War Is a Racket
By Major General Smedley Butler, 1935
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people.
At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the [First] World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns.
How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?
Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few — the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.
Members of Congress Who Profit From War
It was shortly after midnight in Baghdad on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, when a missile strike ordered by President Trump killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
When stock markets opened the next day, dozens of members of Congress saw bumps in their portfolios as their holdings in defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon increased in value on the possibility of war. Over the next three trading days, the leading defense industry stock index would surge 2.4% above Thursday’s close.
Among these members of Congress with personal investments in the defense industry are several who sat on committees that determine major sources of funding for defense companies and weapons contractors.
According to a 2020 Sludge review of financial disclosures, 51 members of Congress and their spouses own between $2.3 and $5.8 million worth of stocks in companies that are among the top 30 defense contractors in the world. Members of Congress generally report the values of their investments in ranges, so it’s not possible to know exactly how much their stocks are worth.