War: Martin Luther King Jr. and Smedley Butler

I’m preparing a twenty second spoken-word bit for my amigo, Juan Carlos, he’s one of the owners of the studio where I spend most evenings.  He’s been asked to arrange a musical piece for the upcoming Carnival in Santa Cruz.  We spend quite some time discussing political games, and even the Carnival is part of the political process, it’s used like a lollipop to a child, on the masses, stick this (the carnival) in their mouths, and we’ll have them forgetting that we are fleecing them, lying to them, and taking care of our own.

Anyway, the theme of this years Carnival is the sixties, Vietnam War, and the music of the time that reflected the prevailing moods.  Checking back on what Martin Luther King Jr. said, especially about how many in the country and media turned their back on him when he spoke against the war, preferring that he stay within their confines of civil rights. Or questioning his motives, labeling him a traitor for being critical of the bombing of people of colour thousands of miles from home, while brothers and sisters at home couldn’t get a micro-teenth of the money spent on the military machine to better their situation. Two months before he was murdered he declared his country was “the world’s greatest purveyor of violence.”.  Thirty years later the figures bear true, of every ten dollars spent on arms in the world, four and a half end up in the US.

I went back to find the following quote from Smedley Butler.  He is one of the most decorated men that ever existed in Uncle Jam’s Sam’s Army Machine.  After his retirement he said:

“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.”

Recommended reading: Upside Down by Eduardo Galeano

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