are generally sold to the public as something unavoidable, and with
a lofty moral purpose. As a student and teacher of history, I have
found very few wars, even the "holy" ones, that didn't
have a component of greed and acquisition about them. In some, like
the invasion of Iraq, the lies on which we based our actions were
pretty transparent. In others, like our entry into the two World
Wars, not so evident. People like to ignore the fact that it was
mainly about getting a share of the pie.
still believe that we are in Iraq just to "bring them democracy"
and not partly (or mainly) for the corporate profits to be made
in rebuilding it, and control of the second largest oil fields in
the world? As an ex-Marine, I always enjoyed the lines in an old
Tom Lehrer song: "When someone makes a move, of which we don't
approve, who is it that always intervenes? U.N. and O.A.S., they
have their place, I guess, but when in doubt, SEND THE MARINES!"
Back when the
U.S. was losing in the Korean war after the retreat from "Frozen
Chosin" in November 1950, I remember General "Chesty"
Puller giving us a pep talk in the mess hall. He stressed that we
had to stop those evil commies from their campaign to take over
their country . He may have used words having to do with "saving
the world for democracy and freedom" instead of saving Korea
for U.S investment. I don't think any of us really knew what a "commie"
was, or why they wanted to have Korea for the Koreans. It never
occurred to us that had the Korean or the Vietnamese communists
gotten control of their own countries, U.S. corporations taking
big profits out might have been given the boot.
Here are some
interesting words from another Marine a few years earlier (from
a speech delivered in 1933, by Major General Smedley Butler,
USMC, recipient of two Congressional Medals of Honor):
is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something
that is not what it seems to the majority of 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 masses.
in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation
comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America
is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it
gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag
follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.
go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment
of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for.
One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights.
War for any other reason is simply a racket.
isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is
blind to. It has its 'finger men' to point out enemies, its 'muscle
men' to destroy enemies, its 'brain men' to plan war preparations,
and a 'Big Boss' Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.
thirty- three years and four months in active military service
as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine
Corps...and during that period, 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.
record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for
the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912
... I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar
interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard
Oil went its way unmolested. During those years, I had, as the
boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back
on it, I feel that 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."
It took a lot
of courage for General Butler to speak out, and I doubt that any
big corporation hired him as a vice president when he retired. I
defy you to look at Iraq today with the unconscionable profiteering
by "no-bid" companies like Halliburton (from which our
VP, Dick Cheney retired with some 40 million dollars), and say that
General Butler didn't have any idea how the system works. If it
smells like a racket, sounds like a racket, looks like a racket,
it just might be a racket.
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