War is a Racket: The Profit Motive behind Warfare.
By Smedley D. Butler. 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 international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described 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.
About the author: Smedley Darlington Butler (1881-1940), nicknamed “The Fighting Quaker” and “Old Gimlet Eye,” was a Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps, and at the time of his death the most decorated Marine in U.S. history.
By the end of his career he had received 16 medals, five of which were for heroism. He is one of 19 people to be twice awarded the Medal of Honor, one of three to be awarded both the Marine Corps Brevet Medal and the Medal of Honor, and the only person to be awarded the Brevet Medal and two Medals of Honor, all for separate actions. He became widely-known for his outspoken lectures against war profiteering, U.S. military adventurism and what he viewed as nascent fascism in the United States.
In addition to his speeches to pacifist groups, from 1935 to 1937 he served as a spokesman for the American League Against War and Fascism.
In 1935, he wrote the exposé War Is a Racket, a trenchant condemnation of the profit motive behind warfare. This is Butler’s famous speech denouncing the military-industrial complex.
This anti-war speech exposes war profits that benefit few at the expense of many. Throughout his distinguished career in the Marines, Smedley Darlington Butler demonstrated that true patriotism does not mean blind allegiance to government policies with which one does not agree. Sections include: “War is a Racket”; “Who Makes the Profits?”; “Who Pays the Bills?”; “How to Smash this Racket!; and “To Hell with War!”
Softcover booklet, 6″×9″, 40 pages
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