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War Is A Racket

                      By Major General Smedley Butler


                    Chapter 1: War Is A Racket

                    Chapter 2: Who Makes The Profits?

                    Chapter 3: Who Pays The Bills?

                    Chapter 4: How To Smash This Racket!

                    Chapter 5: To Hell With War!

     Smedley Darlington Butler

        * Born: West Chester, Pa., July 30, 1881
        * Educated: Haverford School
        * Married: Ethel C. Peters, of Philadelphia, June 30, 1905
        * Awarded two congressional medals of honor:
            1. capture of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1914
            2. capture of Ft. Riviere, Haiti, 1917
        * Distinguished service medal, 1919
        * Major General - United States Marine Corps
        * Retired Oct. 1, 1931
        * On leave of absence to act as
          director of Dept. of Safety, Philadelphia, 1932
        * Lecturer -- 1930's
        * Republican Candidate for Senate, 1932
        * Died at Naval Hospital, Philadelphia, June 21, 1940
        * For more information about Major General Butler,
          contact the United States Marine Corps.


     War Is A Racket

     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, 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.

     In the World War [I] 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.

     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? How many of them spent
     sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and
     machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of
     an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

     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

     And what is this bill?

     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.

     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.

     Again they are choosing sides. France and Russia met and agreed to
     stand side by side. Italy and Austria hurried to make a similar
     agreement. Poland and Germany cast sheep's eyes at each other,
     forgetting for the nonce [one unique occasion], their dispute over
     the Polish Corridor.

     The assassination of King Alexander of Jugoslavia [Yugoslavia]
     complicated matters. Jugoslavia and Hungary, long bitter enemies,
     were almost at each other's throats. Italy was ready to jump in.
     But France was waiting. So was Czechoslovakia. All of them are
     looking ahead to war. Not the people -- not those who fight and
     pay and die -- only those who foment wars and remain safely at
     home to profit.

     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

     Not in Italy, to be sure. Premier Mussolini knows what they are
     being trained for. He, at least, is frank enough to speak out.
     Only the other day, Il Duce in "International Conciliation," the
     publication of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,

          "And above all, Fascism, the more it considers and
          observes the future and the development of humanity
          quite apart from political considerations of the moment,
          believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of
          perpetual peace. . . . War alone brings up to its
          highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of
          nobility upon the people who have the courage to meet

     Undoubtedly Mussolini means exactly what he says. His well-trained
     army, his great fleet of planes, and even his navy are ready for
     war -- anxious for it, apparently. His recent stand at the side of
     Hungary in the latter's dispute with Jugoslavia showed that. And
     the hurried mobilization of his troops on the Austrian border
     after the assassination of Dollfuss showed it too. There are
     others in Europe too whose sabre rattling presages war, sooner or

     Herr Hitler, with his rearming Germany and his constant demands
     for more and more arms, is an equal if not greater menace to
     peace. France only recently increased the term of military service
     for its youth from a year to eighteen months.

     Yes, all over, nations are camping in their arms. The mad dogs of
     Europe are on the loose. In the Orient the maneuvering is more
     adroit. Back in 1904, when Russia and Japan fought, we kicked out
     our old friends the Russians and backed Japan. Then our very
     generous international bankers were financing Japan. Now the trend
     is to poison us against the Japanese. What does the "open door"
     policy to China mean to us? Our trade with China is about
     $90,000,000 a year. Or the Philippine Islands? We have spent about
     $600,000,000 in the Philippines in thirty-five years and we (our
     bankers and industrialists and speculators) have private
     investments there of less than $200,000,000.

     Then, to save that China trade of about $90,000,000, or to protect
     these private investments of less than $200,000,000 in the
     Philippines, we would be all stirred up to hate Japan and go to
     war -- a war that might well cost us tens of billions of dollars,
     hundreds of thousands of lives of Americans, and many more
     hundreds of thousands of physically maimed and mentally unbalanced

     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.

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

     But what does it profit the men who are killed? What does it
     profit their mothers and sisters, their wives and their
     sweethearts? What does it profit their children?

     What does it profit anyone except the very few to whom war means
     huge profits?

     Yes, and what does it profit the nation?

     Take our own case. Until 1898 we didn't own a bit of territory
     outside the mainland of North America. At that time our national
     debt was a little more than $1,000,000,000. Then we became
     "internationally minded." We forgot, or shunted aside, the advice
     of the Father of our country. We forgot George Washington's
     warning about "entangling alliances." We went to war. We acquired
     outside territory. At the end of the World War period, as a direct
     result of our fiddling in international affairs, our national debt
     had jumped to over $25,000,000,000. Our total favorable trade
     balance during the twenty-five-year period was about
     $24,000,000,000. Therefore, on a purely bookkeeping basis, we ran
     a little behind year for year, and that foreign trade might well
     have been ours without the wars.

     It would have been far cheaper (not to say safer) for the average
     American who pays the bills to stay out of foreign entanglements.
     For a very few this racket, like bootlegging and other underworld
     rackets, brings fancy profits, but the cost of operations is
     always transferred to the people -- who do not profit.


     Who Makes The Profits?

     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

     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.

     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. Let's just take a few

     Take our friends the du Ponts, the powder people -- didn't one of
     them testify before a Senate committee recently that their powder
     won the war? Or saved the world for democracy? Or something? How
     did they do in the war? They were a patriotic corporation. Well,
     the average earnings of the du Ponts for the period 1910 to 1914
     were $6,000,000 a year. It wasn't much, but the du Ponts managed
     to get along on it. Now let's look at their average yearly profit
     during the war years, 1914 to 1918. Fifty-eight million dollars a
     year profit we find! Nearly ten times that of normal times, and
     the profits of normal times were pretty good. An increase in
     profits of more than 950 per cent.

     Take one of our little steel companies that patriotically shunted
     aside the making of rails and girders and bridges to manufacture
     war materials. Well, their 1910-1914 yearly earnings averaged
     $6,000,000. Then came the war. And, like loyal citizens, Bethlehem
     Steel promptly turned to munitions making. Did their profits jump
     -- or did they let Uncle Sam in for a bargain? Well, their
     1914-1918 average was $49,000,000 a year!

     Or, let's take United States Steel. The normal earnings during the
     five-year period prior to the war were $105,000,000 a year. Not
     bad. Then along came the war and up went the profits. The average
     yearly profit for the period 1914-1918 was $240,000,000. Not bad.

     There you have some of the steel and powder earnings. Let's look
     at something else. A little copper, perhaps. That always does well
     in war times.

     Anaconda, for instance. Average yearly earnings during the pre-war
     years 1910-1914 of $10,000,000. During the war years 1914-1918
     profits leaped to $34,000,000 per year.

     Or Utah Copper. Average of $5,000,000 per year during the
     1910-1914 period. Jumped to an average of $21,000,000 yearly
     profits for the war period.

     Let's group these five, with three smaller companies. The total
     yearly average profits of the pre-war period 1910-1914 were
     $137,480,000. Then along came the war. The average yearly profits
     for this group skyrocketed to $408,300,000.

     A little increase in profits of approximately 200 per cent.

     Does war pay? It paid them. But they aren't the only ones. There
     are still others. Let's take leather.

     For the three-year period before the war the total profits of
     Central Leather Company were $3,500,000. That was approximately
     $1,167,000 a year. Well, in 1916 Central Leather returned a profit
     of $15,000,000, a small increase of 1,100 per cent. That's all.
     The General Chemical Company averaged a profit for the three years
     before the war of a little over $800,000 a year. Came the war, and
     the profits jumped to $12,000,000. a leap of 1,400 per cent.

     International Nickel Company -- and you can't have a war without
     nickel -- showed an increase in profits from a mere average of
     $4,000,000 a year to $73,000,000 yearly. Not bad? An increase of
     more than 1,700 per cent.

     American Sugar Refining Company averaged $2,000,000 a year for the
     three years before the war. In 1916 a profit of $6,000,000 was

     Listen to Senate Document No. 259. The Sixty-Fifth Congress,
     reporting on corporate earnings and government revenues.
     Considering the profits of 122 meat packers, 153 cotton
     manufacturers, 299 garment makers, 49 steel plants, and 340 coal
     producers during the war. Profits under 25 per cent were
     exceptional. For instance the coal companies made between 100 per
     cent and 7,856 per cent on their capital stock during the war. The
     Chicago packers doubled and tripled their earnings.

     And let us not forget the bankers who financed the great war. If
     anyone had the cream of the profits it was the bankers. Being
     partnerships rather than incorporated organizations, they do not
     have to report to stockholders. And their profits were as secret
     as they were immense. How the bankers made their millions and
     their billions I do not know, because those little secrets never
     become public -- even before a Senate investigatory body.

     But here's how some of the other patriotic industrialists and
     speculators chiseled their way into war profits.

     Take the shoe people. They like war. It brings business with
     abnormal profits. They made huge profits on sales abroad to our
     allies. Perhaps, like the munitions manufacturers and armament
     makers, they also sold to the enemy. For a dollar is a dollar
     whether it comes from Germany or from France. But they did well by
     Uncle Sam too. For instance, they sold Uncle Sam 35,000,000 pairs
     of hobnailed service shoes. There were 4,000,000 soldiers. Eight
     pairs, and more, to a soldier. My regiment during the war had only
     one pair to a soldier. Some of these shoes probably are still in
     existence. They were good shoes. But when the war was over Uncle
     Sam has a matter of 25,000,000 pairs left over. Bought -- and paid
     for. Profits recorded and pocketed.

     There was still lots of leather left. So the leather people sold
     your Uncle Sam hundreds of thousands of McClellan saddles for the
     cavalry. But there wasn't any American cavalry overseas! Somebody
     had to get rid of this leather, however. Somebody had to make a
     profit in it -- so we had a lot of McClellan saddles. And we
     probably have those yet.

     Also somebody had a lot of mosquito netting. They sold your Uncle
     Sam 20,000,000 mosquito nets for the use of the soldiers overseas.
     I suppose the boys were expected to put it over them as they tried
     to sleep in muddy trenches -- one hand scratching cooties on their
     backs and the other making passes at scurrying rats. Well, not one
     of these mosquito nets ever got to France!

     Anyhow, these thoughtful manufacturers wanted to make sure that no
     soldier would be without his mosquito net, so 40,000,000
     additional yards of mosquito netting were sold to Uncle Sam.

     There were pretty good profits in mosquito netting in those days,
     even if there were no mosquitoes in France. I suppose, if the war
     had lasted just a little longer, the enterprising mosquito netting
     manufacturers would have sold your Uncle Sam a couple of
     consignments of mosquitoes to plant in France so that more
     mosquito netting would be in order.

     Airplane and engine manufacturers felt they, too, should get their
     just profits out of this war. Why not? Everybody else was getting
     theirs. So $1,000,000,000 -- count them if you live long enough --
     was spent by Uncle Sam in building airplane engines that never
     left the ground! Not one plane, or motor, out of the billion
     dollars worth ordered, ever got into a battle in France. Just the
     same the manufacturers made their little profit of 30, 100, or
     perhaps 300 per cent.

     Undershirts for soldiers cost 14¢ [cents] to make and uncle Sam
     paid 30¢ to 40¢ each for them -- a nice little profit for the
     undershirt manufacturer. And the stocking manufacturer and the
     uniform manufacturers and the cap manufacturers and the steel
     helmet manufacturers -- all got theirs.

     Why, when the war was over some 4,000,000 sets of equipment --
     knapsacks and the things that go to fill them -- crammed
     warehouses on this side. Now they are being scrapped because the
     regulations have changed the contents. But the manufacturers
     collected their wartime profits on them -- and they will do it all
     over again the next time.

     There were lots of brilliant ideas for profit making during the

     One very versatile patriot sold Uncle Sam twelve dozen 48-inch
     wrenches. Oh, they were very nice wrenches. The only trouble was
     that there was only one nut ever made that was large enough for
     these wrenches. That is the one that holds the turbines at Niagara
     Falls. Well, after Uncle Sam had bought them and the manufacturer
     had pocketed the profit, the wrenches were put on freight cars and
     shunted all around the United States in an effort to find a use
     for them. When the Armistice was signed it was indeed a sad blow
     to the wrench manufacturer. He was just about to make some nuts to
     fit the wrenches. Then he planned to sell these, too, to your
     Uncle Sam.

     Still another had the brilliant idea that colonels shouldn't ride
     in automobiles, nor should they even ride on horseback. One has
     probably seen a picture of Andy Jackson riding in a buckboard.
     Well, some 6,000 buckboards were sold to Uncle Sam for the use of
     colonels! Not one of them was used. But the buckboard manufacturer
     got his war profit.

     The shipbuilders felt they should come in on some of it, too. They
     built a lot of ships that made a lot of profit. More than
     $3,000,000,000 worth. Some of the ships were all right. But
     $635,000,000 worth of them were made of wood and wouldn't float!
     The seams opened up -- and they sank. We paid for them, though.
     And somebody pocketed the profits.

     It has been estimated by statisticians and economists and
     researchers that the war cost your Uncle Sam $52,000,000,000. Of
     this sum, $39,000,000,000 was expended in the actual war itself.
     This expenditure yielded $16,000,000,000 in profits. That is how
     the 21,000 billionaires and millionaires got that way. This
     $16,000,000,000 profits is not to be sneezed at. It is quite a
     tidy sum. And it went to a very few.

     The Senate (Nye) committee probe of the munitions industry and its
     wartime profits, despite its sensational disclosures, hardly has
     scratched the surface.

     Even so, it has had some effect. The State Department has been
     studying "for some time" methods of keeping out of war. The War
     Department suddenly decides it has a wonderful plan to spring. The
     Administration names a committee -- with the War and Navy
     Departments ably represented under the chairmanship of a Wall
     Street speculator -- to limit profits in war time. To what extent
     isn't suggested. Hmmm. Possibly the profits of 300 and 600 and
     1,600 per cent of those who turned blood into gold in the World
     War would be limited to some smaller figure.

     Apparently, however, the plan does not call for any limitation of
     losses -- that is, the losses of those who fight the war. As far
     as I have been able to ascertain there is nothing in the scheme to
     limit a soldier to the loss of but one eye, or one arm, or to
     limit his wounds to one or two or three. Or to limit the loss of

     There is nothing in this scheme, apparently, that says not more
     than 12 per cent of a regiment shall be wounded in battle, or that
     not more than 7 per cent in a division shall be killed.

     Of course, the committee cannot be bothered with such trifling


     Who Pays The Bills?

     Who provides the profits -- these nice little profits of 20, 100,
     300, 1,500 and 1,800 per cent? We all pay them -- in taxation. We
     paid the bankers their profits when we bought Liberty Bonds at
     $100.00 and sold them back at $84 or $86 to the bankers. These
     bankers collected $100 plus. It was a simple manipulation. The
     bankers control the security marts. It was easy for them to
     depress the price of these bonds. Then all of us -- the people --
     got frightened and sold the bonds at $84 or $86. The bankers
     bought them. Then these same bankers stimulated a boom and
     government bonds went to par -- and above. Then the bankers
     collected their profits.

     But the soldier pays the biggest part of the bill.

     If you don't believe this, visit the American cemeteries on the
     battlefields abroad. Or visit any of the veteran's hospitals in
     the United States. On a tour of the country, in the midst of which
     I am at the time of this writing, I have visited eighteen
     government hospitals for veterans. In them are a total of about
     50,000 destroyed men -- men who were the pick of the nation
     eighteen years ago. The very able chief surgeon at the government
     hospital; at Milwaukee, where there are 3,800 of the living dead,
     told me that mortality among veterans is three times as great as
     among those who stayed at home.

     Boys with a normal viewpoint were taken out of the fields and
     offices and factories and classrooms and put into the ranks. There
     they were remolded; they were made over; they were made to "about
     face"; to regard murder as the order of the day. They were put
     shoulder to shoulder and, through mass psychology, they were
     entirely changed. We used them for a couple of years and trained
     them to think nothing at all of killing or of being killed.

     Then, suddenly, we discharged them and told them to make another
     "about face" ! This time they had to do their own readjustment,
     sans [without] mass psychology, sans officers' aid and advice and
     sans nation-wide propaganda. We didn't need them any more. So we
     scattered them about without any "three-minute" or "Liberty Loan"
     speeches or parades. Many, too many, of these fine young boys are
     eventually destroyed, mentally, because they could not make that
     final "about face" alone.

     In the government hospital in Marion, Indiana, 1,800 of these boys
     are in pens! Five hundred of them in a barracks with steel bars
     and wires all around outside the buildings and on the porches.
     These already have been mentally destroyed. These boys don't even
     look like human beings. Oh, the looks on their faces! Physically,
     they are in good shape; mentally, they are gone.

     There are thousands and thousands of these cases, and more and
     more are coming in all the time. The tremendous excitement of the
     war, the sudden cutting off of that excitement -- the young boys
     couldn't stand it.

     That's a part of the bill. So much for the dead -- they have paid
     their part of the war profits. So much for the mentally and
     physically wounded -- they are paying now their share of the war
     profits. But the others paid, too -- they paid with heartbreaks
     when they tore themselves away from their firesides and their
     families to don the uniform of Uncle Sam -- on which a profit had
     been made. They paid another part in the training camps where they
     were regimented and drilled while others took their jobs and their
     places in the lives of their communities. The paid for it in the
     trenches where they shot and were shot; where they were hungry for
     days at a time; where they slept in the mud and the cold and in
     the rain -- with the moans and shrieks of the dying for a horrible

     But don't forget -- the soldier paid part of the dollars and cents
     bill too.

     Up to and including the Spanish-American War, we had a prize
     system, and soldiers and sailors fought for money. During the
     Civil War they were paid bonuses, in many instances, before they
     went into service. The government, or states, paid as high as
     $1,200 for an enlistment. In the Spanish-American War they gave
     prize money. When we captured any vessels, the soldiers all got
     their share -- at least, they were supposed to. Then it was found
     that we could reduce the cost of wars by taking all the prize
     money and keeping it, but conscripting [drafting] the soldier
     anyway. Then soldiers couldn't bargain for their labor, Everyone
     else could bargain, but the soldier couldn't.

     Napoleon once said,

          "All men are enamored of decorations . . . they
          positively hunger for them."

     So by developing the Napoleonic system -- the medal business --
     the government learned it could get soldiers for less money,
     because the boys liked to be decorated. Until the Civil War there
     were no medals. Then the Congressional Medal of Honor was handed
     out. It made enlistments easier. After the Civil War no new medals
     were issued until the Spanish-American War.

     In the World War, we used propaganda to make the boys accept
     conscription. They were made to feel ashamed if they didn't join
     the army.

     So vicious was this war propaganda that even God was brought into
     it. With few exceptions our clergymen joined in the clamor to
     kill, kill, kill. To kill the Germans. God is on our side . . . it
     is His will that the Germans be killed.

     And in Germany, the good pastors called upon the Germans to kill
     the allies . . . to please the same God. That was a part of the
     general propaganda, built up to make people war conscious and
     murder conscious.

     Beautiful ideals were painted for our boys who were sent out to
     die. This was the "war to end all wars." This was the "war to make
     the world safe for democracy." No one mentioned to them, as they
     marched away, that their going and their dying would mean huge war
     profits. No one told these American soldiers that they might be
     shot down by bullets made by their own brothers here. No one told
     them that the ships on which they were going to cross might be
     torpedoed by submarines built with United States patents. They
     were just told it was to be a "glorious adventure."

     Thus, having stuffed patriotism down their throats, it was decided
     to make them help pay for the war, too. So, we gave them the large
     salary of $30 a month.

     All they had to do for this munificent sum was to leave their dear
     ones behind, give up their jobs, lie in swampy trenches, eat
     canned willy (when they could get it) and kill and kill and kill .
     . . and be killed.

     But wait!

     Half of that wage (just a little more than a riveter in a shipyard
     or a laborer in a munitions factory safe at home made in a day)
     was promptly taken from him to support his dependents, so that
     they would not become a charge upon his community. Then we made
     him pay what amounted to accident insurance -- something the
     employer pays for in an enlightened state -- and that cost him $6
     a month. He had less than $9 a month left.

     Then, the most crowning insolence of all -- he was virtually
     blackjacked into paying for his own ammunition, clothing, and food
     by being made to buy Liberty Bonds. Most soldiers got no money at
     all on pay days.

     We made them buy Liberty Bonds at $100 and then we bought them
     back -- when they came back from the war and couldn't find work --
     at $84 and $86. And the soldiers bought about $2,000,000,000 worth
     of these bonds!

     Yes, the soldier pays the greater part of the bill. His family
     pays too. They pay it in the same heart-break that he does. As he
     suffers, they suffer. At nights, as he lay in the trenches and
     watched shrapnel burst about him, they lay home in their beds and
     tossed sleeplessly -- his father, his mother, his wife, his
     sisters, his brothers, his sons, and his daughters.

     When he returned home minus an eye, or minus a leg or with his
     mind broken, they suffered too -- as much as and even sometimes
     more than he. Yes, and they, too, contributed their dollars to the
     profits of the munitions makers and bankers and shipbuilders and
     the manufacturers and the speculators made. They, too, bought
     Liberty Bonds and contributed to the profit of the bankers after
     the Armistice in the hocus-pocus of manipulated Liberty Bond

     And even now the families of the wounded men and of the mentally
     broken and those who never were able to readjust themselves are
     still suffering and still paying.


     How To Smash This Racket!

     WELL, it's a racket, all right.

     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.

     The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and
     industry and labor before the nations manhood can be conscripted.
     One month before the Government can conscript the young men of the
     nation -- it must conscript capital and industry and labor. Let
     the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of
     our armament factories and our munitions makers and our
     shipbuilders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of
     all the other things that provide profit in war time as well as
     the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted -- to get $30 a
     month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get.

     Let the workers in these plants get the same wages -- all the
     workers, all presidents, all executives, all directors, all
     managers, all bankers -- yes, and all generals and all admirals
     and all officers and all politicians and all government office
     holders -- everyone in the nation be restricted to a total monthly
     income not to exceed that paid to the soldier in the trenches!

     Let all these kings and tycoons and masters of business and all
     those workers in industry and all our senators and governors and
     majors pay half of their monthly $30 wage to their families and
     pay war risk insurance and buy Liberty Bonds.

     Why shouldn't they?

     They aren't running any risk of being killed or of having their
     bodies mangled or their minds shattered. They aren't sleeping in
     muddy trenches. They aren't hungry. The soldiers are!

     Give capital and industry and labor thirty days to think it over
     and you will find, by that time, there will be no war. That will
     smash the war racket -- that and nothing else.

     Maybe I am a little too optimistic. Capital still has some say. So
     capital won't permit the taking of the profit out of war until the
     people -- those who do the suffering and still pay the price --
     make up their minds that those they elect to office shall do their
     bidding, and not that of the profiteers.

     Another step necessary in this fight to smash the war racket is
     the limited plebiscite to determine whether a war should be
     declared. A plebiscite not of all the voters but merely of those
     who would be called upon to do the fighting and dying. There
     wouldn't be very much sense in having a 76-year-old president of a
     munitions factory or the flat-footed head of an international
     banking firm or the cross-eyed manager of a uniform manufacturing
     plant -- all of whom see visions of tremendous profits in the
     event of war -- voting on whether the nation should go to war or
     not. They never would be called upon to shoulder arms -- to sleep
     in a trench and to be shot. Only those who would be called upon to
     risk their lives for their country should have the privilege of
     voting to determine whether the nation should go to war.

     There is ample precedent for restricting the voting to those
     affected. Many of our states have restrictions on those permitted
     to vote. In most, it is necessary to be able to read and write
     before you may vote. In some, you must own property. It would be a
     simple matter each year for the men coming of military age to
     register in their communities as they did in the draft during the
     World War and be examined physically. Those who could pass and who
     would therefore be called upon to bear arms in the event of war
     would be eligible to vote in a limited plebiscite. They should be
     the ones to have the power to decide -- and not a Congress few of
     whose members are within the age limit and fewer still of whom are
     in physical condition to bear arms. Only those who must suffer
     should have the right to vote.

     A third step in this business of smashing the war racket is to
     make certain that our military forces are truly forces for defense

     At each session of Congress the question of further naval
     appropriations comes up. The swivel-chair admirals of Washington
     (and there are always a lot of them) are very adroit lobbyists.
     And they are smart. They don't shout that "We need a lot of
     battleships to war on this nation or that nation." Oh no. First of
     all, they let it be known that America is menaced by a great naval
     power. Almost any day, these admirals will tell you, the great
     fleet of this supposed enemy will strike suddenly and annihilate
     125,000,000 people. Just like that. Then they begin to cry for a
     larger navy. For what? To fight the enemy? Oh my, no. Oh, no. For
     defense purposes only.

     Then, incidentally, they announce maneuvers in the Pacific. For
     defense. Uh, huh.

     The Pacific is a great big ocean. We have a tremendous coastline
     on the Pacific. Will the maneuvers be off the coast, two or three
     hundred miles? Oh, no. The maneuvers will be two thousand, yes,
     perhaps even thirty-five hundred miles, off the coast.

     The Japanese, a proud people, of course will be pleased beyond
     expression to see the united States fleet so close to Nippon's
     shores. Even as pleased as would be the residents of California
     were they to dimly discern through the morning mist, the Japanese
     fleet playing at war games off Los Angeles.

     The ships of our navy, it can be seen, should be specifically
     limited, by law, to within 200 miles of our coastline. Had that
     been the law in 1898 the Maine would never have gone to Havana
     Harbor. She never would have been blown up. There would have been
     no war with Spain with its attendant loss of life. Two hundred
     miles is ample, in the opinion of experts, for defense purposes.
     Our nation cannot start an offensive war if its ships can't go
     further than 200 miles from the coastline. Planes might be
     permitted to go as far as 500 miles from the coast for purposes of
     reconnaissance. And the army should never leave the territorial
     limits of our nation.

     To summarize: Three steps must be taken to smash the war racket.

       1. We must take the profit out of war.

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

       3. We must limit our military forces to home defense purposes.


     To Hell With War!

     I am not a fool as to believe that war is a thing of the past. I
     know the people do not want war, but there is no use in saying we
     cannot be pushed into another war.

     Looking back, Woodrow Wilson was re-elected president in 1916 on a
     platform that he had "kept us out of war" and on the implied
     promise that he would "keep us out of war." Yet, five months later
     he asked Congress to declare war on Germany.

     In that five-month interval the people had not been asked whether
     they had changed their minds. The 4,000,000 young men who put on
     uniforms and marched or sailed away were not asked whether they
     wanted to go forth to suffer and die.

     Then what caused our government to change its mind so suddenly?


     An allied commission, it may be recalled, came over shortly before
     the war declaration and called on the President. The President
     summoned a group of advisers. The head of the commission spoke.
     Stripped of its diplomatic language, this is what he told the
     President and his group:

          "There is no use kidding ourselves any longer. The cause
          of the allies is lost. We now owe you (American bankers,
          American munitions makers, American manufacturers,
          American speculators, American exporters) five or six
          billion dollars.

          If we lose (and without the help of the United States we
          must lose) we, England, France and Italy, cannot pay
          back this money . . . and Germany won't.

          So . . . "

     Had secrecy been outlawed as far as war negotiations were
     concerned, and had the press been invited to be present at that
     conference, or had radio been available to broadcast the
     proceedings, America never would have entered the World War. But
     this conference, like all war discussions, was shrouded in utmost
     secrecy. When our boys were sent off to war they were told it was
     a "war to make the world safe for democracy" and a "war to end all

     Well, eighteen years after, the world has less of democracy than
     it had then. Besides, what business is it of ours whether Russia
     or Germany or England or France or Italy or Austria live under
     democracies or monarchies? Whether they are Fascists or
     Communists? Our problem is to preserve our own democracy.

     And very little, if anything, has been accomplished to assure us
     that the World War was really the war to end all wars.

     Yes, we have had disarmament conferences and limitations of arms
     conferences. They don't mean a thing. One has just failed; the
     results of another have been nullified. We send our professional
     soldiers and our sailors and our politicians and our diplomats to
     these conferences. And what happens?

     The professional soldiers and sailors don't want to disarm. No
     admiral wants to be without a ship. No general wants to be without
     a command. Both mean men without jobs. They are not for
     disarmament. They cannot be for limitations of arms. And at all
     these conferences, lurking in the background but all-powerful,
     just the same, are the sinister agents of those who profit by war.
     They see to it that these conferences do not disarm or seriously
     limit armaments.

     The chief aim of any power at any of these conferences has not
     been to achieve disarmament to prevent war but rather to get more
     armament for itself and less for any potential foe.

     There is only one way to disarm with any semblance of
     practicability. That is for all nations to get together and scrap
     every ship, every gun, every rifle, every tank, every war plane.
     Even this, if it were possible, would not be enough.

     The next war, according to experts, will be fought not with
     battleships, not by artillery, not with rifles and not with
     machine guns. It will be fought with deadly chemicals and gases.

     Secretly each nation is studying and perfecting newer and
     ghastlier means of annihilating its foes wholesale. Yes, ships
     will continue to be built, for the shipbuilders must make their
     profits. And guns still will be manufactured and powder and rifles
     will be made, for the munitions makers must make their huge
     profits. And the soldiers, of course, must wear uniforms, for the
     manufacturer must make their war profits too.

     But victory or defeat will be determined by the skill and
     ingenuity of our scientists.

     If we put them to work making poison gas and more and more
     fiendish mechanical and explosive instruments of destruction, they
     will have no time for the constructive job of building greater
     prosperity for all peoples. By putting them to this useful job, we
     can all make more money out of peace than we can out of war --
     even the munitions makers.

     So...I say,


       http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html (hypertext)
       http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.txt  (text only)
       http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.pdf (print ready)



History does rhyme.

A hat tip to to those who served honorably and to those who in doing so paid the highest price.

And to those unbeloved pol-weasels, financiers and neoclown chicken hawks who love to  bluster and flatter themselves with hypocritical bullshit and "freedom fries" on a day that should be reserved for contemplation and remembrance...Up Yours!


Happy Memorial Day 2014!





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dizzyfingers's picture

"Where are the Smedly Butlers of this world?"

I just read his book. Haven't read his bio but believe his experiences in life and perspicacity allowed him to understand what he saw and experienced in a way that others don't. A unique individual.

dizzyfingers's picture

"Fed income tax began in 1918 - at the end of WWI.  Was to be temporary to help defray the cost of the war. "

If we pay tax, they will war.

dizzyfingers's picture

"Wall Steet is Whoar Street" -- also resembles black mold. Whoars don't kill (usually) but black mold does...

monad's picture

Whatever race you are, whatever religion you are, America is FREEDOM. 


the grateful unemployed's picture

Wall Steet is Whoar Street

monad's picture

war = religion

carpe diem, soldiers

life is sweetest at Edge City

williambanzai7's picture

Very thoughtful comment thread.

Tnx all!

radiobomb's picture

a pic > 1000+ words ..... thanks for the hundreds you post, and the humor they contain. Spot-on WB7.

New_Meat's picture

WB7, you serve them up, we'll be as frisky or serious as the situation demands--we all thank you for thought provoking material (and humour is a great way to bypass normal filtering as you well know).

- Ned

Troy Ounce's picture




Where are the Smedly Butlers of this world?

radiobomb's picture

.... not in politics, unfortunatly.......

janus's picture

WildBill, i do declare today's renderings first-rate in every way -- especially in the comment section (funny how you often cast some of your best stuff down here in the arena). 

war?  penny for your thoughts, janus?  why not?

war sucks and all that, and it's probably more dreadful than our worstest first-person-shooter-fantasies -- if that's possible.  yes, i'd guess blood in its pixialted form is pretty fuckin grim (not that i've ever played those games...i'm just trying to imagine all the two-dimensional horror you millenials poured over your medula oblongadas for a decade or more), but real blood is probably almost as bad...and real death is likely something similarly unpleasant...like the way you felt when your cyber-buddy, zach (from milwalkee), was taken down by that cyber bad-ass from tallahasse.  that was pretty fuckin intense...i can only imagine the grief. 

anyway, if we're discussing 'war' as a concept, there are some peculiar things concerning 'war'; at least as far as janus is concerned, and no subject is important to me unless it in some way affects me.  and since war has a way of intruding on peace, and because janus is highly prejudiced in favor of peace, there is no getting around it -- janus must talk war.

the first thing i've always noticed about wars is that they get themselves well underway without consulting me or checking to see if i think it a worthy undertaking.  wars get started and no one even asks my permission?  what the fuck is that all about?  i have a big problem with all this impudent war-making; and when i found out that they were doing it behind my back, in spite of the fact that they knew i wouldn't approve, well, i was fit to be tied!  

another thing about war, it's comming -- and like, BIG TIME.  i'm obviously not advocating, i'm only whispering a truth.  pssst!  BIG TIME WAR IS COMMING...don't pass it on!  like i was saying, it sucks and all but war is that other default/discrete setting of the human species (the other being peace).  the thing about this one is, i do believe they'll be able to set it off and establish it firmly; but i don't think they'll be able to sustain domestic support for very long.  especially once the people start to comprehend the scope of what's next.  again, like i was saying, mega BIG TIME WAR is on its way.  

sure, write your congressman...go holler at your senator and interrupt some insipid city-hall ho-down.  write a bunch-a letters to editors.  sign endless petitions.  get involved!  you'll only make things worse.  there is one and only one solution to this mess, i've tried all i can to stress its importance.  and though the longing for revolution exists, there is at the same time no will to it.  the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, as they say.

vive le France!  btw.

what was i saying?  oh, yes, warfare...well, i don't know...in the end, there seems to be a great will to war -- the various civilizations are restless, malcontented, bored, anxious, disaffected, cynical, angry, fearful and, more than anything, seemingly resigned to the notion that BIG TIME WAR is on the way.  it does seem to be.  the ruling class within these respective societies get all this; and they further understand that, in times like these, the alternative to war is domestic havoc.  they will most certainly channel these negative energies into something that is at the very least stabilizing.  wars have a way of galvanizing societies. 

war is also the herald of a great time of jubilee.  once it's commenced all bets are off!  all 30 year t-notes in 'belligerent' hands are suddenly voided.  whew!  that was close...we thought we were gonna have to pawn detriot for a minute there.  if i were the sly and cagy sort, i'd be taking out massive loans drawn from any chinese bank to which i could drive, fly, boat or rickshaw.  reappropriating the enemy's principal is the patriotic thing to do in a time of war.

here's another queer feature peculiar to warfare:  no matter who you are, no matter where you may be reading, no matter who governs you, you will be on the side of the 'good guys'.  shit, bitchez, simply by virtue of living in this country i've always been on the side of truth, justice and democracy.  who could possibly have a problem with all that?  the 'bad guys', that's who!

but by far the strangest and most unsettling aspect of war is its undying attraction for young men; it seems almost impossible to suffocate the impulse in a good share of them.  i can sympathize with this feeling.  and even though i can call it folly now -- at the ripe ole age of 39, i surely know that hundreds of millions now living would like nothing more.  these kids and their phases...sheesh.

what's a poor boy to do?  when a freight train is barreling down the tracks, i step out of its way -- that's my policy.  and so in that spirit, i would invite all millenials to set their first-person-shooter-fantasy to the turbo-gore setting and let the blood gush liberally.  one more thing, millenials...don't you worry yourselves one little bit about those girls you're leaving behind -- janus will personally see to it that they retain their virtue. 


it's time i learn to surf,


teslaberry's picture

chapter 4.  is a total load of shit. 

'how to stop the war racket'. there is no stopping it without stopping those in charge of it. smedley buttler writes from the perspective of a child. 


furthermore. conscription in the age of nukes , gps , tanks and drones, ---conscription is not much of an issue. 


think about the occupation of iraq for over 10 years costing less than 4000 american soldiers lives. vietnam took that and more every year. 

and if the powers that be wanted to or needed to conscript americans for military service. they could just nuke a west coast city, perhaps los angeles, and blame the chinese. easy peasy----every liberal hippy techie bitch in san francisco would work for free for a major defense contractor building the next big drone. and the rest of america would eating freedom fries. 


seriously. the raquet of war will never end until there is one world governemtn. and then the war raquet will simply make up a war with the moon or something. 

Yen Cross's picture

  Billy I get it. That was funny!

StychoKiller's picture

Thanks to all the commenters on this thread...Namasté

blindman's picture

"...In brief, this is a story of the Bolshevik Revolution and its aftermath, but a story that departs
from the usual conceptual straitjacket approach of capitalists versus Communists. Our story
postulates a partnership between international monopoly capitalism and international
revolutionary socialism for their mutual benefit. The final human cost of this alliance has fallen
upon the shoulders of the individual Russian and the individual American. Entrepreneurship
has been brought into disrepute and the world has been propelled toward inefficient socialist
planning as a result of these monopoly maneuverings in the world of politics and revolution.
This is also a story reflecting the betrayal of the Russian Revolution. The tsars and their corrupt
political system were ejected only to be replaced by the new powerbrokers of another corrupt
political system. Where the United States could have exerted its dominant influence to bring
about a free Russia it truckled to the ambitions of a few Wall Street financiers who, for their
own purposes, could accept a centralized tsarist Russia or a centralized Marxist Russia but not
a decentralized free Russia. And the reasons for these assertions will unfold as we develop the
underlying and, so far, untold history of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath.4"....

blindman's picture

1"These are the rules of big business. They have superseded the teachings of
our parents and are reducible to a simple maxim: Get a monopoly; let Society
work for you: and remember that the best of all business is politics, for a
legislative grant, franchise, subsidy or tax exemption is worth more than a
Kimberly or Comstock lode, since it does not require any labor, either mental
or physical, lot its exploitation" (Chicago: Public Publishing, 1906), p. 157.
...On the other hand, it may be observed that both the extreme right and the extreme left of the
conventional political spectrum are absolutely collectivist. The national socialist (for example,
the fascist) and the international socialist (for example, the Communist) both recommend
totalitarian politico-economic systems based on naked, unfettered political power and
individual coercion. Both systems require monopoly control of society. While monopoly control of industries was once the objective of J. P. Morgan and J. D. Rockefeller, by the late
nineteenth century the inner sanctums of Wall Street understood that the most efficient way to
gain an unchallenged monopoly was to "go political" and make society go to work for the
monopolists — under the name of the public good and the public interest. This strategy was
detailed in 1906 by Frederick C. Howe in his Confessions of a Monopolist.1 Howe, by the way,
is also a figure in the story of the Bolshevik Revolution.
Therefore, an alternative conceptual packaging of political ideas and politico-economic
systems would be that of ranking the degree of individual freedom versus the degree of
centralized political control. Under such an ordering the corporate welfare state and socialism
are at the same end of the spectrum. Hence we see that attempts at monopoly control of society
can have different labels while owning common features.
Consequently, one barrier to mature understanding of recent history is the notion that all
capitalists are the bitter and unswerving enemies of all Marxists and socialists. This erroneous
idea originated with Karl Marx and was undoubtedly useful to his purposes. In fact, the idea is
nonsense. There has been a continuing, albeit concealed, alliance between international
political capitalists and international revolutionary socialists — to their mutual benefit. This
alliance has gone unobserved largely because historians — with a few notable exceptions — have
an unconscious Marxian bias and are thus locked into the impossibility of any such alliance
existing. The open-minded reader should bear two clues in mind: monopoly capitalists are the
bitter enemies of laissez-faire entrepreneurs; and, given the weaknesses of socialist central
planning, the totalitarian socialist state is a perfect captive market for monopoly capitalists, if
an alliance can be made with the socialist powerbrokers. Suppose — and it is only hypothesis at
this point — that American monopoly capitalists were able to reduce a planned socialist Russia
to the status of a captive technical colony? Would not this be the logical twentieth-century
internationalist extension of the Morgan railroad monopolies and the Rockefeller petroleum
trust of the late nineteenth century?" ....a.c.s.

blindman's picture

"Why War Is Inevitable
Paul Craig Roberts

Memorial Day is when we commemorate our war dead. Like the Fourth of July, Memorial Day is being turned into a celebration of war.

Those who lose family members and dear friends to war don’t want the deaths to have been in vain. Consequently, wars become glorious deeds performed by noble soldiers fighting for truth, justice, and the American way. Patriotic speeches tell us how much we owe to those who gave their lives so that America could remain free.

The speeches are well-intentioned, but the speeches create a false reality that supports ever more wars. None of America’s wars had anything to do with keeping America free. To the contrary, the wars swept away our civil liberties, making us unfree." ...pcr..
Antony C. Sutton
..."This is also a story reflecting the betrayal of the Russian Revolution. The tsars and their corrupt
political system were ejected only to be replaced by the new powerbrokers of another corrupt
political system. Where the United States could have exerted its dominant influence to bring
about a free Russia it truckled to the ambitions of a few Wall Street financiers who, for their
own purposes, could accept a centralized tsarist Russia or a centralized Marxist Russia but not
a decentralized free Russia. And the reasons for these assertions will unfold as we develop the
underlying and, so far, untold history of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath.4"
another example of collective insanity financed by wall street.
a long discussion parsing the fine difference between amoral and immoral
takes place while several million people are tortured and murdered,
George Herbert Walker And Prescott Bush
Funded And Directed The Military Industrial Complex
Behind Adolf Hitler And The Nazi Revolution
by Webster G. Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin
from George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography
..... money

orangegeek's picture

Dick Cheney before he dicks you.

BeetleBailey's picture

Juuuuust KICK the sick twisted fuck if you ever see him.

DICK Cheney....name is appropriate.


Hey DICK...how's the ol' ticker....BOO!

radiobomb's picture

Smedley Butler is the voice of reason in the fog of war, very happy to see him referenced on-line, and +1000 to him for putting the truth out there.

monad's picture

Butler was the man of his time. You are now. NOW.

Obamanism's picture

Found this article in a recent email Kudos to Liberty Coin & Currency :

Why Soldiers Leave Coins as a memorial

by Liberty Coin & Currency



Have you ever noticed coins on a gravestone, and wondered why they were there? When a U.S. service member or loved one leaves a coin on a gravestone it has special significance. Though the meaning of this custom has changed over time, it’s a tradition with a long history.The idea of leaving coins with the departed dates back as far as the Greeks and Romans.

According to Greek mythology, the River Styx separates the living from the dead and Charon, the ferryman of Hades, will not carry your soul across without a payment. So unless you had a coin, your soul would be doomed to spend 100 years in solitude along the shore. This is why family members and loved ones would place coins in the mouths or over the eyes of the departed, in order to ensure safe passage into the afterlife.

Romans left coins of different denominations on graves. Each coin conveyed a different meaning. U.S. service members carried on the tradition after the Vietnam War. Soldiers used it as a way to communicate with their fallen comrade’s families without having to say a word. Since the politics surrounding the Vietnam War were so controversial, this nonverbal practice allowed soldiers to pay their respects without risking a debate with the family of the fallen. Each coin on a soldier’s grave tells a different story.

• Leaving a penny indicates that the person who left it knew them from military service. • A nickel on the grave, means they trained in boot camp together.

• If you see a dime on a soldier’s grave, it signifies that the person who left it served in the same company as the deceased.

• The most meaningful of all the denominations is the quarter. The quarter left on a grave means they were with the soldier when they died.

A different meaning for one soldier leaving change on another soldier’s grave is what’s called a “down payment.” A down payment simply means that the soldier wanted to be sure to let their buddy know, that he will buy him a drink on the other side. The change is a way of saying he’s good for it. It’s common practice for the cemeteries to eventually pick up the change, and put it towards grave maintenance for less fortunate departed soldiers.


Anyone takes a coin from a grave, No arrest, No trail by Jury, Instant execution.

Jumbotron's picture

Have you ever noticed coins on a gravestone, and wondered why they were there? When a U.S. service member or loved one leaves a coin on a gravestone it has special significance. Though the meaning of this custom has changed over time, it’s a tradition with a long history.The idea of leaving coins with the departed dates back as far as the Greeks and Romans.

According to Greek mythology, the River Styx separates the living from the dead and Charon, the ferryman of Hades, will not carry your soul across without a payment. So unless you had a coin, your soul would be doomed to spend 100 years in solitude along the shore. This is why family members and loved ones would place coins in the mouths or over the eyes of the departed, in order to ensure safe passage into the afterlife.


They should do it now in order to tell their fallen brethren that you died for this coin......and in doing so you died for nothing.  All of you died for the Elite's dream of Utopia.....which begins and ends with the acquisition of money.......which is the measurment of the spoils of war.  And the spoils of war ensure the Elites of the material means and raw goods to fuel the Global Ponzi scheme which build the false Utopia.

Remember all of the fallen this day and mourn as if for a lost child.  For everyone who died in war has died for absolutely nothing.



Obamanism's picture

The last 50 years the wars have been fought for the Military Industrial Complex, big business and big Oil. Giving your life for protection of life and stop tyranny (Fascist,Communist or Capitalism) is not a life wasted. 


War! , huh, yeah! what is it good for?  Absolutely Nothing: Edwin Star

ebworthen's picture

Thanks WB7, and especially for Smedley Butler's cogent and ever relevant "War is a Racket".

It should be required reading in middle school, and before signing any recruitment documents.

blindman's picture

“The whole purpose of propaganda is to make the obvious seem obscure, or offensive.”

Stefan Molyneux

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

Worth posting in full today as a reminder.


By Camillo Mac Bica

I am anti war. I know of no war worth the cost in human suffering and lives. Yet I acknowledge and respect the sacrifices and selflessness of those who were mislead and conditioned to kill and to die in America’s wars for wealth and hegemony. I see no contradiction in that. Consequently, I will not avail myself of the many Memorial Day sales at the mall as I will not support the exploitation and commercialization of the memory of the fallen to enhance consumerism and profit. Nor will I have or attend a barbecue or party as anyone who believes that celebration is appropriate on this weekend misunderstands and/or misrepresents the meaning of MEMORIAL Day. Nor will I attend or march in a parade as parades accomplish nothing save to allow those who make or ignore war to feign support and appreciation for their victims and to relieve their collective guilt for crimes against humanity. Marching in a parade honors no one nor does it educate or inform about the realities of war. Rather it perpetuates the mythology of honor and glory and “The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.”[1] 

Instead, I will treat this weekend as any other, for those of us who have experienced the horror of the battlefield need no holiday to remind us as the screams of the dying echo each day in our minds and the faces of the dead visit each night in our dreams. I will spend this weekend remembering what I have suffered and the suffering I have caused others, acknowledging that I am both victim and victimizer.  I will spend this weekend grieving the loss of comrades and of my innocence. I will spend this weekend in meditation confronting the realization that sometimes death in war is liberation, and those who die more fortunate than we who are condemned to survive as penance for the sacrilege of war.


Obamanism's picture

Kipling was also a great reporter and editor, read the story The Man who would be King . It is also  an excellent film directed by John Huston and staring Sean Connery and Michael Cain.


Read his Poems If and Gunga din

If you can keep your head when all about you        Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,     But make allowance for their doubting too;    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,     Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,     And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:


If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;        If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster     And treat those two impostors just the same;    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken     Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,     And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:


If you can make one heap of all your winnings     And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings     And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew     To serve your turn long after they are gone,    And so hold on when there is nothing in you     Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’


If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,        Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,     If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute     With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,        And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Obamanism's picture

Obama could not hold a candle to Gunga din Written about an Indian fighting with the British against the Afghanistanies

Gunga Din   YOU may talk o' gin an' beer   When you're quartered safe out 'ere,   An' you're sent to penny-fights an' Aldershot it;   But if it comes to slaughter   You will do your work on water,          5 An' you'll lick the bloomin' boots of 'im that's got it.   Now in Injia's sunny clime,   Where I used to spend my time   A-servin' of 'Er Majesty the Queen,   Of all them black-faced crew   10 The finest man I knew   Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din.          It was "Din! Din! Din!       You limping lump o' brick-dust, Gunga Din!       Hi! slippy hitherao!   15     Water, get it! Panee lao!       You squidgy-nosed old idol, Gunga Din!"      The uniform 'e wore   Was nothin' much before,   An' rather less than 'arf o' that be'ind,   20 For a twisty piece o' rag   An' a goatskin water-bag   Was all the field-equipment 'e could find.   When the sweatin' troop-train lay   In a sidin' through the day,   25 Where the 'eat would make your bloomin' eyebrows crawl,   We shouted "Harry By!"   Till our throats were bricky-dry,   Then we wopped 'im 'cause 'e couldn't serve us all.          It was "Din! Din! Din!   30     You 'eathen, where the mischief 'ave you been?       You put some juldee in it,       Or I'll marrow you this minute,       If you don't fill up my helmet, Gunga Din!"      'E would dot an' carry one   35 Till the longest day was done,   An' 'e didn't seem to know the use o' fear.   If we charged or broke or cut,   You could bet your bloomin' nut,   'E'd be waitin' fifty paces right flank rear.   40 With 'is mussick on 'is back,   'E would skip with our attack,   An' watch us till the bugles made "Retire."   An' for all 'is dirty 'ide,   'E was white, clear white, inside   45 When 'e went to tend the wounded under fire!          It was "Din! Din! Din!"       With the bullets kickin' dust-spots on the green.       When the cartridges ran out,       You could 'ear the front-files shout:   50     "Hi! ammunition-mules an' Gunga Din!"      I sha'n't forgit the night   When I dropped be'ind the fight   With a bullet where my belt-plate should 'a' been.   I was chokin' mad with thirst,   55 An' the man that spied me first   Was our good old grinnin', gruntin' Gunga Din.      'E lifted up my 'ead,   An' 'e plugged me where I bled,   An' 'e guv me 'arf-a-pint o' water—green;   60 It was crawlin' an' it stunk,   But of all the drinks I've drunk,   I'm gratefullest to one from Gunga Din.          It was "Din! Din! Din!       'Ere's a beggar with a bullet through 'is spleen;   65     'E's chawin' up the ground an' 'e's kickin' all around:       For Gawd's sake, git the water, Gunga Din!"      'E carried me away   To where a dooli lay,   An' a bullet come an' drilled the beggar clean.   70 'E put me safe inside,   An' just before 'e died:   "I 'ope you liked your drink," sez Gunga Din.   So I'll meet 'im later on   In the place where 'e is gone—   75 Where it's always double drill and no canteen;   'E'll be squattin' on the coals   Givin' drink to pore damned souls,   An' I'll get a swig in Hell from Gunga Din!          Din! Din! Din!   80     You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!       Tho' I've belted you an' flayed you,       By the livin' Gawd that made you,       You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din
disabledvet's picture

The "beauty" (dare I say it) is that Japan knows they're on their own here "and therefore they will have to do what is necessary."

And indeed they are doing just that.

Watched the four part series on Napoleon last night on YouTube.
Obviously he was no Saint...and those that served under him paid the ultimate price.

But that kid was always with his men too. He understood that once he knew he was a courageous man that his only asset was his willingness to give his life for France and the Cause too.

Needless to say "he went a lot further" (and so did his men) than anyone ever thought was possible.

And that was my experience. "I never thought I could have survived that"...and it was my honor to serve with real men...not all these faux pussies who write books about "being a real man" (or just a man period.)

Can't stand Nietzche but he did have the conditional reality of being human down pretty good. Still think Hobbes (Leviathan) was better of course.

But my vein is pretty simple now: "tell me something good that happened today!"

And of course the answer is always the same "this sucks, you suck, go phuck yourself and die."

I'm done now with wishing ill on others...aren't we all now? With nothing to look forward to why not have it be something good or positive?

And that's what the Colonel taught me...not Jesus or God or some Papal bullshit...an ordinary man he's seen his boys burned to death in a fire in Alaska in a matter of seconds "while just camping."

Who knew?

So he always looked at the good in the world because he wasn't delusional about what was coming next.

How's that for "philosophical genius"...has the added value of actually being true to life.

You assholes are all gonna die now...and your "protectors" aren't gonna lift a finger in anger either. It doesn't get anymore disciplined than understanding "you don't fire your gun." And this is the most disciplined military in all of human history near as I can tell.

They haven't declared war on anybody...but boy has war been declared on them.

New_Meat's picture


"..and it was my honor to serve with real men...not all these faux pussies who write books about "being a real man" (or just a man period.)"

Men doing a tough job under extreme stress, yep, real men.  I continue to think about Mill and the decayed bankstaz:

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."  - J.S. Mill

Welcome home, brother,

- Ned

nevadan's picture

Mark Twain is usually associated with humor.  His War Prayer is pretty sober.


blindman's picture

The Illusion of War

By Richard Le Gallienne

(American poet, born in England, 1866–1947)

WAR I abhor, and yet how sweet
The sound along the marching street
Of drum and fife, and I forget
Wet eyes of widows, and forget
Broken old mothers, and the whole
Dark butchery without a soul.

Without a soul, save this bright drink
Of heady music, sweet as hell;
And even my peace-abiding feet
Go marching with the marching street— 10
For yonder, yonder goes the fife,
And what care I for human life!

The tears fill my astonished eyes,
And my full heart is like to break;
And yet ’tis all embannered lies, 15
A dream those little drummers make.

O, it is wickedness to clothe
Yon hideous grinning thing that stalks,
Hidden in music, like a queen,
That in a garden of glory walks, 20
Till good men love the thing they loathe.

Art, thou hast many infamies,
But not an infamy like this—
Oh, snap the fife, and still the drum,
And show the monster as she is!

disabledvet's picture

Don't ever do it for real. You might find you love it.

Scares me to death having worked for those folks.
Darn right I ran.

They taught me to stand and fight tho too.
"There ain't no such thing as a grasp of reality" either.

Or as my exchange student buddy from Egypt used to say "mo bullets! Mo bullets!"

Beware your enthusiasms folks. The killers I saw never got carried away.
"And we're paying them 600 billion this year."

Lost My Shorts's picture

Here is for Dick Cheney, and George W. Bush, and Mitt Romney, and Bill Clinton, and all the other heroic leaders who lead from behind:


Soul Glow's picture

Is Bernanke still making hundreds of thousands per speech or has he been hung for crimes against humanity yet?

the grateful unemployed's picture

since each dollar you earn is a net liability, a symbol of debt, then i suppose he is being punished

nmewn's picture

Kipling's Tommy, well done sir ;-)

Liquid Courage's picture

Not that I can claim to hold a candle next to the great Kipling, but I offer most humbly my own impression of his finely crafted rhymes and meters:


There is a fire burns hot and bright, hell-fire that burns within,
And in its light shines glorious, what’s clearly mortal sin,
That battle of the heart, where greed and sanctimony vie,
Those flames get fanned by greater men, so lesser men must die.
    And every time that fire’s put out, it just flares up again,
    So any Tom that ever died, that Tommy died in vain,
    Tommy dies in vain, my boys, poor Tommy dies in vain,
    The fire’s never quenched, my boys, so Tommy dies in vain.

RocketmanBob's picture

Kind of gives a whole new feel to unleashing the dogs of war...

Yen Cross's picture

   Hyenas aren't K-9s. Dogs are loyal unlike the Monarchical pond scum on the USSA.