Thursday, April 24, 2008

Review Of Book About Smedley Butler & Coup Plot Against FDR

A review by Dale Wharton

Dale Wharton is a retired computer programmer who writes two-page (900 word) book reviews as a hobby. He was a seaman in the US Navy at the end of WWII. He received his B.A. in Journalism from the University of Missouri in 1949.

The Plot to Sieze the White House by Jules Archer
Hawthorn Books: New York
244 pp.

Smedley Darlington Butler (1881-1940) blew the whistle on the little- known plot of the title. He was on public television the fall of 1993 in "The Road to Rock Bottom"--Part 2 of The Great Depression series (Blackside production). Near the end it shows Butler in shirtsleeves, urging on 10,000 of the war veterans who had marched to Washington and camped in Anacostia DC. It was July 1932. The Bonus Army asked for early payment of moneys promised for 1945. "Some were the same men who had fought under Smedley Butler in the Spanish-American War, the Philippines campaign, the Boxer Rebellion, ...Caribbean interventions, the Chinese intervention of 1927-8, and World War I" (p 3).

Butler, a major general at 48, retired from the Marine Corps in 1931. He had faced gunfire 120 times. Columnist Will Rogers wrote of Butler, "He is what I would call a natural born warrior. He will fight anybody, any time....He carries every medal we ever gave out. He has two Congressional Medals of Honor....You give him another war and he will get him another one....I do admire him" (p 116).

Except the two years in China, Butler spent the last third of his service in police work and administration. During this time a disillusion with war spread through Europe and America. The mood fed on books like ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT and MERCHANTS OF DEATH.

August 21, 1931, Butler spoke to an American Legion convention in New Britain CT. Looking back, he reflected on his career. His remarks stunned the audience. Few papers dared report even part of the speech:

"I spent 33 years...being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism....

"I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1916. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City [Bank] boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the rape of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street....

"In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested....I had...a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals, promotions....I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate a racket in three cities. The Marines operated on three continents..." (p 118).

Why would a cabal of capitalists--conspirators of enormous wealth-- approach such a man? Because they knew veterans revered him; he never ordered anything done he would not do himself. Grunts, noncoms, and combat officers believed Butler was their friend. Forty times, envoys of Wall Street tried to persuade him to lead a coup d'etat.

  • Complete Article

  • Note From A Marine Veteran:

    Every Marine is taught in Basic Training about Smedley Butler. At least up to the 1990s.

    New Marines are not taught about him.

    He has been erased from history.

    I wonder why?

  • Butler Video

  • Smedley Butler Brigade Veterans For Peace
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