WAR IS A RACKET
by Major General Smedley Butler
United States Marine Corps [Retired]
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 fortunes.
In the World War [I] 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