November 24, 2018

Smedley D. Butler,
And My Solution To The
Honduran Immigration Crisis

General Smedley D. Butler

As thousands of Hondurans are marching in a "migrant caravan" to America, I got to thinking about U.S.M.C. Major General Smedley Darlington Butler. He briefly fought in Honduras back in 1930. 

Butler was (and is) one of the most decorated soldiers in American history. Most notably, he is one of only 19 men to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor two times.

But Smedley Butler is not only an American legend for his numerous military exploits. He is a legend for exposing the real reasons why he had been in so many American military actions and wars around the globe. This remarkable quote from General Butler sums it up...
“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.”

Smedley Butler spent his retirement years speaking out against the use of American military forces to protect the profits of big American businesses. His book, War is a Racket is well worth reading (that link takes you to a free pdf copy). The book is short and to the point. Butler was a straight shooter with the written word, as I'm sure he was with a firearm.

Years later, President Dwight Eisenhower would warn America about the "military industrial complex" in his 1961 Farewell Address. Eisenhower was indirectly saying what Butler asserted. The military industrial complex was (and is) directly related to making big profits off American militarism around the world. Eisenhower was, by the way, a 5 star general before becoming President. 

These days, the military-industrial complex is part of what is referred to as the "deep state."

Don't think for a second that Smedley Butler "went soft" after his retirement from the Marines. He was not a pacifist. He believed in a strong military. He just didn't think it should be an imperial force. He didn't think America's young men should give their lives for anything other than America's direct defense. Here's another of his famous quotes...

“There are only two reasons why you should ever be asked to give your youngsters. One is defense of our homes. The other is the defense of our Bill of Rights and particularly the right to worship God as we see fit. Every other reason advanced for the murder of young men is a racket, pure and simple.” 

In his book, War is a Racket, Butler presents some ways to stop unjust American wars. His ideas are sensible and would probably actually work. But they will never be taken seriously. The powers that profit from war are much too powerful behind the scenes to allow laws that would put a stop to the flow of money into their businesses. 

Besides that, so many American workers are making very good money in their "defense industry" jobs. They would not be happy if America's worldwide warring were to be reduced. 

Nobody likes to see American soldiers die, or be physically and mentally crippled for life, and nobody likes to see innocents in other countries killed by the thousands as a result of American military actions, but war is just too good for business. 

Which brings me to my Honduran immigration solution...

If we must continue to be a nation that profits from war, let's direct our war machine towards nations in our own hemisphere, where we might really be able to make a difference—nations like Honduras.

I don't think the average Honduran would have any desire to leave their country if they had a stable republican form of government— a government where all citizens were safe and protected by the rule of law. Where free enterprise was encouraged and taxation was low. 

Hondurans want to get out of a dangerous, totally corrupt society, with severe poverty. I don't blame them for wanting to come to America.

So, I propose that America invade Honduras as soon as possible. Displace the current government. Establish a "temporary" American military dictatorship. Punish the criminals and evildoers in that country. 

Then, in due time, establish a republican democracy, based on a Constitution and Bill of Rights like America has. Do this properly and the fleeing Hondurans will no longer flee. They will rejoice and prosper in their own nation.

The only real problem with my idea is that the big banks and big-business profiteers will  want to establish themselves in Honduras and start profiteering. John Perkins explains how this is routinely done in undeveloped nations in his remarkable book, Confessions of a Economic Hit Man.  I haven't read the book, but I've listened to some YouTube videos where Perkins explains the book. 

In the final analysis, I guess it's probably not a good idea to take over Honduras. Unless, maybe, we stop trying to fix so many other countries in the world. 

I can't help but wonder what Major General Butler would think of all this.


  1. Thanks for posting this!

    What if we actually took Gen'l Butler's advice (along with those extremist whack-jobs, Washington and Jefferson) and limited our war-fighting and meddling in foreign affairs to actually defending ourselves?

    Reminds me of another quote -and I don't remember who it's from - but it was riffing off of Lincoln's phrase in the Gettysburg Address about the fighting being all about the continuance of government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" and its not perishing from the earth. Instead, so this unknown writer said, it was all about the continuance of government of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations (Mencken?).

    So it was in the 1860s, so it is now in 2018. Gen'l Butler was right!

    For what it's worth, I say this as a veteran of two combat deployments as a minor player in Operation Iraqi Freedom (II and III), an excellent example of what Butler was talking about, by the way! I'm no pacifist myself, but I no longer see any legitimacy to what we did (with the possible exception of the initial push into Afghanistan in '01) or what we're doing now. It's certainly NOT about legitimate self-defense, but instead nation-building, meddling, and a variation on Wilson's "making the world safe for democracy," a utopian pursuit if there ever was one!

    David Smith

    1. David,
      I've also heard it as "of the bureaucrats, by the bureaucrats, and for the bureaucrats."
      Whatever the case, American government now is not what it was intended to be.
      Plenty of veterans can see Smedley Butler's perspective better than a lot of civilians. I'm glad you made it back from the Middle East in one piece! And I appreciate your perspective.

    2. Defending Taiwan against china is a different matter. While for Japan I support perhaps a scrapping of article 9 altogether.

  2. I'm thinking if those Hondurans are trying to get in to work, by all means let them in and put them to work. There's lots of work in this country that needs to be done. If they're coming here to freeload, then they might as well stay out. What we need to do is reduce the incentives in this country to be a freeloader.

    1. I agree. Screen out the undesirables and let them in if they want to be productive American citizens. The elimination of freeloader incentives for immigrants and Americans alike would be a step in the right direction.


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