General Smedley Butler: Semper Fi (Always Faithful) Personified, Style 2 by Steven Torrisi

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Smedley Darlington Butler (1881-1940) is a personal hero and inspiration of mine and hope become yours during these dark times. He was a man of contradictions. A Quaker and a high school dropout he became a First Lieutenant in the Marine Corps before his 18th birthday. Seeing combat in the Banana Wars fought in support of US Dollar Diplomacy in Latin America and Asia between 1898-1927 he also served in World War I ultimately rising and retiring with the rank of 4-star general. He embodied a word which had been dumbed down in today’s press Hero: holding every medal for bravery issued including two Congressional Medals of Honor; technically he should have three CMOH but in 1900 when his first above and beyond the call of duty act of bravery was recorded the medal was not authorized for officers and so received a promotion to captain instead. He was also recommended for the British equivalent of the CMOH the Victoria Cross for rescuing a British soldier during the Boxer Rebellion but in those days American officers were not allowed to receive and wear foreign decorations as they are today. However he did not hold to the reasons why he had to earn these medals. He had intense dislike of seeing the Marine Corps used as muscle for Big Business which would lead him in 1931 to make his famous and very frank “War is a Racket” speech. Made while on active duty before the American Legion Butler’s speech may have been what President Eisenhower was thinking of 30 years later in warning of the Military-Industrial Complex during his own farewell speech to the nation. He was the enlisted man’s general. Fighting in front of them and alongside them never behind them. He knew the value of collecting credible intelligence before committing a nations military to war. Rather than sending someone below him to do the dirty work he went on undercover missions by himself using disguises and getting arrested and bluffing his way out several times prior to one intervention just to deliver accurate information. During the Great Depression he advocated on behalf of WWI veterans seeking early payment of the bonus promised them in 20 years time. An act that would draw him into a plot by Big Business upset with Roosevelt New Deal and decision to abandon the Gold Standard to consider overthrow FDR administration with the help of a paramilitary army of disgruntled and unemployed veterans (as those used in Italy, France and Germany) and replace it with a fascist government with Butler himself in charge. Putting liberty and democracy ahead of dictatorship Butler played amateur detective to gain the confidence of the bankers and industrialist involved and exposed them in 1934 and their front organization the American Liberty League (whose high profile membership list counted among itself the very rich and very anti-semitic) before the bipartisan McCormick-Dickstein Commission looking at Fascist groups in America. This Congressional commission verified Butlers supoenaed testimony and certified a plot to overthrow democracy did indeed exist but that Butler stopped it before it could put its plan into action. Congress in usual fashion did not take any action against the plotters since the issue was now moot.. Played down by the media Butlers allegations were supported by recognized veterans groups at the time. Subsequently the Maguire Affair as it came to be known remains the only instance in recorded American history when America came close to losing its freedom. Butler did not let this story die, and went on radio to criticize both democrats and republicans for failing to bring the plotters to justice. When he died in 1940 he and the story lived on. Aspects of which serving as the character devlopment and storyline for such films as Meet John Doe with Gary Cooper and Seven Days in May with Kirk Douglas. Two films involved using a man on a white horse to convince the common man that in a time of national emergency a dictatorships is what America needs. And since this took place in the 1930s for you Star Wars fans, Butler must be the inspiration for Jedi Knight General Obi-Wan Kenobi and the corporate plot against FDR as the same corporate plot behind the Clone Wars=Banana Wars since this sci-fi serial is based on the 1930s weekly radio and movie serials. If liberty is to survive and experience a rebirth in the USA we must awaken the Butler inside us all.


conflict, fascism, history, marines, military, nazism, patriotism, profiteering, war


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