Jan. 22 (Wednesday)

The Last Honest Marine?
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 Smedley Darlington Butler
Full Name: Smedley Darlington Butler
Born: July 30, 1881 in West Chester, Pennsylvania
Died: June 21, 1940 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Smedley Butler was a military officer who is best remembered for his revelations about the workings of the military-industrial complex in his book War is a Racket (1935). Butler fought in the Philippines, China, Central America, the Caribbean and France (during World War I). He rose to the rank of Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps (the highest rank authorized at the time) and was the most decorated Marine in U.S. history at the time of his death.

Butler participated in a series of occupations, police actions, and interventions in Central America and the Caribbean that are commonly called the Banana Wars because their goal was to protect American commercial interests, particularly those of the United Fruit Company. This fueled Butler’s outrage over war profiteering; after his retirement, he criticized the ways in which U.S. businesses and Wall Street bankers imposed their agenda on foreign policy.

Even more shocking, Butler told a congressional committee in 1933 that a group of wealthy industrialists had asked him to participate in a military coup to overthrow Franklin D. Roosevelt. (Check out these videos: The Fascist Takeover of the U.S., War is a Racket)