Skip to main content

Chapter 18 - Militarism

In order to bear me out on what I said of Imperialism i.e. that it is, "the export of capital to the sources of raw material." Let us review a statement by Major General Smedley D Butler, former commandant of the US Marines, as quoted from the magazine, Common Sense November, 1935.

Major General Smedley D Butler.

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 guys (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 do so. I spent 33 years and four months in active military service as a member of our country's most agile military force-the Marine Corps. I severed in all commissioned ranks from a second lieutenant to a 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.

"I suspected I was just a part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession I never had an original thought until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher ups. This is typical of everyone in the military service.

Thus I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the raping of half dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-12. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China, in 1927 I helped see to it that the Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

During those years I had (as the boys in the back room would say), a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals, and promotions. Looking back on it, I feel that I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his rackets in three city districts. I operated on three continents.