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SMEDLEY D BUTLER’S TESTIMONY May 29, 2010

Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
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The statement was made in 1935. The veracity and accuracy of the claims cannot be confirmed here, but if true the testimony is interesting, and more than mildly so, since it goes to the issue of the use of American arms and Corporate profits.

Paul Rogers writing at Open Democracy recounts that the US marines and CIA operated in many Latin American countries during the Cold War quoting Max Boot,The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power (Basic Books, 2003) and Jenny Pearce, Under the Eagle (Latin American Bureau, 1982). Smedley D Butler was an author in his own right, writing War is a Racket in 1933. Paul Rogers partially quotes Butler quoting from Jenny Pearce. The fuller quote is provided by Wikipedia and was originally published by the socialist magazine Common Sense in 1935:

I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class thug for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. 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 revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902–1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.[12]

So what profit could possibly accrued, to whom, by the Trillion dollars reportedly spent on the Afghanistan Invasion? In retrospect the hypocrisy of the victors of the
Second World War, as expressed and enacted in the Nuremberg Principles knows no bounds. In what ways was the behavior of the German Fascists more morally reprehensible than contemporary exponents of murder and final solutions? What is the moral difference between the systematic rounding up and placement of people in concentration camps and the random murder by drone attacks and aerial bombing? And why are these questions not asked in those media that attract wide publicity?

Paul Woodward at War in Context asks whether Obama’s word is worth anything. He says the President is either “a liar or has lost control of his Administration”. Paul Woodward writes:

In a letter he sent to the president of Brazil in late April, Obama spelled out the terms on which the US would support a diplomatic initiative by Brazil and Turkey who hoped to revive a nuclear swap agreement that Iran had rejected last fall. Obama expressed his skepticism that Iran would make the necessary concessions. He was proved wrong, but then instead of welcoming Lula and Erdogan’s diplomatic accomplishment, Secretary Clinton dismissed it out of hand. If she did so with Obama’s consent, he has shown his word is worthless. If she did so on her own initiative, this president has lost his authority as chief executive.

So perhaps rationality, economic or otherwise, now has not much to do with American foreign policy. So perhaps it comes down to ego, and if true that would be truly lame and pitiable. Of course, if it is primarily the drive for oil, the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico takes on a completely different complexion.

It is not easy to keep up with this trail, but the blog http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2010/06/the-us-paid-money-to-support-hugo-banzers-1971-coup-in-bolivia.html via Blogtariat, has some related information about Bolivia.

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