A Likely MIA Name over Memorial Day Weekend
Smedley Darlington Butler. It is a name you’re not likely to hear mentioned this Memorial Day Weekend. Who is he? A four-star USMC General who served 33-plus years in the US Marine Corps, won two Congressional Medals of Honor and is, at least arguably, the most beloved Marine of all time.
Why won’t you hear his name? Butler became outspoken and politicized the moment he retired in 1931. The following quote will give you some insight:
“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.”
This embarrassed the powers-that-be of his day and would frighten their counterparts in 2019.
In his 10-year retirement Butler,
- “Marched with the Bonus Marchers (WWI Veterans who were promised a bonus) and spoke on their behalf,
- Ran for the US Senate in Pennsylvania in 1934,
- Wrote War is a Racket, still the seminal book on war profiteering,
- Was approached by representatives of JP Morgan and DuPont to lead an army of 500,000 to overthrow the Roosevelt Administration before FDR was even inaugurated [Ed: which he blew the whistle on, leading to a suppressed Congressional probe.]
The mainstream media uses a PR tactic that author/activist Michael Parenti calls “omission”. This involves omitting certain parts of a person’s life or ignoring it completely. For this reason, Butler is something of a well-kept secret outside of ex-Marines, military history buffs and anti-war activists.
Butler’s obituary in the New York Times is a classic example. It spanned a half-page. The part that dealt with his military career comprised 90-percent of it. It was well-written and error-free. Not so the four paragraphs about his retirement. They constituted a very sloppy piece of work.
The mainstream media used this tactic on MLK, too. Most documentary accounts of King’s life end with the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Trouble is, he was murdered on April 4, 1968 and even more active during the last three years of his life. To this day the mainstream media refuses to accept his coming out against the Viet Nam War and starting the Poor People’s Campaign. So, it is excluded.
On Memorial Day weekend war movies will be all over the screen. The majority will be about WWII and Viet Nam. “All Quiet on the Western Front” will represent WWI (a good film, albeit the only one on WWI). There’ll be some fictional beauts like “Red Dawn” or “Rambo”. Nothing on the Korean War or Butler, though.
What a shame. Imagine what Oliver Stone could do with Butler’s life. But sorry. You’re going to have to settle for “The Sands of Iwo Jima”.
STEVE VARALYAY Torrance, CA firstname.lastname@example.org