August 25, 2009 by Gsmith
He first saw action in the Spanish-American war, the declaration of which was part of the motivation behind his rapid departure, and his first duty as a newly commissioned 2nd Lieutenant was to secure the beach at Guantánamo Bay, the present site of the huge and controversial American concentration camp. He saw action thereafter in Haiti, China, West Africa, Central America and Mexico before going to Europe in the First World War. By the time he retired, he was the most highly decorated serviceperson in the history of the United States, with the possible exception of George Washington. Among his other decorations were two Congressional Medals of Honor.
In 1934 General Butler announced that he had been approached by wealthy capitalists who attempted to gain his support in a coup against American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Roosevelt, a right-wing socialist who was at that time instituting the redistribution of excess wealth, was both the most beloved and most despised individual in the history of North America. By his refusal and his admissions Butler made powerful enemies among businessmen and industrialists who later derailed his campaign for the United States Senate.
In 1935 General Butler toured North America giving lectures for the American League Against War & Fascism, an offshoot of the Communist Party of the United States of America. As he lectured he made free copies of a short book he had authored available to everyone who attended.
In June of 1940, General Butler died at the Naval Hospital near his hometown of Philadelphia. That same week the socialist monthly Common Sense eulogized Comrade General Butler in his own words:
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.
Butler’s comments are as relevant today as when they were written. Warfare remains a horrible scam in which the very best human beings are slaughtered to enrich a select few layabouts whose greatest accomplishments are generally limited to inheriting their grandfathers’ fortunes. Fortunately, there’s no need for me to lecture on the subject. The General spilled the beans on the entire shell game much more cogently than I ever could. Read his work in its entirety below.