Talk:War Is a Racket

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Calling Butler's view "cynical" doesn't seem the best word choice, see his Butler's POV was essentially very idealistic. But I can't find a more suitable word choice at the moment. Perhaps someone can improve on this?

Well, in the purest sense, that word just means: "Believing or showing the belief that people are motivated chiefly by base or selfish concerns; skeptical of the motives of others." That is certainly accurate. The word does have negative connotations, though, which is a problem, so in that way I share your concerns... --Tothebarricades 15:55, 22 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Butler is not being “cynical “. Telling or speaking an unpopular truth is not “cynical”, it is bravery of the best kind. The fact that there’s an industrial war machine starting and profiting off war is not a new or recent notion. The USA has been run by crooked profiteers since the beginning. It makes total sense that those that profit off of war should be the ones to actually fight it. For far too long, poor people have been rounded up, kidnapped into conscription all to fight, and protect rich men’s interests. In the next conflict I expect to see Chelsea Clinton, the Obama sisters, the trump boys, William and Harry and Kate and Meghan, all up leading the front lines. Sanpatricio1369 (talk) 03:56, 9 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It is the Disgruntled Old Coot's opinion, having served with two overseas tours in the 1970s where I defended USA business interests overseas and assisted in propping up foreign dictators, despots, war lords, etc. who were in cahoots with the USA federal government and corporate USA to skim wealth from the masses of commoners in those foreign lands and....

after decades of study and research I believe that the term "cynical" would be truthfully and logically be replaced with the term "realist."

Be aware that USA residents are immersed within the most effective propaganda systems ever created and that the majority of citizen-sheep within the USA bleat their contentment that as "things" are is correct, proper and as it should be.Obbop (talk) 13:33, 30 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  • Expand, don't merge. The other article is already too long. WP:BREAK ---zzz 14:21, 5 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I agree, this is an important book that deserves its own entry, not just mention in Butler's biographical page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
  • Keep and expand. An well-known work that needs its own entry. Nickieee 05:36, 11 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I shout out while excitedly and repeatedly jumping up and down while waving both hands and arms that it is imperative that "War is a Racket" must retain its own entry. The ongoing class war within the USA makes Butler's writing more important than ever. The Disgruntled Old Coot wrote this.Obbop (talk) 13:37, 30 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Whatever increases accessability[edit]

Considering Butler's background, experience and knowledge, this screed should be required reading in all U.S. high schools. I came across Butler while doing research on the Bonus Army March for a book I am writing. Learning not only about him but about the "Business Plot" coup attempt to ovrthrow FDR unearthed another chapter for it. -Unsigned

Indeed. It's strange how insider accounts of experiencing past human nastiness at its "finest" from foreigners like Solzhenitsin or Anne Frank make the cut (probably for lack of concentration camps in current modern-day USA), but something with continuing relevance to modern abuses from a highly decorated domestic historical figure is predictably outside the curriculum... Perhaps it's because Ms. Frank and Ivan Denisovich failed to demonstrate any understanding that their plight was for purely economic and political reasons, simply window-dressed in kooky ideology to sell the public on the idea of enslaving citizens and expropriating their property to fill government and corporate coffers. (talk) 11:22, 26 October 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Book summary section[edit]

This section should be restored as it summarizes the book.

  • It contains this key summary:
  • "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 international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the 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 very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."
  • Turning from general to specific, Butler claims that fears in 1936 of Japanese aggression were groundless and that the real motive of the "swivel-chaired admirals" warning that "the great fleet of this supposed enemy will strike suddenly" is merely to feed the armaments industry:
  • Then they begin to cry for a larger navy. For what? To fight the enemy? Oh my, no. Oh, no. For defense purposes only.
  • Five years later, the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor.
  • =Recommendations=
  • In the booklet's penultimate chapter, Butler recommended three steps to disrupt the war racket:
  • Making war unprofitable. Butler suggests that the means for war should be "conscripted" before those who would fight the war:

    It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war. The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry and labour before the nation's manhood can be conscripted. … Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and our steel companies and our munitions makers and our ship-builders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of all other things that provide profit in war time as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted — to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get.

  • Acts of war to be decided by those who fight it. He also suggests a limited referendum to determine if the war is to be fought. Eligible to vote would be those who risk death on the front lines.
  • Limitation of militaries to self-defense. For the United States, Butler recommends that the Navy be limited, by law, to operating within 200 miles of the coastline, and the Army restricted to the territorial limits of the country, ensuring that war, if fought, can never be one of aggression.
  • (talk) 17:44, 30 June 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]