to this graphically innovative Socialist journal also included other notable progressives of the day like Dorothy Day, Carl Sandburg, Upton Sinclair, and Louise Bryant.  "The Deserter" was an anti-war editorial cartoon by Canadian-American cartoonist Boardman Robinson and depicts a pacifistic Jesus being shot by European soldiers from five countries on both sides of the war.  Robinson, Reed, and other writers from The Masses were tried for treason under the Espionage Act of 1917 but acquitted by a jury.  Cartoon credits: Wikipedia and Today in Social Sciences.  The first poster is an Italian portrayal of Kaiser Wilhelm II from 1915 and depict his imperialist designs.  Poster credit: Spartacus Educational (U.K.).

      •  Fifty members of Congress voted against our (7+ / 0-)

        entry into WWI too, including Jeannette Rankin from Montana, the first woman elected to Congress. A lifelong pacifist, she also voted against going to war with Japan after Pearl Harbor, the only member of Congress to vote no. She was considering another run for Congress in the early 70s, to vote against further expansion of the Vietnam war, but she died in '73.

        stay together / learn the flowers / go light - Gary Snyder

        by Mother Mags on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 06:57:28 PM PST

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    •  What's so bad about pacifism? (1+ / 0-)
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      truong son traveler

      Geez, not being one is a badge of honor around here...

      "Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die," - Buddha.

      by sujigu on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 06:26:03 AM PST

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      •  No problem w/pacifism here :-) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I'm a pacifist, even though I was in the military.  Wanna argue about it?  I'll punch you in the nose.  /snark

        Seriously, though, Butler was one of the first commanders to openly acknowledge that, for all intents and purposes, his role was mercenary in nature for the corporate collective that serves as the U.S. government.  He didn't have a problem with being a warrior; he just did so with his eyes open.

        "Mitt who? That's an odd name. Like an oven mitt, you mean? Oh, yeah, I've got one of those. Used it at the Atlas Society BBQ last summer when I was flipping ribs."

        by Richard Cranium on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 07:14:03 AM PST

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        •  In his pamphlet, it seems that he didn't really (0+ / 0-)

          Have them opened until he retired.

          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 clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out.

          "We refuse to fight in a war started by men who refused to fight in a war." -freewayblogger

          by Bisbonian on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:04:33 PM PST

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