Most Americans have never heard of Smedley Darlington Butler. He spent over 30 years in the United States Marine Corps, and retired as a Major General. At the time of his death in 1941, he was the most decorated Marine in history, having been awarded two Medals of Honor, and the Brevet medal, for separate actions. He served in the Philippines, China Central America, the Caribbean, and in France.
During the summer of 1932, Butler was the only high ranking (recently retired) officer to stand in support of the ‘Bonus Army’, the tens of thousands of WW I veterans who were petitioning congress to pay them the bonus they had been promised. Many of them were losing their farms and houses during the depression and were desperate. Butler stood with them, Gen. MacArthur led active duty troops against them, burning down the shanties they had been living in along the Anacostia River outside of DC. Several of these WW I veterans were killed, many more were injured. Though they were denied their bonus, the actions of these brave veterans that summer certainly helped lead to the GI Bill.
In 1933, he reported to congress that a group of wealthy businessmen were planning a military coup, and they had hoped that he would lead a group of veterans in overthrowing President Roosevelt to install a fascist dictatorship. Many people would have, but thankfully Butler didn’t have a price tag.
In 1935, General Butler wrote the book “War Is a Racket” in which he explains how businesses benefit from war:
“I spent 33 years and four months in Active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as 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 safe for American oil interests. 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. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies. In China 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.”
Had Smedley Butler been born just a few years earlier, Hawaii would have been on his list as well.
Fast forward to 2018. Genie Energy is an American energy company based in Newark, New Jersey. As blood continues to soak into the Syrian (and surrounding) soil, quite a few people who had a hand in spilling that blood, in one way or another, are now sitting on the board of Genie Energy, offering their advice on how to best turn that blood into dollar bills. Former Vice President Dick Cheney, former UN Ambassador, US Energy Secretary, and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Former CIA director James Woolsey, former Treasury Secretary, President of Harvard, and President Obama’s director of the National Economic Council, Lawrence Summers, Former US Senator from Louisiana Mary Landrieu, as well as the head of FOX News Rupert Murdoch.
There are endless examples of this same old same old since General Butler wrote his book, but Genie Energy is a pretty good one. They needed instability in the region to provide cover for regime change, and free up access to boat loads of oil. It’s hard to imagine them not loving ISIS, not loving terror. They need it to keep shareholders happy.
It’s also interesting to think that one company, Lockheed Martin, is getting nearly as much money as the state department. $35 billion of Lockheed Martin’s $50 billion dollars in sales last year came from the American taxpayer, and 2018 is going to be even better for them, but with nearly 3/4 of a trillion dollars going to the pentagon this year, theres enough to go around. Boeing, for instance, is getting $26.5 billion US tax dollars.
So, if you are interested in investing in the stock market and you’re a sociopath (but I repeat myself), look no further than Lockheed Martin. Raytheon is pretty good as well. Halliburton has been a sure-bet for a long time now. Of course there are other high rollers like Northrup Grumman, and General Dynamics, but heck, even Motorola is getting a piece of the pie.
Lets not forget Monsanto, thats a great stock. Though they no longer drop chemicals on Vietnamese, or other peasant farmers, they sell them chemicals to use in their already-contaminated fields. Though no longer a ‘defense’ stock, they are certainly still making a buck in Vietnam.
These companies don’t only profit from the US tax payer, they also take foreign currency. They sell these weapons of war to places like Saudi Arabia, who use them to kill civilians in places like Yemen.
I was tear-gassed once by the Israeli military, along side a lot of Palestinians, and quite a few Jewish peace activists, during a peaceful demonstration in what remained of an old Palestinian farmers olive orchard (the rest had already been seized by the Israeli government to make way for more illegal settlements). I found out that the tear gas was made in the United States. I’m not sure exactly where the rubber bullets they were firing into the crowd were made, but somebody made a buck off of those as well, and thats only the ‘less-than-lethal’ weapons
War has always been a racket. As long as there has been war, there have been businessmen looking to profit. As long as there have been weapons, there have been people making and selling the weapons.
This isn’t unique to the current president. The percent of the federal budget he hands over to the pentagon is only slightly higher than his predecessor. 61 cents on the dollar under Trump is only a 7 cent increase over President Obama’s 54 cents on the dollar. That means that even when we had a Nobel Peace prize reciepiant in the oval office, 54 cents out of every single dollar that we obediently payed the IRS was sent to the Pentagon.