Sunday, August 14, 2005

War is a Racket

The following is an excerpt from a speech Gen Smedley Butler gave in 1933. Gen Butler was a two time recipient of the Medal of Honor. He is also the author of the book, “War is a Racket” which is a must read. The importance of what Gen Butler said in 1933 is just this: the level of combat related Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) has increased since he wrote about the mental and emotionally destroyed soldiers he saw come back from WW I. How they were just locked away in cages.

Today, the Veterans Administration is looking at 72,000 veterans who are being compensated for combat related PTSD with the intent of eliminating these veterans from the rolls of service connected disability payments. Why? Simply this, since the Bush war in Iraq was launched the V.A.’s payments to veterans with PTSD has shot up from $1 billion a year to what it is now, a little over $4 billion per year. The V.A. is now trying to save money on the backs of combat veterans at the same time people are coming back from Iraq with increased levels of PTSD. Where is the national outrage? -- Jack

WHO PAYS THE BILLS?

By: Gen Smedley Butler (link to full speech follow this)

Who provides the profits – these nice little profits of 20, 100, 300, 1,500 and 1,800 per cent? We all pay them – in taxation. We paid the bankers their profits when we bought Liberty Bonds at $100.00 and sold them back at $84 or $86 to the bankers. These bankers collected $100 plus. It was a simple manipulation. The bankers control the security marts. It was easy for them to depress the price of these bonds. Then all of us – the people – got frightened and sold the bonds at $84 or $86. The bankers bought them. Then these same bankers stimulated a boom and government bonds went to par – and above.

Then the bankers collected their profits. But the soldier pays the biggest part of the bill.

If you don't believe this, visit the American cemeteries on the battlefields abroad. Or visit any of the veteran's hospitals in the United States. On a tour of the country, in the midst of which I am at the time of this writing, I have visited eighteen government hospitals for veterans. In them are a total of about 50,000 destroyed men – men who were the pick of the nation eighteen years ago. The very able chief surgeon at the government hospital; at Milwaukee, where there are 3,800 of the living dead, told me that mortality among veterans is three times as great as among those who stayed at home.

Boys with a normal viewpoint were taken out of the fields and offices and factories and classrooms and put into the ranks. There they were remolded; they were made over; they were made to "about face"; to regard murder as the order of the day. They were put shoulder to shoulder and, through mass psychology, they were entirely changed. We used them for a couple of years and trained them to think nothing at all of killing or of being killed.

Then, suddenly, we discharged them and told them to make another "about face”! This time they had to do their own readjustment, sans [without] mass psychology, sans officers' aid and advice and sans nation-wide propaganda. We didn't need them any more. So we scattered them about without any "three-minute" or "Liberty Loan" speeches or parades. Many, too many, of these fine young boys are eventually destroyed, mentally, because they could not make that final "about face" alone.

In the government hospital in Marion, Indiana, 1,800 of these boys are in pens! Five hundred of them in a barracks with steel bars and wires all around outside the buildings and on the porches. These already have been mentally destroyed. These boys don't even look like human beings. Oh, the looks on their faces! Physically, they are in good shape; mentally, they are gone.

There are thousands and thousands of these cases, and more and more are coming in all the time. The tremendous excitement of the war, the sudden cutting off of that excitement – the young boys couldn't stand it.

That's a part of the bill. So much for the dead – they have paid their part of the war profits. So much for the mentally and physically wounded – they are paying now their share of the war profits. But the others paid, too – they paid with heartbreaks when they tore themselves away from their firesides and their families to don the uniform of Uncle Sam – on which a profit had been made.

They paid another part in the training camps where they were regimented and drilled while others took their jobs and their places in the lives of their communities. The paid for it in the trenches where they shot and were shot; where they were hungry for days at a time; where they slept in the mud and the cold and in the rain – with the moans and shrieks of the dying for a horrible lullaby.

But don't forget – the soldier paid part of the dollars and cents bill too.

(Open this link to read Gen Butler’s full speech—this is a must read: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article4377.htm )

For further information see:

The Smedley Butler Society:
http://warisaracket.org/

Vietnam Veterans of America’s Guide on PTSD: http://www.vva.org/benefits/ptsd.htm

Iraq’s Walking Wounded:
http://www.vaiw.org/vet/

VA To Recheck Claims It Approved For Stress
WASHINGTON — The government is going to take a new look at the claims of about a third of the military veterans who now get disability payments for post-traumatic stress disorder.
http://snipurl.com/gwjz
http://www.vaiw.org/vet/

Smedley Darlington Butler
Major General - United States Marine Corps [Retired]

Born West Chester, Pa., July 30, 1881

Educated Haverford School

Married Ethel C. Peters, of Philadelphia, June 30, 1905

Awarded two Congressional Medals of Honor, for capture of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1914, and for capture of Ft. Riviere, Haiti, 1917

Distinguished Service Medal, 1919

Retired Oct. 1, 1931

On leave of absence to act as director of Department of Safety, Philadelphia, 1932

Lecturer  1930's

Republican Candidate for Senate, 1932

Died at Naval Hospital, Philadelphia, June 21, 1940






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