War Is a Racket is a speech and a 1935 short book, by Smedley D. Butler, a retired United States Marine Corps Major General and two-time Medal of Honor recipient. Based on his career military experience, Butler frankly discusses how business interests commercially benefit, such as war profiteering from warfare. He had been appointed commanding officer of the Gendarmerie during the United States occupation of Haiti, which lasted from 1915 to 1934.
"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."
"Beautiful ideals were painted for our boys who were sent out to die. The was the "war to end wars." This was the "war to make the world safe for democracy." No one told them that dollars and cents were the real reason. No one mentioned to them, as they marched away, that their going and their dying would mean huge war profits. No one told these American soldiers that they might be shot down by bullets made by their own brothers here. No one told them that the ships on which they were going to cross might be torpedoed by submarines built with United State patents. They were just told it was to be a "glorious adventure."
"Thus, having stuffed patriotism down their throats, it was decided to make them help pay for the war, too. So, we gave them the large salary of $30 a month!"
"All that they had to do for this munificent sum was to leave their dear ones behind, give up their jobs, lie in swampy trenches, eat canned willy (when they could get it) and kill and kill and kill...and be killed."
~Smedley D. Butler, War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America's Most Decorated Soldier