The Arsenal of Marism

‘The 99 Percent’

Too Many Veterans Still Believe In Santa Claus

Excerpts of a Speech By Major General Smedley D. Butler

On the Firing Line for the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

“We are divided, in America, into two classes: The Tories on one side, a class of citizens who were raised to believe that the whole of this country was created for their sole benefit, and on the other side, the other 99 percent of us, the soldier class, the class from which all of you soldiers came. That class hasn’t any privileges except to die when the Tories tell them. Every war that we have ever had was gotten, up by that class. They do all the beating of the drums. Away the rest of us go. When we leave, you know what happens. We march down the street with all the Sears-Roebuck soldiers standing on the sidewalk, all the dollar-a-year men with spurs, all the patriots who call themselves patriots, square-legged women in uniforms making Liberty Loan speeches. They promise you. You go down the street and they ring all the church bells. Promise you the sun, the moon, the stars and the earth—anything to save them. Off you go. Then the looting commences while you are doing the fighting. This last war made over 6,000 millionaires. Today those fellows won’t help pay the bill.

“All of these things you must be told so that you can present your case. Remember, we can’t win this alone. We have got to have the sympathy of all of our class of people. Go out and make friends with the farmers; they are a scrapping outfit. Be able to argue intelligently; know what you are talking about. Get all these people to join and then go after the enemy in the way that is provided for in your constitution. That is, go to the polls. Before you go to the polls, make every public office seeker state where he stands. Don’t take any alibi. A man who is not for the soldiers is against them. There isn’t any middle course. If he hasn’t got the courage to say yes for you, then lick hell out of him….

“You’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to hate. You’ve got to turn on these fellows who call you names such as ‘treasury raiders.’

“The only trouble with you veterans is that you still believe in Santa Claus. It’s time you woke up—it’s time you realized there’s another war on. It’s your war this time. Now get in there and fight.”

Foreign Service, December 1933

Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist, October 19, 2011