Looking back, Woodrow Wilson was re-elected president in 1916 on a platform that he had "kept us out of war" and on the implied promise that he would "keep us out of war." Yet, five months later he asked Congress to declare war on Germany.
In that five-month interval the people had not been asked whether they had changed their minds. The 4,000,000 young men who put on uniforms and marched or sailed away were not asked whether they wanted to go forth to suffer and die.
Then what caused our government to change its mind so suddenly?
An allied commission, it may be recalled, came over shortly before the war declaration and called on the President. The President summoned a group of advisers. The head of the commission spoke. Stripped of its diplomatic language, this is what he told the President and his group:
"There is no use kidding ourselves any longer. The cause of the allies is lost. we now owe you (American bankers, American munitions makers, American manufacturers, American speculators, American exporters) five or six billion dollars. If we lose (and without the help of the United States we must lost) we, England, France and Italy, cannot pay back this money ... and Germany won't. So..."
Had secrecy been outlawed as far as war negotiations were concerned, and had the press been invited to be present at that conference, or had radio been available to broadcast the proceedings, America never would have entered the World War. But this conference, like all war discussions, was shrouded in utmost secrecy. When our boys were sent off to war they were told it was a "war to make the world safe for democracy" and a "war to end all wars."
Well, eighteen years after, the world has less of democracy than it had then. Besides, what business is it of ours whether Russia or Germany or England or France or Italy or Austria live under democracies or monarchies? Whether they are Fascists or Communists? Our problem is to preserve our own democracy.
And very little, if anything, has been accomplished to assure us that the World War was really the war to end all wars.
Yes, we have had disarmament conferences and limitations of arms conferences. They don't mean a thing. One has just failed; the results of another have been nullified. We send our professional soldiers and our sailors and our politicians and our diplomats to these conferences. And what happens?
The professional soldiers and sailors don't want to disarm. No admiral wants to be without a ship. No general wants to be without a command. Both mean men without jobs. They are not for disarmament. They cannot be for limitations of arms. And at all these conferences, lurking in the background but all-powerful, just the same, are the sinister agents of those who profit by war. They see to it that these conferences do not disarm or seriously limit armaments.
The chief aim of any power at any of these conferences has not been to achieve disarmament to prevent war but rather to get more armament for itself and less for any potential foe.
There is only one way to disarm with any semblance of practicability. That is for all nations to get together and scrap every ship, every gun, every rifle, every tank, every war plane. Even this, if it were possible, would not be enough.
Secretly each nation is studying and perfecting newer and ghastlier means of annihilating its foes wholesale. Yes, ships will continue to be built, for the shipbuilders must make their profits. And guns still will be manufactured and powder and rifles will be made, for the munitions makers must make their huge profits. And the soldiers, of course, must wear uniforms, for the manufacturer must make their war profits too.
But victory or defeat will be determined by the skill and ingenuity of our scientists.
If we put them to work making poison gas and more and more fiendish mechanical and explosive instruments of destruction, they will have no time for the constructive job of building greater prosperity for all peoples. By putting them to this useful job, we can all make more money out of peace than we can out of war -- even the munitions makers.
TO HELL WITH WAR!"
Smedley Butler died in June 1940. The 'War to end all Wars" was, as he had predicted, a lie. The Second World War didn't have the widespread use of chemical weapons which he had feared, yet even more terrifying arsenals were devised. The nuclear age, where entire cities could be destroyed and irradiated with a single bomb, would be the next great threat to humanity.
Today, the use of depleted uranium, anthrax and other biological weapons are as prevalent as ever, and the profits are just as great. The war racket continues and won't stop under the current political set-up. Only more representation for the people and greater awareness of the subject will see this change.
We hope that you have enjoyed reading these excerpts over this last week. The book, War is a Racket, is available in many book stores and from online retailers. It is definitely worth a read. It is our hope that one day this book will be in every school and studied within history classes to offer students a different perspective on the world they will inherit. I know I wish I had read this work when I was at school.
Part 1 - War is a racket
Part 2 - Who makes the profits?
Part 3 - Who pays the bills?
Part 4 - How to smash this racket!
Part 5 - To hell with war!
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