Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Couple of Quotes for Veteran's Day

From a couple of veterans.

War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of 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 masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we’ll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its “finger men” to point out enemies, its “muscle men” to destroy enemies, its “brain men” to plan war preparations, and a “Big Boss” Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

Major General Smedley Butler USMC 1933

You may read his short book (Smedley Butler "Old Gimlet Eye" was a laconic man)
"War is a Racket" in full HERE

It is interesting to note that General Butler received TWO Medals of Honor. He was nobody's pacifist, he held the "war as a last resort for survival" position that many of us who have known combat tend to occupy.

Now, we turn to Dwight David Eisenhower the man our publisher at Big Brass Blog (where this is crossposted) describes as the last true Republican.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together

Again, we have a distinguished military man. Eisenhower did not have the dash and elan of MacArthur. He wasn't as vain either. He was, more than anything else, a superb organizer and politician. He recognised the various talents of the men around him and tried to use them to achieve victory in Europe. That meant he had to deal with personalities as varied as Patton and Bradley (who under Ike's direction worked together on three campaigns, twice with Patton in command, and once with Bradley), he also had to balance the egos and meager forces of the Free Poles, the Free French under DeGaulle, and the mincing egomaniac Bernard Law Montgomery. Eisenhower was in many ways the most essential component of allied success. No matter what else he accomplished he held that alliance together and led it superbly to victory. He was also a much more involved and hands on policy president than we suspected at the time. We thought he was all about rounds of golf and single malt whiskey afterward. It was far from the truth.

Now, go here.

The above Rolling Stone article about the abuses, frauds and outright criminal looting of our treasury by "contractors" in Iraq and Afghanistan show how little attention we were paying when the two great men I initially quoted were speaking their truth to us.



Blogger Sherry said...

sad, isn't it and frustrating.

11:56 AM  
Blogger seventh sister said...

Butler was an interesting guy. When poverty stricken veterans turned to him for help and leadership, he turned on them instead and military force was used against out own veterans who dared to protest their treatment.

4:18 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

yes, butler was, at the very least, interesting. and complicated. let us not forget that eisenhower, patton, and macarthur were all involved in crushing the "bonus army."

there is a brigade of "veterans against war" which calls itself the smedley butler brigade. until chesty puller left korea he was the single most decorated marine in the history of the corps.

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Father Tyme's posted a YouTube clip over at Blondesense that's most definitely worth the watch (for those who remember Laugh-In anyway).

- oddjob

9:12 AM  
Blogger PeterofLoneTree said...

On Eisenhower we have this from Eugene Jarecki:

"Eisenhower's children told me that the president's warning had not originally been worded "military-industrial complex". The original formulation was "military-industrial-congressional complex". That was dropped from the final draft, but it represents the fullness of his concern - that only with the collusion of members of Congress could the apparatus of the defence sector grow to wag the dog."

Maybe Ike was worried that including Congress in the list of ratbastards would tarnish his legacy.

4:27 AM  

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