Book Review: “War Is A Racket,” by General Smedley D. Butler

Is there anyone left in America who doubts that war is a racket? If so, this book will outline in lurid detail the obscene profits that are made during times of war.

General Butler a retired Marine Corp Major General and two time Medal of Honor recipient, wrote “War Is A Racket” in 1935. Anyone who knows even a little bit about what went on during the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq knows that things have only gotten worse since then. War is definitely a racket, for some, anyway. The question is, what can be done?

General Butler offers three steps:

  1. “We must take the profit out of war”
  2. “We must permit the youth of the land who would bear arms to decide whether or not there should be a war.”
  3. “We must limit our military forces to home defense purposes.

As so often happens, I am totally unqualified to comment on 1 and 3, so I will focus on suggestion number 2: “We must permit the youth of the land who would bear arms to decide whether or not there should be a war.” In General Butler’s time, the idea of sending women into combat was unthinkable. What General Butler was really saying was that young men should be the ones to decide whether we go to war or not, as they will be the ones fighting. I am very inclined to agree. Assuming there is no draft, then maybe the men who serve in combat units could be the ones to decide?

“War Is A Racket” is a depressing reminder of the total disregard that many in high places have for the men who serve in the military. It has been almost 100 years since this book was published, and things have only gotten worse. The Ruling Class in America has much to answer for.

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