War is a Racket : The Antiwar Classic by America's Most Decorated General, Paperback

War is a Racket : The Antiwar Classic by America's Most Decorated General Paperback

5 out of 5 (3 ratings)




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A very concise summation on the potential for corruption in the use of the military, particularly when military policy is wedded to corporate interests. Butler's statements are very powerful, particularly becuase of his personal experience on the subject.

Review by

The pieces that make up this book were first published about 70 years ago. Butler was a highly decorated Marine Brigadier General who was involved in many military expeditions in the early 20th century to countries like Haiti, China and Cuba. After retiring, he exposed a corporate/fascist plot to seize the White House right after Franklin Roosevelt became President. After that, he began to speak out about the real motives behind America's military actions--profit.Just before World War I, the profit margin of the average American corporation was in the single digits (6%, 8%, perhaps 10% profit yearly). Then why, when the war came, did that same profit margin skyrocket to hundreds, or even thousands of percent? The author also mentions several cases of companies who sold the US Government totally useless items. One company sold Uncle Sam 12 dozen 48-inch wrenches. The problem is that there was only one nut large enough for those wrenches; it holds the turbines at Niagara Falls. The wrenches were put on freight cars and sent all around America to try and find a use for them. When the war ended, the wrench maker was about to make some nuts to fit the wrenches. The parallels with today are too numerous to mention.The next time war is declared, and conscription is on the horizon, Butler proposes a limited national plebiscite on whether or not America should go to war. But the voting should be limited only to those of conscription age, those who will do the actual fighting and dying. Also, one month before anyone is conscripted, all of American business and industry who profits from war should be conscripted, from weapons makers to international banks to uniform makers. All employees of those companies, from the CEO down to the assembly line worker, should have their salary cut to equal the base pay of the soldier who is fighting, and dying, to improve their bottom line. Let's see how long the war fever lasts. Also, go to a VA hospital to see the real aftermath of war.This isn't so much an antiwar book as it is an isolationist book. The separate pieces were published in a time when many Americans felt that getting involved in another European war that had nothing to do with America, was a terrible idea. The author certainly pulls no punches. This book is very highly recommended, especially for those who think that war is a clean videogame where no one really gets hurt. It gets two strong thumbs up.

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The only book on antiwar that matters.

Also by Smedley D. Butler