War is based on lies for the many and profit for the few – “War is a Racket” (Butler, 1935)

In  the light of recent events, the book “War is a racket” (1935) [1] by United States Marine Corps Major General  and two-time Medal of Honor recipient Smedley D. Butler has remained as relevant as ever. Based on his career military experience, Butler explains how business interests drive warfare and recommends to avoid war by following three steps [2]:

  1. Making war unprofitable.
  2. Acts of war to be decided by those who fight it.
  3. Limitation of militaries to self-defense.

WAR is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

Smedley D. Butler (1935). War is a Racket.


[¹] Smedley D. Butler & Adam Parfrey (1935/2003). War Is A Racket. Feral House Press, USA. [Print] [AZW] [EPUB] [PDF]

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Is_a_Racket