Monday, July 19, 2010
A Great American
Did you ever hear of Smedley Darlington Butler? Me either. He was a Quaker boy who dropped out of high school, falsified his records and joined the Marines at the outbreak of the Spanish American War in 1898. He never fought in that war (or any declared war) but managed to get commissioned an officer and even promoted before it was over. He was soon promoted again, a Captain before his nineteenth birthday. He served in the Marines, off and on, for 33 years, promoted as the youngest Major General ever at the age of 48. Soon after, he was arrested and held for Court Martial but the charges were dropped, proven to be a fabrication of his enemies, among them, Herbert Hoover.
He drank heavily, was probably a homosexual and had a large Marine Globe and Anchor tattooed on his torso that extended from his neck to his pubis. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, twice and claimed he never deserved it at all. He tried to refuse it and had to be ordered to wear it. He went undercover as a spy in Mexico during the Revolution for Admiral Fletcher and his intelligence was instrumental in the decision not to mount a major amphibious invasion with the capture of Mexico City as its target. He excelled at small group, counter insurgency actions employing irregular tactics, against much larger forces on their own home ground, that routinely resulted in the annihilation of his foes and few if any casualties to his own men.
After his retirement, working for the State of Oregon, he organized and virtually invented the concept of the modern State Police Force. He helped organize and lead the Bonus Army that was gassed and cut down by the cavalry of the coward Douglas McArthur during the so called Hay Market riots. Later, he exposed a plot by big business and the military to overthrow Franklin Roosevelt and establish a fascist military dictatorship in America. In retirement, the only time he ever wore his uniform was at his daughter's wedding, at her request.
Here's a statement he made before he died.
I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class thug for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and 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 benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902–1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might 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.
I wonder why we don't read about this guy in the history books? Seems to me like the biggest American military hero since Stephen Fucking Decatur.