Fwd: Mark Twain -- this Memorial Day

From: Mike B.
Sent on: Monday, May 28, 2012 3:31 PM
>This is a good one to pass along.
>Mark Twain's War Prayer  -- on Memorial Day         {see full text attached}
>   http://www.lewroc...­
>"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of 
>our hearts, go forth to battle – be Thou near 
>them! With them, in spirit, we also go forth 
>from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to 
>smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear 
>their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; 
>help us to cover their smiling fields with the 
>pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to 
>drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks 
>of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to 
>lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of 
>fire; help us to wring the hearts of their 
>unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help 
>us to turn them out roofless with their little 
>children to wander unfriended the wastes of 
>their desolated land in rags and hunger and 
>thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and 
>the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn 
>with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of 
>the grave and denied it – for our sakes who 
>adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight 
>their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, 
>make heavy their steps, water their way with 
>their tears, stain the white snow with the blood 
>of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit 
>of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and 
>Who is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all 
>that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.
>(After a pause)
>"Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, 
>speak! The messenger of the Most High waits."
>It was believed afterward that the man was a 
>lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.
>Note: Twain wrote The War Prayer during the US 
>war on the Philippines. It was submitted for 
>publication, but on March 22, 1905, Harper's 
>Bazaar rejected it as "not quite suited to a 
>woman's magazine." Eight days later, Twain wrote 
>to his friend Dan Beard, to whom he had read the 
>story, "I don't think the prayer will be 
>published in my time. None but the dead are 
>permitted to tell the truth." Because he had an 
>exclusive contract with Harper & Brothers, Mark 
>Twain could not publish "The War Prayer" 
>elsewhere and it remained unpublished until 
>Smedley Butler on <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 
>ns = "urn:schemas-microso­ft-com:office:smartt­ags" />U.S. Imperialism
>Excerpt from a booklet published in 1933 by 
>Major General Smedley D. Butler, USMC, 
>Ret.<?xml:nam­espace prefix = o ns = 
>"urn:schemas-mic­rosoft-com:office:of­fice" />
>War is just a racket. A racket is best 
>described, I believe, as something that is not 
>what it seems to the majority of people. Only a 
>small inside group knows what it is about. It is 
>conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.
>I believe in adequate defense at the coastline 
>and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to 
>fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with 
>America is that when the dollar only earns 6 
>percent over here, then it gets restless and 
>goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag 
>follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.
>I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to 
>protect some lousy investment of the bankers. 
>There are only two things we should fight for. 
>One is the defense of our homes and the other is 
>the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.
>There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that 
>the military gang is blind to. It has its 
>"finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle 
>men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan 
>war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-­Capitalism.
>It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt 
>such a comparison.  Truthfulness compels me to. 
>I spent thirty-three years and four months in 
>active military service as a member of this 
>country's most agile military force, the Marine 
>Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from 
>Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during 
>that period, I spent most of my time being a 
>high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall 
>Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a 
>racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
>I suspected I was just part of a racket at the 
>time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members 
>of the military profession, I never had a 
>thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties
>remained in suspended animation while I obeyed 
>the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with 
>everyone in the military service.
>I helped make Mexico, 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 benefits of Wall 
>Street. The record of racketeering is long. I 
>helped purify Nicaragua for the international 
>banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I 
>brought light to the Dominican Republic for 
>American sugar interests in 1916. In China I 
>helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
>During those years, I had, as the boys in the 
>back room would say, a swell racket. Looking 
>back on it, I feel that I could 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.
>Top U.S. General on Cover-up of Forces Behind War
>That war is a racket has been told us by many, 
>but rarely by one of this stature. Though he 
>wrote the landmark book 
>is a Racket in 1935, the highly decorated U.S. 
>Butler (two Congressional Medals of Honor) 
>deserves to be heralded for this timeless 
>message, which rings true today more than ever. 
>Below is an engaging two-page summary.
>  by General Smedley Butler
>War is a racket. It always has been. It is 
>possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, 
>surely the most vicious. It is the only one in 
>which the profits are reckoned in dollars and 
>the losses in lives. In the World War [World War 
>I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the 
>conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and 
>billionaires were made in the United States 
>during the World War. That many admitted huge 
>gains in their income tax returns. How many 
>other war millionaires falsified their tax 
>returns no one knows. [Please note these are 
>1935 U.S. dollars. To adjust for inflation, multiply all figures X 10 or more]
>The World War cost the United States some $52 
>billion. That means $400 [over $4,000 in today's 
>dollars] to every American man, woman, and 
>child. The normal yearly profits of a business 
>concern in the U.S. are 6 to  12%. But war-time 
>profits, that is another matter – 60, 100, 300, 
>and even 1,800% – the sky is the limit. Uncle 
>Sam has the money. Let's get it. Of course, it 
>isn't put that crudely in war time. It is 
>dressed into speeches about patriotism, love of 
>country, and "we must all put our shoulders to 
>the wheel," but the profits jump, leap, and 
>skyrocket – and are safely pocketed.
>Take our friends the du Ponts, the powder 
>people. The average pre-war earnings of the du 
>Ponts for the period 1910 to 1914 were $6 
>million a year. Now let's look at their average 
>yearly profit during the war years, 1914 to 
>1918. $58 million a year profit we find! Nearly 
>ten times that of normal times, and the profits 
>of normal times were pretty good. An increase in profits of more than 950%.
>Take one of our steel companies. Their[masked] 
>yearly earnings averaged $6 million. Then came 
>the war. And, like loyal citizens, Bethlehem 
>Steel promptly turned to munitions making. Did 
>their profits jump? Well, their[masked] 
>average was $49 million a year! Or, let's take 
>United States Steel. The normal earnings during 
>the five-year period prior to the war were $105 
>million a year. Then along came the war and up 
>went the profits. The average yearly profit for 
>the period[masked] was $240 million. Not bad.
>They sold your Uncle Sam 20 million mosquito 
>nets for the use of the soldiers overseas. Well, 
>not one of these mosquito nets ever got to 
>France! There were pretty good profits in 
>mosquito netting, even if there were no 
>mosquitoes in France. When the war was over some 
>4 million sets of equipment – knapsacks and the 
>things that go to fill them – crammed warehouses 
>on this side. Now they are being scrapped 
>because the regulations have changed the 
>contents. But the manufacturers collected their wartime profits on them.
>If anyone had the cream of the profits it was 
>the bankers. Being partnerships rather than 
>incorporated organizations, they do not have to 
>report to stockholders. Their profits were as 
>secret as they were immense. How the bankers 
>made their millions and their billions I do not 
>know, because those little secrets never become 
>public – even before a Senate investigatory 
>body. It has been estimated that the war cost 
>your Uncle Sam $52 billion [X 10 or more for 
>inflation]. Of this sum, $39 billion was 
>expended in the actual war itself. This 
>expenditure yielded $16 billion in profits. That 
>is how the 21,000 billionaires and millionaires 
>got that way. This $16 billion profits is not to 
>be sneezed at. It is quite a tidy sum. And it went to a very few.
>Who provides these nice little profits of 20, 
>100, 300, 1,500 and 1,800 per cent? We all pay 
>them – in taxation. But the soldier pays the 
>biggest part of the bill. If you don't believe 
>this, visit the American cemeteries on the 
>battlefields abroad. Or visit any of the 
>veteran's hospitals in the United States. On a 
>tour of the country, I visited 18 government 
>hospitals for veterans. In them are a total of 
>about 50,000 destroyed men – men who were the 
>pick of the nation 18 years ago. Mortality among 
>veterans is three times as great as those who stayed at home.
>Boys with a normal viewpoint were taken out of 
>the offices, factories, and classrooms and put 
>into the ranks. There they were remolded. They 
>were made to "about face," to regard murder as 
>the order of the day. They were put through mass 
>psychology and entirely changed. We trained them 
>to think nothing at all of killing or of being 
>killed. Then, suddenly, we discharged them and 
>told them to make another "about face!" This 
>time they had to do their own readjustment. We 
>didn't need them any more. Many of these fine 
>young boys are eventually destroyed, mentally, 
>because they could not make that final "about face" alone.
>Beautiful ideals were painted for our boys who 
>were sent out to die. This was the "war to end 
>all wars." This was the "war to make the world 
>safe for democracy." No one mentioned to them 
>that their going and their dying would mean huge 
>war profits. No one told these American soldiers 
>that they might be shot down by bullets made by 
>their own brothers here. No one told them that 
>their ships might be torpedoed by submarines 
>built with United States patents. They were just 
>told it was to be a "glorious adventure."
>Well, it's a racket, all right. A few profit – 
>and the many pay. But there is a way to stop it. 
>You can't end it by disarmament conferences. You 
>can't eliminate it by peace parleys at Geneva. 
>Well-meaning but impractical groups can't wipe 
>it out by resolutions. Three steps must be taken 
>to smash the war racket: 1) We must take the 
>profit out of war; 2) We must permit the youth 
>of the land who would bear arms to decide 
>whether or not there should be war; and 3) We 
>must limit our military forces to home defense purposes.
>I am not a fool as to believe that war is a 
>thing of the past. I know the people do not want 
>war, but there is no use in saying we cannot be 
>pushed into another war. Woodrow Wilson was 
>re-elected president in 1916 on a platform that 
>he had "kept us out of war." Yet, five months 
>later he asked Congress to declare war on 
>Germany. In that five-month interval the people 
>had not been asked whether they had changed 
>their minds. Then what caused our government to 
>change its mind so suddenly? Money.
>An allied commission came over shortly before 
>the war declaration and called on the President. 
>The President summoned a group of advisers. The 
>head of the commission spoke. Stripped of its 
>diplomatic language, this is what he told the 
>President and his group: "There is no use 
>kidding ourselves any longer. The cause of the 
>allies is lost. We now owe you (American 
>bankers, American munitions makers, American 
>manufacturers, American speculators, American 
>exporters) five or six billion dollars. If we 
>lose (and without the help of the US we must 
>lose) we, England, France and Italy, cannot pay back this money. So..."
>Had secrecy been outlawed as far as war 
>negotiations, and had the press been invited to 
>be present at that conference, America never 
>would have entered the war. But this conference, 
>like all war discussions, was shrouded in utmost 
>secrecy. When our boys were sent off, they were 
>told it was a "war to make the world safe for 
>democracy" and a "war to end all wars." Very 
>little has been accomplished to assure us that 
>the World War was really the war to end all 
>wars. Disarmament conferences don't mean a 
>thing. At all these conferences, lurking in the 
>background are the sinister agents of those who 
>profit by war. They see to it that these 
>conferences do not seriously limit armaments. So...I say, TO HELL WITH WAR!
>Smedley Darlington Butler
>* Born: West Chester, Pa., July 30, 1881
>* Educated: Haverford School * Married: Ethel C. 
>Peters, of Philadelphia, June 30, 1905
>* Awarded two congressional medals of honor:
>     1. capture of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1914
>     2. capture of Ft. Riviere, Haiti, 1917
>* Distinguished service medal, 1919
>* Major General - United States Marine Corps * Retired Oct. 1, 1931
>* On leave of absence to act as director of 
>Dept. of Safety, Philadelphia, 1932
>* Lecturer -- 1930's
>* Republican Candidate for Senate, 1932
>* Died at Naval Hospital, Philadelphia, June 21, 1940
>* For information about Major General Butler, 
>contact United States Marine Corps.
>© 2003 Veterans for Peace                       Posted March 31, 2003
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Michael Benoit
Ron Paul for President

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