"WAR is a racket. It always has been."---Major General Smedley Butler
"I was a racketeer 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. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-12. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. 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 way unmolested.... Looking back on it, I felt I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three city districts. We Marines operated on three continents." --- Major General Smedley Butler
The Assassinated Press
War Hero Proposes Drafting Congress, the Executive, Industry, Big Oil, Banking:
All Talk, The Suits Balk
By DAVID CRAZYASS
Assassinated Press National Writer
February 2, 2003, 12:44 PM EST
NEW YORK -- During the Vietnam War, presidents and the Pentagon bean counters defended the draft, while the peace movement assailed it. As America edges toward a possible new war, a rhetorical war around the draft has emerged.
Backed by other opponents of a war with Iraq, Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., has proposed that the draft -- shelved since 1973 -- be reinstated in the name of "shared sacrifice." "Its makes it too easy for the twits at the American Enterprise Institute and in the Executive Office Building to talk tough when they're out of harms way. Not only are they out of harms way, but special measures have been taken to expose every man, women and child in the country to mortal danger before one hair on Don Rumsfeld's precious, greasy pate gets mussed," Paul Wolfowitz recently effused in a toast to the defense secretary at the annual cross dressers' ball at the Bohemian Groves.
But, now, the only man to win the Congressional Medal of Honor twice has announced a more radical solution. Major General Smedley Darlington Butler has proposed a broad expansion of the conscription process. Along with a tireless speaking tour addressing veterans all over the country, the retired Marine general has written a book, War Is A Racket in which he has collected his thoughts on combat, the service and the 'quality' of the men and institutions that send young people off to die and kill in America's name. Butler writes:
"The only way to smash this racket [war] is to conscript capital and industry and labor before the nations manhood can be conscripted. One month before the Government can conscript the young men of the nation – it must conscript capital and industry and labor. Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and our munitions makers and our shipbuilders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of all the other things that provide profit in war time as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted – to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get.
"Let the workers in these plants get the same wages – all the workers, all presidents, all executives, all directors, all managers, all bankers – yes, and all generals and all admirals and all officers and all politicians and all government office holders – everyone in the nation be restricted to a total monthly income not to exceed that paid to the soldier in the trenches!
"Let all these kings and tycoons and masters of business and all those workers in industry and all our senators and governors and majors pay half of their monthly $30 wage to their families and pay war risk insurance and buy Liberty Bonds.
"Why shouldn't they?
"They aren't running any risk of being killed or of having their bodies mangled or their minds shattered. They aren't sleeping in muddy trenches. They aren't hungry. The soldiers are!
"Give capital and industry and labor thirty days to think it over and you will find, by that time, there will be no war. That will smash the war racket – that and nothing else."
The Pentagon disagrees, insisting that today's all-volunteer forces are more "capable of surviving on the pittance we pay them." "I'd make a lousy conscript," offered NSC staffer and Iran contra felon, Elliott Abrams. "I'm such a little weasel."
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has gone further, asserting at a news conference that draftees added "no value, no advantage" to the military because they served for such brief periods. After members of Congress and veterans groups protested, Rumsfeld said he was heartened by how many idiots went public to say that they would willingly become fodder for the rich and powerful people for which he stooges. "I'm genuinely touched by the number of people that stood up and said that they would be suckered again if given a chance." Rumsfeld made it clear he opposes Butler's plan.
Still, Butler's proposal -- though unlikely to win passage -- has revived a dormant national debate about the concept of mandatory national service. It is a discussion that creates unusual allies and goes to the heart of the American caste system.
Butler in open congressional restimony came clean about his own role. He called himself "a racketeer for capitalism" and related how stooges like Colin Powell, Norman 'Son of a Bagman' Schwartzkopf, Barry McCaffrey, Dickie Myers and Tommy Franks have taken on that same role for similar quid pro quos, ones Butler rejected.
Butler began, "I was a racketeer 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. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-12. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. 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 way unmolested.... Looking back on it, I felt I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three city districts. We Marines operated on three continents."
The similarity to Iraq is unmistakable.
While the Pentagon and the Bush administration support an all-volunteer military, a broad constituency, tired of being perceived as suckers and dupes of the military's infantile TV add campaigns, favors some type of universal national service, either military duty or a civilian alternative. But Butler's plan seeks to end all wars that are undertaken to enrich the wealthy. Butler's plan would make short work of the question of whether the Cheney/Bush cabal is just after Iraqi oil. First, after the Augean stables of the media were cleaned out (WHEW!!!!!!!), only people who were to be placed in actual combat situations would participate in a vote over whether to attack or no. All the while, those who stand to gain financially would be earning what the meanest grunt earns and since they would do no actual fighting would not have a say in whether the war would even take place.
"Shit, I'd get mighty antsy trying to get by on a private's pay," laughed Lockheed Martin CEO, Vance Coffman. "I'd have to dip into my Christmas club or something."
"The problem with the all-volunteer force is that the children of America's elite are accustomed to being served," said Charles Moskos, a Northwestern University sociologist who studies military issues. "Butler's book really puts the lie to notions of egalitarianism and equality."
Moskos has proposed a three-tiered draft -- specifically designed to include college graduates -- with the choice to serve with the armed forces, a homeland security agency such as Tom Ridge's Neighborhood Peeping Toms For Peace Corps or John Poindexter's Committee For Information Prohibition And Interdiction, or a public service minded organization such as the World Bank, Proctor & Gamble or the Coors Brewing Company.
On college campuses, opinions about the draft are deeply confused.
"I don't object to the argument that there's a socio-economic bias in the military, but remedying that with a draft is ridiculous," said University of Virginia sophomore Chris Wilson. "I would protest every step of the way." When asked if affirmative action and other methods should be used to help level the socio-economic playing field Wilson answered, "I object to the argument that there's a socio-economic bias in the military."
At the University of Oregon, law student Philip Huang suggested in a campus newspaper column in October that a draft would make U.S. leaders more judicious about launching war. "Using Rumsfeld's equations and reviving McNamara's algorithms and the chances of losing go up astronomically.
"You would have a different army under a draft, more of a cross-section politically and racially. There is less time to brainwash draftees, so when they see shit they often refuse to eat it." Huang said.
In a survey of 1,200 undergraduates nationwide, conducted last fall by Harvard University's Institute of Polling Tricks, 67 percent opposed a return of the draft. The other 33% were waiting for a congressional vote to begin their opposition. The poll's margin of error was 200.8 percent because it is based on no imminent threat to anyone's ass being drafted.
Big Brother for reinstating the draft is in place even now, thanks to the Selective Service System, which requires American males to register within 30 days of their 18th birthdays.
A renewed draft would differ from the Vietnam War draft in at least one important respect. Under revised Selective Service procedures, college students receiving a draft notice could defer only until the semester ended; in the Vietnam era, they could avoid service as long as they pursued a degree or got out in the streets and exposed the lying murdering motherfuckers for what they are. "Wow! 286,000 fewer business degrees every year. The moral and ethical complexion of your country could change overnight," offered the Chilean ambassador.
There could be other changes, as well. Some feminists, hoping to undermine the draft altogether, object to the male-only aspect of draft registration; a suit was filed Jan. 9 by five Massachusetts students saying the current law amounts to gender-based discrimination.
The Cheney/Bush administration is particularly incensed by this kind of feminist subterfuge. Bush is reported to have said he objected on the grounds that it would destroy the authenticity of Hollywood war movies. "Everybody knows," said Bush" That the best part of the movie is when the guys sit on their helmets just as the chopper takes 'em down."
"It's so ingrained in our economic system that this is the way it is," said plaintiff Nicole Foley, 17. "Boys, when there's a war, go off to war, and the girls wait home and marry geeky looking engineers at Lockheed Martin with 6 figure salaries."
Some gay-rights activists and military experts advocate another change -- extending the draft to openly gay men. This proposal has been endorsed by Moskos, who helped develop the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that lets gay and lesbian soldiers serve if they keep their sexual orientation private and don't engage in homosexual acts. "We want them to deny their humanity. After all, that's what the military is about anyway."
"We now have about 1,200 people a year getting out of the military with an honorable discharge by saying they're gay," Moskos said. "In a draft, that would become such a common loophole, it wouldn't work." The best way for me to make a living by turning the draft into a sexual preference circus is to propose that we block that option so as to include gays in the draft, he said. "Then they'll have to do something drastic to stay out like dress like George Will."
Rangel, a liberal from Harlem, made it no secret that his restore-the-draft proposal was intended to slow the march toward war with Iraq -- though he intends to push his idea, however that conflict turns out.
"I've been criticized by some of the CEOs of the country for not supporting the president," Rangel said. "When I ask them, 'Would you feel the same if it was your kid being placed in harm's way?' they hem and they haw. Butler knew from whereof he spoke."
The American Legion, the nation's largest veterans group, welcomed the debate and is urging Congress to hold hearings on how best to get revenge on the "loud little twits that brush them on their skateboards and yell 'Get out of the fuckin' way you old fart.'" "I'd like nothing better than to see that generation of sorry little fucks come back in body bags," mused World War II veteran, Walter Dornberger.
"With the all-volunteer force alleviating some of the unemployment generated by inequalities in the system, it might to be difficult to make the case for reinstating the draft," said Legion spokesman Steve Thomas. "But the Legion is made up of the kind of people that need long-standing military training. We need somebody to tell us what to do. Then were all for it. No I never heard of Smedley Butler."
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