Where This Meets That
By the time Major General Smedley Butler retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1931, he was the most decorated Marine in history. But hindsight revealed to him that he’d played a different role than what he’d once believed.
In his own words, published in his 1935 booklet, War is a Racket:
“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 continents.”
And now, here we go again.
Yet another president sits in luxury while preparing to direct the most truly courageous, patriotic, and devoted among us to kill and possibly die for a nation that has nothing directly to do with our national security.
It’s appalling, it’s immoral, and it’s further convincing me that the only fitting way for a president to leave office is in handcuffs.
Our soldiers are not hired killers who live for the whims of executives with ulterior motives and grander political strategies. They are our friends, neighbors, and coworkers, our mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. They are our brothers and sisters, and damn it, they are being molested!
When will we, as a species, learn that war only breeds war? Perhaps only when ignorance stops breeding ignorance. Tonight, our president will appear on television to try to convince a leery population to further weaken our political, military, and economic power in the world.
Yes, you read that right: to weaken it.
His political position, though he presumably won’t incriminate himself by saying so explicitly, is that failure to back up his infamous “red line” rhetoric will weaken America’s posture in the world by weakening his own credibility.
The president will assert that murder by chemical weapons is more deplorable than by gunfire or artillery shell, and diametrically opposed to murder by cruise missiles with payloads of “justice” or abortive aspirators with their payloads of “women’s health” that he is so fond of.
He will attempt to mold madness into reason, crafting Newspeak aimed to sway a nation made ignorant by an establishment of misinformation and disinformation. War will help bring peace, and destruction will help bring hope.
But don’t buy it. No, an American attack on Syria would have nothing to do with human lives or weapons choices or the interests of the American people. No matter which “side” we bomb there, we aid terrorists and weaken ourselves.
By steering clear, we make a wiser choice, in better keeping with the principles many Americans still hold dear. Sure, it might knock the president’s credibility down a notch, and that is indeed a tough pill to swallow; after all, how can the United States survive without a trustworthy president? (Note sarcasm.) But it is the right choice.
Of course, there’s another possibility at play here. The White House, perhaps listening to reason and having called for a congressional vote, could be secretly beating down potential “yay” votes to allow the president a respectable way to swallow his words.
I pray this is how it all plays out for us, but sadly, this is Congress we’re talking about. Congress, rife with its special interest-lined pockets and rank with its political whoring. The past decade has demonstrated a tacit support base for an imperialist American agenda in Washington, much to the delight of its financial and industrial cronies. In other words, the hope that they’ll vote the role of bystander in the Syrian war simply to allow the president to save face burns dimly.
Still, the president has left it in their hands. God be with them as they deliberate, and should they vote wrong, then God be with us all for being misled once again into the ways of mad men.