War is a Racket Info
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In War Is A Racket, Butler points to a variety of examples,
mostly from World War I, where industrialists whose operations were
subsidised by public funding were able to generate substantial profits
essentially from mass human suffering.
The work is divided
into five chapters:
1. War is a racket
makes the profits?
3. Who pays the bills?
4. How to
smash this racket!
5. To hell with war!
this key summary:
"War is a racket. It always has
been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the
most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only
one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in
lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not
what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small 'inside' group
knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very
few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge
In another often cited quote from the book
"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 muscle man 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
The book is also interesting historically
as Butler points out in 1935 that the US is engaging in military war
games in the Pacific that are bound to provoke the Japanese.
"The Japanese, a proud people, of course will be pleased beyond
expression to see the United States fleet so close to Nippon's shores.
Even as pleased as would be the residents of California were they to
dimly discern through the morning mist, the Japanese fleet playing at
war games off Los Angeles."
Butler explains that the
excuse for the buildup of the US fleet and the war games is fear that
"the great fleet of this supposed enemy will strike suddenly and
annihilate 125,000,000 people."
In his 1987 biography of
Butler, Maverick Marine, Hans Schmidt gave a brief review:
"Butler's particular contribution was his recantation,
denouncing war on moral grounds after having been a warrior hero and
spending most of his life as a military insider. The theme remained
vigorously patriotic and nationalistic, decrying imperialism as a
disgrace rooted in the greed of a privileged few."
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