DECEMBER 9, 2022
General Library

Book of Week: War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America's Most Decorated Soldier

Book of Week: War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America's Most Decorated Soldier

by General Smedley D. Butler , Amazon link

Smedley Butler - Wikipedia

Major General Smedley D. Butler's life was a compelling journey from his early days as a Marine Corps enlistee to becoming one of the most highly decorated officers in U.S. military history. Born into a prominent Quaker family in 1881, Butler's military career began at a young age when he joined the Marines at 16. Throughout his service, he distinguished himself in various military campaigns, including the Boxer Rebellion, the Philippine-American War, and the Banana Wars in Central America and the Caribbean. Butler's exceptional leadership skills and combat prowess earned him two Medals of Honor, solidifying his reputation as a heroic figure within the Marine Corps.

However, it was after retiring from the military in 1931 that Butler embarked on a new chapter of his life as a vocal critic of war and the military-industrial complex. He became an impassioned antiwar activist, vehemently denouncing the profit-driven motives behind armed conflicts. His influential book, "War Is a Racket," published in 1935, exposed the corporate interests and financial gains that often fuel wars. Butler's legacy endures as a decorated military leader who courageously transitioned into a prominent voice against war profiteering, leaving an indelible mark on discussions about the ethics of warfare and the role of corporations in shaping foreign policy.

War Is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America's Most Decorated Soldier" is a book written by Major General Smedley D. Butler, one of the most highly decorated and respected officers in the history of the United States Marine Corps. Published in 1935, the book is a powerful critique of the military-industrial complex and war profiteering.

Summary:
The book "War Is a Racket" presents General Butler's firsthand experiences and observations during his military career, which spanned over three decades and included service in various conflicts, including World War I. Butler argues that war, rather than being a noble endeavor, is often driven by financial interests and corporate greed.

Key points in the book include:

War Profiteering: Butler exposes how large corporations and wealthy individuals profit immensely from war, often at the expense of soldiers and ordinary citizens. He criticizes the close relationship between the military and big business.

Manipulation of Public Opinion: Butler discusses how propaganda and misinformation are used to manipulate public opinion and justify military interventions. He argues that wars are often started for reasons other than those stated publicly.

The Cost of War: The book highlights the immense human and financial costs of war, both in terms of lives lost and resources squandered. Butler questions whether these costs are justifiable, especially when war benefits only a select few.

Call for Peace: General Butler advocates for peace and calls on citizens to be vigilant about the forces that drive nations into war. He encourages a critical examination of war's true motives and consequences.

"War Is a Racket" remains a timeless and thought-provoking critique of the military-industrial complex, war profiteering, and the hidden agendas that often underlie armed conflicts. It continues to be relevant in discussions about the ethics of war and the role of corporate interests in shaping foreign policy.

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