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A True American Military Hero: Smedley Butler

John Rowland

Posted on May 24, 2018 10:33

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Sometimes, the biggest heroes are the ones who give voice to truth.

Smedley Butler, a true hero worth remembering and honoring this Memorial Day, was (at the time of his death) "the most decorated Marine in US History."

Butler was the only Marine to be awarded the Marine Corps Brevet Medal and two Congressional Medals of Honor. His other honors include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Army Distinguished Service Medal and the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal with 3 Service Stars.

As a champion warrior, Smedley Butler certainly walked the walk.

But one of his more courageous feats was his open criticism of economic fascism . . . well before such criticism became fashionable or patriotic.

As Robert Shetterly put it, "Butler spoke out against what he saw as admiration for Fascism and for Italy's leader Benito Mussolini. He was punished for telling an unfavorable story about Mussolini and avoided court-martial by accepting a reprimand. Because of his rank, he was able to write his own reprimand and never apologized to Mussolini."

Three years before Hitler was gracing Time magazine's cover as its "Man of the Year" in 1938, a series of speeches by Butler had yielded War is a Racket.

Citing examples primarily from WWI (and its "vicious war propaganda"), Butler's work exposed how the "industrialists' operations were subsidized by public funding . . . to generate substantial profits essentially from mass human suffering."

Mischaracterizing the culprit as "capitalism," what Butler actually did was to expose economic fascism: the marriage of big business with big government.

Smedley was a man way ahead of his time; a critic of the 1%.

So what would a Smedley Butler look like today?

Would he be a part of killing 134 fellow servicemen in the Gulf of Tonkin?

Would he support the treason surrounding the murder of 34 American servicemen, even if his Navy Admiral father had helped cover it up?

Would he betray a villager who helped save his life?

Would he dump his wife to take up with one who was younger (18 years younger than himself) and wealthy, connected with liquor and the mob?

Would he have been an enabler of ISIS?

Would he let others parade him about, propping him up as some virtuous patriot from his having been a POW?

Would he use vulgar language?

Probably not.

Instead, Butler would have been like another true hero, James N. Rowe, someone you've probably never heard of.

And there are surely many others deserving of respectful mention.

Butler was indeed a true champion warrior. But, by speaking the truth surrounding the ugliness of economic fascism and its banking enablers -- a message desperately needed today -- Smedley Butler is also remembered and honored this Memorial Day.

John Rowland

Posted on May 24, 2018 10:33


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