They didn’t teach us about General Smedley Butler in school half a century ago, but they should have.
Since then I have learned that Marine Lt. General Butler (1881-1940), won the Congressional Medal of Honor Twice and the Marine Brevet Metal, the highest Marine medal for heroism for his actions in Marine military ventures in Vera Cruz, Mexico 1914, Haiti 1915, and China 1900.
Why would such a decorated General disappear from the American Story taught in school? It seems that the Quaker son of a long time Pennsylvania Congressman, had an epiphany about his role as a hired gun for Uncle Sam and his corporate interests. After he retired from the Marines in 1931, Butler came to realize that virtually all war is a racket, so much so that he left his story for posterity in his 1935 tome “War Is A Racket”.
In recounting how his military ventures around the world made those locales safe for American business interests, Butler famously said, “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."
Not much has changed in the seventy-eight years since. They are still not teaching school kids about this American hero, patriot and visionary, and war is still a racket.