by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
War is a racket, said Maj. General Smedley Butler, USMC, one of the most highly decorated officers in the US military in his small book of 1933, and he was, alas, ever so correct.
Here is an extract of what Major General Smedley D. Butler wsaid and wrote in 1933:
"In the World War (and he was here referring to World War One. The Second World War was still a few years away) 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 bill.
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..."
...war is for the profit of a few, at the expense of many...
-- Maj Gen Smedley D Butler, USMC, 1933.
And one can add very little to that. War is indeed a racket to profit but the warmongers at the expense of the poor man (and woman) in the street.
War also has nothing whatsoever to do with religion, with creating freedom or with exporting democracy, nor any other lofty notions that politicians try to sell like snake oil salesmen.
War is about money and power; money and power of the few at the expense of the rest of us all.
“If only more of today's military personnel would realize that they are being used by the owning elite as a publicly subsidized capitalist goon squad, “ Maj Gen Butler also said, and once again this is something that the men and women of our military really need to come to consider.
They have to think for themselves as to whether they really want to be the good squad for the exploiters of their fellow men. If they do then they must also be prepared to reap the whirlwind that ensues, and not just from the sides of the perceived enemy, the side that they are taught is the enemy, but also from their own countrymen and -women.
War, as Harry Patch, who was the last surviving soldier of World War One, who died in 2009 age 111, said is organized murder and nothing else.
War is organized murder of the fighting men of all sides as well as of civilians of all sides involved in the conflict. And it is all, while done in the name of freedom and democracy, nowadays at least, a racket in which some people make millions and even billions while the poor are forced – and forced it was in Word War One (and also many other wars before and after) – to die for those profits.
War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think that they are going to profit from it, and this has been the case in the two World Wars as much as in wars before and after. And it is still true for the wars and conflicts in which the likes of the USA and Britain are involved in in the second decade of the 21st century.
While in austerity Britain the poor are being squeezed and all public services are being reduced two budgets are ring-fenced, that of Foreign Aid, and the Defense Budget. Alone getting the British forces out of the foreign battle fields such as Afghanistan and returning them to what their brief is, namely the defense of the realm, and last time I checked Afghanistan and Iraq were not part of the realm, would, more or less, cancel all the debts of the United Kingdom in one foul swoop.
However, the aim is also not, regardless what the snake oil salesmen masquerading as our elected representatives try to tell us, to bring democracy to those countries – as it would not work in the first place – but the target is the mineral wealth of those countries and that is also the reason why, sooner or later, British military boots will be on the ground in Mali. Thar's gold in them thar hills – well, in the desert – and that is the target. Not fighting any illusionary Islamist world organization referred to as Al Qaeda as, in fact, there is no such organization and never has been.
The war – oh, sorry, conflict – in Iraq was to topple a leader who was first of all an CIA assent gone sour and the main reason was liquid gold, aka oil. Nothing to do with bringing democracy, prosperity, and all the other lies. It was about oil, plain and simple.
The Afghan conflict is about oil to a degree – even though, as far as known, Afghanistan does itself has no significant oil – but more importantly it is about the minerals, including gold, silver and copper, in them thar hills (and mountains), and about the rare earths. As the former commander of the US forces in that theater General Petraeus said there are billions – with many S's in that country and that was the reason that he said the US could and should not leave. It is obvious where some high-ranking military men stand in this issue and the issue of the racket; right there with the warmongers.
Many fighting men and -women have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan and it has absolutely nothing to do with liberating the country and about bringing democracy.
Bringing democracy to any place by force of arms is not going to work in the first place. But then again, that is not and never has been the intention of such actions.
The intention, as far as Iraq was and is concerned was and is oil and the access to same and the saber rattling against Iran also is for the very same reasons, namely oil.
While Afghanistan does not have oil, per se, it is also there about oil in that by having control of the country and with the control of Iraq and bases in the various -stans to the north Iran is almost encircled in a pincer and thus pressure can be applied and even, in the end, military force, to “liberate” Iranian oil for the world market. Furthermore Afghanistan's hills and mountains are full of valuable minerals and rare earths which are ever so important in today's industry. Hence the reason that the US will want to keep a tight control on that country, either direct by keeping the military there or indirect via puppet governments.
The ones that lose out, as per usual, are the military men and -women who are being sacrificed on the altar of profiteering and the people of the country who are being exploited and the country itself and the environment. It has nothing whatsoever to do with freedom and democracy but everything with profits for the military-industrial complex and the powers-that-be.
“Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy”, said Henry Kissinger and this is exactly how the powers-that-be see the men and women of the military.
War is a racket and until the people, and especially military personnel realize that in the same way as Maj. Gen. Butler did and spoke about, and the people themselves, the powers-that-be will continue with their machinations.