imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

War Is A Racket

by C/O Diogenes Wednesday, Apr. 30, 2003 at 8:07 PM

The nature of the Iraqi conquest was not lost on one cable TV news reporter who, in questioning a man who wanted the rebuilding process to be opened up to other nations than just the United States shrieked that the "French who wanted no part in the war now want to share in the spoils."

War Is A Racket

Where Is Smedley When We Need Him?

By Butler Shaffer

Lew Rockwell.com

4-30-3

My first name is my Irish grandmother's family name. Over the years, I have run across the writings of a number of Butlers whose views of life seemed to parallel my own, leading me to wonder if there might be some genetic connection. Samuel Butler's satirical political views along with his interest in a collective unconscious; the poetry of William Butler Yeats; and the Realpolitick of Smedley Butler, provide a few examples.

 

Smedley Butler is a name with which you may not be familiar, even though he twice won the Congressional Medal of Honor. If he were to appear on television today, he would be identified as "Maj. General Smedley Butler, USMC (ret.)" But even if he were still alive, he would not appear on any network television news shows because, late in life, he openly expressed his opposition to the war system. He went on to expose the symbiotic relationship existing between the institutional interests of corporate America and the state. Many former top generals and admirals have written memoirs around the theme "war is hell," but Gen. Butler went a step further, writing a book titled http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0922915865/lewrockwell/>War Is a Racket.

 

Smedley defined a racket as "something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people." War, he goes on, "is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious" of rackets. Reflecting upon his own early 20th century career, he noted that "I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism." He related how he had helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests, Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank, a number of Central American countries more pleasant for Wall Street interests, the Dominican Republic more conducive to the sugar industry, and China more compatible with the interests of Standard Oil. Then, after observing how he had helped supply the coercive, deadly force to advance corporate interests throughout various parts of the world, Butler added: "I could 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." You can see that his book does for adults what The Emperor's New Clothes does for children.

 

I have my doubts that we shall be hearing such candor anytime soon from the Bush administration's appointed military ruler of Iraq, Lt. Gen. Jay Garner. I have seen far too many retired military officers on network television news and talk shows faithfully reciting the EstablishmentÌs position on the necessity for, the success of, and the bright prospects for the American governmentÌs military involvement in Iraq (and, perhaps, other Middle Eastern countries as well). The media - which has been eager to ferret out the economic or ideological interests of those who oppose administration policies - could demonstrate a bit of "truth-in-advertising" by identifying the defense industry interests for whom these various retired generals, admirals, and colonels now work!

 

American military academies have apparently expanded their curricula to include the training of future officers to become military occupiers of other countries. One West Point cadet expressed an awareness of the interconnected nature of her military training and the political domination of a nation. Contemplating her possible assignment to Iraq upon graduation, she pondered how she "might have to go over there and basically be mayor of a town." This young woman would be well advised to read Gen. Butler's book!

 

Most Americans are uncomfortable contemplating that war is, and always has been, a system by which a few are able to direct the coercive machinery of the state to serve their economic interests, always at the expense of the many. Gen. Butler's words have never been more apropos than in the current U.S. abomination in Iraq: "Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory is promptly exploited by the few . . . . The general public shoulders the bill," as do the soldiers and their families whose lives are sacrificed for the benefit of those who profit from war.

 

 

For those who doubt this assessment, I invite you to read Murray RothbardÌs excellent essay, http://www.mises.org/store/product1.asp?SID=2&Product_ID=149>Wall Street, Banks, and American Foreign Policy. Rothbard was always fond of asking the cui bono? question (i.e., "who benefits?), an inquiry that almost always identifies the hidden interests of governmental policies. From at least the Civil War onward, economic interests have manipulated foreign policies, including wars, to serve the interests of major commercial, industrial, and financial institutions. In so doing, the institutional interests of the state have also been advanced.

 

A Civil War that was belatedly sold to a gullible public on the pretext of "freeing the slaves," was actually designed to preserve the American nation-state in order to advance Northern economic interests at the expense of the South. The Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, and the Cold War, had in common the purpose of furthering American corporate interests in other regions of the world. The avenging of the alleged attack on the battleship "Maine," "making the world safe for democracy," retaliating for the attack on Pearl Harbor, or preventing the "international communist conspiracy" from subduing the rest of the world through the collapse of "dominoes," have served only to enlist the gullible Americans in service to corporate-state interests. The bumper-sticker from the 1960s that read "war is good business: invest your son" had it right.

 

The problem that the Bush administration had in selling the Iraqi invasion to the public was in trying to find a rationale that would sound convincing to a not-too-discerning boobeoisie. But at each stage, the factual basis for the campaign failed. The "remember 9/11 and Al Qaeda" refrain collapsed for lack of evidence of any Iraqi involvement, as did the "weapons of mass destruction" song and dance. In desperation, the Bush leaguers opted for Iraqi "liberation," "freedom," and "democracy" as a justification for a war they were intent on conducting regardless of the facts or the opposition of the rest of the world.

 

Any notions that the fostering of "democracy" had anything to do with the invasion of Iraq were quickly dispelled by Donald Rumsfeld who, in responding to efforts of Shiites to exercise political power in Iraq, declared: "That isn't going to happen." His comment reflects the vacuous meaning of "democracy," a concept grounded in the popular delusion that the citizenry controls the ruling class! Rumsfeld is telling us that the American political Establishment will select the candidates for leadership in Iraq, from which the Iraqis will be allowed to choose. After all, why should Iraq be any different from the United States?

 

Perhaps the last of the satirists, Tom Lehrer, summed up the essence of American foreign policy machinations in his song "Send the Marines." Addressing the interests of the ordinary people of Third World countries being colonized under a new class of nabobs, Lehrer tells us: "they've got to be protected, all their rights respected, 'til someone we like can get elected." Both Smedley Butler and Donald Rumsfeld would understand the meaning of these lyrics.

 

For those willing to pay close attention to events in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East, there is an opportunity to discover how war is only the most violent expression of politics. War is politics, and politics is war. Political systems are grounded in the exercise of brute force in order to compel the ruled to remain obedient to the demands of their rulers. In a theocracy, the interests of the ruling class are centered around religious institutions and doctrines. In our modern corporate-state arrangement, a synthesis of economic and political interests dominate.

 

Smedley understood, and expressed, the realities of modern politics perfectly. He also appreciated the distinction that now differentiates the libertarian, free-market advocates (e.g., the Austrian school) from the conservative and liberal defenders of the so-called "mixed economy." Had he not died in 1940, he would surely have died laughing at the nonsense perpetrated by Ayn Rand in her essay "America's Persecuted Minority: Big Business."

 

 

The defense of a truly "free market" has never been on the agenda of either "big business" or the state. This is why mercantilism has long been attractive to the interests of both sets of institutions. There are many - Rothbard being the most visible example - who understand this quite well. If all of the business-sponsored laws, regulatory schemes, tariffs and taxation policies, and wars were suddenly eliminated, we would soon discover the free and creative nature of a stateless society.

 

The rest of the world is now being given a lesson in the realities of corporate-statism. At the uppermost level, one can see these interests manifesting themselves in the desire to dominate as much of the worldÌs political and economic decision-making as possible. This need for power over others is completely incompatible with free markets and individual liberty.

 

At a secondary level, one finds the efforts of individual firms to benefit their interests through state power. Even as the occupation of Iraq was being put together, handpicked firms with strong ties to the political establishment were being awarded - apparently without benefit of any process of bidding - lucrative contracts to "rebuild" Iraq. The analogy to American "urban renewal" programs immediately came to mind: municipalities condemning inner-city properties, destroying buildings and neighborhoods in the process, then turning the lands over to private developers - at lower-than-market prices - to construct middle- and upper-income housing. The same practice is going on in Iraq, with the Air Force bombing Baghdad to rubble, and the American government awarding contracts to well-connected firms to rebuild the city!

 

The nature of the Iraqi conquest was not lost on one cable TV news reporter who, in questioning a man who wanted the rebuilding process to be opened up to other nations than just the United States shrieked that the "French who wanted no part in the war now want to share in the spoils." When one checks a dictionary and discovers that "spoils" refers to "plunder taken from an enemy in war," and that a synonym is "loot," even the media unwittingly expresses what is going on.

 

A few journalists and soldiers, apparently invoking thousands of years of human history, have allegedly undertaken more personal forms of looting. In trying to smuggle paintings, historic artifacts, and vast sums of confiscated money back into America, the alleged perpetrators bring to mind a practice going back centuries before the likes of Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan turned it into an art form.

 

But such lone wolf methods are no longer acceptable in the institutionally centered world of the 21st century. If foreign nations are to be despoiled, it must be according to established procedures and due process of law. Like the practice of men wearing tuxedos to prizefights, brutality must be dignified by the trappings of social decorum. Thus, independent looters and other wildcatters are no longer welcome. If you wish to get in on the game, you must do so legally: you must incorporate, and make certain you maintain your ties to the state's power structure. Smedley Butler would have expected nothing less.

 

 

Butler Shaffer teaches at the Southwestern University School of Law.

 

Copyright © 2003 LewRockwell.com

 

http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/shaffer42.html

Report this post as:

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
To have a Free Market... Diogenes Wednesday, Apr. 30, 2003 at 8:08 PM

Local News

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 1:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 12:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 12:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 4:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J10 11:58PM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M30 10:20PM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 12:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 1:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 2:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 3:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 2:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 1:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 1:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 4:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 1:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A26 10:37PM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

14 Disturbing Facts About Scott Gottlieb, Trump's FDA Head J20 10:47PM

Behind the scenes at fbi National Academy J20 2:47PM

Treasury Takes Aim at Shell Companies J20 11:18AM

Paraphysique de l'intelligence J20 9:08AM

Oklahoma GOP Senator Jim Inhofe's Bloody Record J20 4:01AM

Globalization: hope on the horizon despite Fake Liberals. J20 3:41AM

Sorry President Trump,Ted Cruz Texas Judicial System,is Worse Than Many Shithole Countries J19 4:49PM

The Shortwave Report 07/20/18 Listen Globally! J19 4:33PM

The System Question as a Survival Question J18 8:54PM

Nation's Largest Voting Machine Co., ESS, Admits Lying Re Having Installed Remote Control J18 11:55AM

Du pain et des jeux J18 9:53AM

Paraphysique de martyrologie J17 8:00AM

Children Incorporated Earns 4-Star Rating on Charity Navigator J16 11:24AM

Democratic Socialists of America J14 4:57PM

Leonard Peltier Non Violent Native American Political Prisoner since 1970's J14 4:18PM

Paraphysique miscellanées de l'aggiornamento J14 12:54AM

FBI Investigated LA County Sheriff Baca,Why Not Hank Skinner's Persecution? J13 3:52PM

Updated Partial List Of Famous Vegetarians, Vegans, & Fruitarians J13 2:59PM

The Shortwave Report 07136/18 Listen Globally! J12 4:36PM

Social Policy as Social Infrastructure J12 3:38AM

Vol I: 84 Varieties Of GOP Election Fraud J12 1:50AM

Texas Can Call it An Execution,But It is A State Sponsored Murder of Hank Skinner.. J11 6:48PM

June 2018 Honduras coup update J11 3:35PM

Maria Estrada doubles down on racist support J11 1:40PM

New York Women in Film & Television Announces 2018 NYWIFT Ha Phuong Scholarship Recipients J11 10:14AM

Trapps de la domination, trapps de l'aliénation J11 1:31AM

Please Work For The Defeat Of Brett Kavanaugh And Why J09 8:54PM

Transinhumanisme ( transe inhumanisme ) J09 12:44PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy