America’s Armed forces 

In times of peace by Major General Smedley Butler


Our Ideal Never Defensive

Lest this seem to be the bellicose pipedream of some dyspeptic desk soldier, let us remember that the military deal of our country has never been defensive warfare. Since the Revolution, only the United Kingdom has beaten our record for square miles of territory acquired by military conquest. Our exploits against the American Indian, against the Filipinos, the Mexicans, and against Spain are on a par with the campaigns of Genghis Khan, the Japanese in Manchuria and the African attack of Mussolini. No country has ever declared war on us before we first obliged them with that gesture. Our whole history shows we have never fought a defensive war. And at the rate our armed forces are being implemented at present, the odds are against our fighting one in the near future.

The War Plans Section spends all its time creating blue-prints for the “defense” of this country. This means, f course, vast schemes for foreign invasion and offensive war. The personnel of this division are those whose hides will never be scratched should hostilities occur. Consequently they can devise plans of whatever magnitude they fancy, and against any momentary “enemy.” Nothing troubles them; and, as we shall soon see, such a detail as how their next war is going to be paid for is not even considered.

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

29 thoughts on “America’s Armed forces 

  1. You all ain’t seen nuttin’ yet. Just wait til Herr tRump unleashes the military on (Fill in the blank). It gonna get real ugly real soon people.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. renudepride says:

    A bold-faced lie. But then, someone has to justify the the billions wasted on defense while there are starving and homeless living on the streets in every city here. Naked hugs!


  3. I like this post. The UK beat the shit out of more people/countries than Americans did. Oh wait. Maybe that’s not such a good thing.

    GrecoRoman empires were big though. More fact fiddles ignoring everything pre-rev?

    I’ve written before about US invasions post WW2. Despite no threat to USA.


    • makagutu says:

      You know you have been missed around here?
      The US has been spreading democracy, don’t you know. I think it is trying to catch up with Spain, Britain, Ottoman empire and Germany in numbers killed in peacetime


      • Couple of weeks offline and other priorities right now …

        Add France, Belgium, Netherlands to the colonial list.

        Read a quick blurb about a Nairobi book. Must look up and send you link. No philosophy but sounded interesting.

        We all know what the USA has been spreading. Comes out of a muck-spreader.


        • makagutu says:

          Hope you are well though.
          The Belgians did horrible things in Congo. In fact all the colonialists did ugly things wherever they went.
          Her citizens believe their daughters and sons are dying for democracy. How can they be so blind?

          Liked by 1 person

          • Not too bad friend. Just, a few things to sort, hence absence.

            All old-style colonialists did horribles. Brits hunted local people at the weekend for sport. I need my sick bucket thinking about it. Ugh.

            But new style colonialism is no better. Same values: invade, rape assets, kill locals. Hello America, and stupid allies, yes, that’s you.

            Democracy? A truly maligned and misunderstood word.


            • makagutu says:

              I keep reading people write about fighting for Western values and I am left there wondering which worlds they inhabit.
              Glad you are not too bad
              Is the knee good? How is partner?


          • Barry says:

            I think throughout history conquering nations have done appalling things in the name of their empire. America is no different.


  4. Gen. Butler’s reasoning isn’t exactly unheard of here in the States, although it is conveniently forgotten when someone approves of any military action that gets taken abroad. Moreover, it’s not exactly a secret that any nation with a military bureaucracy draws up plans against every nation on this planet. Such has been the state of affairs in many countries since Napoleon. If nations are social organisms, these plans are the antibodies formed to combat the disease of empire builders.

    One of the biggest mistakes Gen. Butler’s position makes is that it ignores strengthening other nations to fairly resist military intervention. Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in the early 90’s, and he was attacked for his troubles. Putin invaded Ukraine, and he only gets sanctions (which might soon be lifted). The difference is staggering.

    I am cynical when it comes to the notion that if the U.S. stopped using its military, things might automatically improve. Right now, the U.S. is just minding the store. As long as we have a global economy that exploits people and races to the lowest common denominator, someone will have to put on the company uniform and stand out front. First it was Spain and Portugal, then the Netherlands and France, then Britain, and now the States.

    Until all countries are able to adequately defend themselves from economic and military exploitation, that storefront will be open and running under anyone who wants it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter says:

      World history has been described as:
      ‘the powerful getting away with what they can and powerful putting up with what they have to’

      I see that as the key point, the US has really been no different to any other powerful country in the history of the world. Given human nature I don’t see things changing in the future. The things that the US did well like the Marshall Plan was motivated as much by a desire to counter Soviet influence than to really help the people of Europe post WW2.

      It might be a different country in future, say China, but I don’t expect them to act in an any more enlightened way.

      Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      You are right SB. There will always be someone trying to invade someone. America should stop pretending that it is doing this to protect democracy and rule of law especially since there is ample evidence it has toppled governments that didn’t agree with her expansionist policies

      Liked by 1 person

      • Only the most naive people in the States believe that our government is acting in everyone’s best interests with regards to foreign policy. It was one of my biggest criticisms of the Obama administration.

        But I do think that military action is sometimes necessary, although I do not think it is as necessary as it is commonly used. For example, acting against Saddam in 1990 was important, and I think that acting against Assad gassing his own people in Syria should have warranted an intervention. The difference, of course, is that you could get a super-majority of nations to agree that the action needs to happen, and not just unilateral action by one or a few nations.

        To be clear, though, the U.S. isn’t the only country which benefits from its unilateral military actions. All countries that trade with us have people which benefit from it. It’s tough to find the people behind all this action, and that is an important step to curbing international violence.


        • makagutu says:

          Obama administration expanded the drone program to save American soldiers, maybe.
          Saddam was taking his chances, it was at the height of the cold war and as such the USSR was a check against the US. Since its collapse, the US has been the bully on the block.
          It’s hard my friend to make a justification for a *just* war or for invasion. Most times its based on lies or egos.
          And I think we will be hard pressed to list any invasions in the past few years to be just.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I personally would not defend the drone program, mostly because it allows my government to improperly hide the costs of such warfare.

            With regards to calling wars just, I don’t think I’d ever use that term. To do so would improperly equate military action with some sort of morality. If one views military action as something borne out of necessity, morality has nothing to do with it. Essentially the description of military usage should properly fall under questions of defending the rights and well-being of others.

            One good example would be the handling of the fight against ISIL. Local armed forces predominantly are requesting U.S. air strikes in particular locations. Since they are handling the decision to conduct the strike, local individuals are involved in controlling what happens (at least in theory).

            Of course, my view also relies on the assumption that military actions ought to be a last resort, and that they primarily reflect a failure of states and communities to exercise better judgment. If people everywhere were free to exercise that better judgment, I think military actions would never be appropriate.


            • makagutu says:

              And in most of the cases, in the case of ISIS, it’s a fight between Shia and Sunni muslims. So whoever has the support of the powers that be, gets the bombs.
              While I am in agreement that military action should be the last resort, it has to be demonstrated that all other means failed to achieve a peaceful resolution

              Liked by 1 person

  5. Butler’s writings on U.S. military use, and on geopolitics, are required reading in my view.


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