We discussed the preceding post about General Smedley Butler and The Plot to Take the White House on the radio show last Saturday. You can listen here.
The Colonel told me that he had attempted three times to post a comment and could not, so he sent the following:
The US military is an instrument of foreign policy and defense. Butler was correct to criticize the government for using the military as a means of ensuring ideal economic environments in foreign countries, but of course he tacitly supported these policies by remaining on active duty and participating in them. I’ve always believed that whenever an officer is no longer able to do those things that his government wants him to do, for whatever reason, he owes it to his country —and himself— to resign his commission and pursue a different vocation. The closest Butler ever came to actual resignation was the two-year sabbatical from the Marine Corps to serve as Philadelphia’s Director of Public Safety. He didn’t get along very well in that position, however —the mayor fired him, and Butler returned to active service with the Marine Corps.
But if we suppose that Butler might have resigned his commission (perhaps at the rank of captain or major) and returned to civilian life, what should we expect him to do? His father was a lawyer, a judge, and a 31-year member of the US Congress. He chaired the House Naval Affairs Committee through two administrations. Not only did Butler’s career benefit from US foreign policy, it also benefited from having a family member overseeing the Navy Department. By the way, Butler’s grandfather was a Republican member of the United States Senate. So, I think Butler’s book was a result of something more than his guilt for serving as a hit man for the US government; he was angry and childish from the fact that he was court-martialed, at the direction of the President of the United States, and he had been passed over for the post of commandant. His nose was out of joint.
Butler later ran for the US senate and was defeated. He later supported the Marxist Norman Thomas in the election of 1936 ...
Semper Fidelis, Ed ...
As a veteran with no military experience (I was in the Air Force), I wanted an experienced military/political mind to validate my suspicions.
Butler went extreme in his politics, and his voice was used by the left as much as the bankers had sought to use it, perhaps in reaction to their overtures.