Maj. General Smedley Butler’s Open Letter to President Barack Obama

Maj. General Smedley Butler’s  Open Letter to President Barack Obama


Last night I had a dream about Major General Smedley Butler USMC (ret.) writing a letter to President Barrack Obama. This is what he said:

Dear President Obama,

For 33 years I have served in the Marine Corps with distinction; I received two medals of honor and 16 battle decorations, and I retired with the rank of Major General. Of course they would not make me Commandant of the Marine Corps, as I often spoke my own mind. I've written this letter to respond to your present situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a fool’s cause and I see you are taken in by the nitwits, pencil pushers, tin star Sheriffs, and other morons who work at the Pentagon. They are  the finest bushel of fools  I have ever met, and that is a  kind assessment. The incompetence of the Pentagon is matched only by the greed of the war profiteers and the Wall Street bankers.  This was true in my day, and it is even truer today.  I hope you will hear this old General’s comments and advice.

I said  in the l930’s,  my interest in peace is personal. I have three grown sons, and I’ll be damned if anybody's going to shoot them. The only purpose for war is to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. A war has never been fought by the sons of the rich. It is only the sons and daughters of the rest of us who march off to war. Look at the damn mess the Wall Street bankers and war profiteers have made in the USA in 2010.  The USA has  lost thirty of its manufacturing base in the last decade, and we've sent our factories to China. The young men and women who used to be able to get money to go to trade schools and college find that the only way they can get that money now is to join the military. Then the right wing nuts feed them some hogwash about how doing it is their patriotic duty.  That is not only nonsense; it is an outright lie. The only reason these young men and women are in Iraq and Afghanistan is to support the greed of the rich.  How many days did that young GW Bush serve in the Texas Air National Guard during Vietnam? How many weeks was he AWOL?

If you look at the last eight years or more, you can see the companies that have profited from the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and United Technologies (The Carlyle Group is for the Dick Cheney and George W. Bush crowd.) I seem to remember back in my day George W. Bush's grandfather Prescott doing business with the Nazis. The snake of greed still runs through the Bush family, and all of these war profiteers and Wall street blood suckers are a cancer that is destroying America

This is an excerpt from a speech I gave in the 1930s:

 …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 make Honduras right for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its own 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.

Mr. President, before your brain is filled with all the hogwash of the Pentagon, the generals who should be serving your interests and those of the American people, and those damn parasite lobbyists of the war profiteers, please review my comments, and I have enclosed my book written in 1936, War is a Racket. It is a sad state of affairs that war has become even more of a racket than before. In the words of my friend General Dwight David Eisenhower:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road. the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

Mr. President, as a military officer, I had sworn to protect and defend the USA, and the best way to defend our country is to stop the military bleeding. America is spending itself into bankruptcy and robbing future generations. I enclose a quote from my book that I wrote in l936 War is a Racket:

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 – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill. And what is this bill? This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.

Thank you for your attention, Mr. President. If you heed our warning about the military and instead spend that money here in America, it will be the best defense any country will need.


Major General Smedley Butler USMC (Ret.)

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  • great stuff, can you imagine if we could have a man like smedley be the president, never happen they would kill him

    Posted by freeyourmind, 08/25/2011 9:39am (10 years ago)

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