Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

Bradley E. Manning is the United States Army soldier who was arrested in May 2010 in Iraq on suspicion of having passed classified information to the whistleblower website, Wikileaks. – editor

Written by David Swanson

If Bradley Manning turns out to be the hero he appears to be, he will not be the first “detained” at Quantico.

In fact, Quantico once locked up the most decorated Marine in history, a Marine who would have been running the Marine Corps rather than getting locked up by it if he had known how to brown-nose the swivel-chair commanders as he called them, a Marine who had helped create Quantico years before, the first senior officer in the U.S. military to be arrested in the 65 years following the Civil War, and a serious fearless principled democratic hero whose heroism had nothing to do with the nasty tasks he took on as a U.S. Marine.

And do you know what they locked him up for? For revealing that Benito Mussolini had run a little girl over in his car and not even stopped.

And do you know what this Marine’s most heroic deed was, one still to come after his Quantico “detention”? He foiled a plot to overthrow President Franklin Roosevelt and install himself as a puppet dictator for Wall Street. He turned down power, just as Bradley Manning turned down riches and risked his future life.

Have you guessed that I’m talking about Smedley Darlington Butler? If not, please sue the U.S. Department of Education. It has let you down, ripped you off, and swindled every one of us.

Prior to his detention at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia, Smedley Butler had conquered the Boxers and taken over Beijing, single-handedly destroyed democratic hopes in Nicaragua and Haiti, ruled Haiti as an all-powerful Marine-Corps-Imperial-Consul, turned a disease-ridden swamp where US troops were dying in France before even making it to the front in World War I into a clean and healthy city from which troops could courageously depart to kill and die and be mentally ruined, and served as Director of Public Safety in Philadelphia in which job he enforced the prohibition of alcohol on the high and mighty thus earning their eternal hatred.

Then Butler, much beloved by World War I veterans, let slip that remark about Mussolini’s murdering of a little girl with his sports car. President Hoover and his Secretary of State Henry Stimson, who was already scheming to get a second world war going, were outraged, as was the corporate and pro-fascist US media. Butler was immediately confined to a house (better than Manning’s six-foot cell) at Quantico. But the public was outraged at Hoover and Stimson, and evidence came out to support Butler’s story. He also told a story about Hoover himself. During a siege in China at the time of the Boxer Rebellion, Butler said, he and his troops had been disgusted to find an American engineer hiding and cowering in a basement with women and children. They had dragged him out, roughed him up, and forced him to take up duty on the city wall; and that man had been Herbert Hoover.

Butler was released from Quantico, just as Manning should be, and was restored to full rank but shortly chose to retire. Butler became a writer and a public speaker and produced the powerful denunciation of U.S. foreign policy that is “War Is A Racket,” explaining in “Common Sense” magazine:

“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 muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico … safe for American oil interests. 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 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 feel I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate in three city districts. We Marines operated on three continents.”

Butler rallied the spirits of World War I vets as they camped in Washington D.C. demanding to be compensated. Douglas MacArthur then Mubaraked the veterans with bullets and teargas and chased them out of town, earning the scorn of all survivors, forever shaming the U.S. government, preventing a second term for Hoover, and making the GI Bill following the next global spree of mass-murder almost inevitable. (And you thought starting a war in Korea and trying to get a THIRD world war going was the ugliest thing MacAurthur had done.)

When the war profiteers and Wall Street plutocrats who had opposed compensating the veterans later hatched a plot to create a fascist dictatorship and remove FDR from office, MacArthur promised them the support of the US Army, but even the banksters understood that the half-million angry veterans they sought to use wouldn’t follow MacArthur as far as they could throw him. There was only one man they would follow unquestioningly, and that was Smedley Butler.

The society “to maintain the Constitution” (the Tea Party couldn’t have named it better) tried to recruit Butler. He led them on and then ratted them out to a congressional committee. Too big to jail, then as now, the plotters, including George W. Bush’s grandpa, were not prosecuted for treason but did agree to stop fighting against the New Deal. The New York Times, Washington Post, and Time Magazine attacked Butler, and the history books obediently excised this little incident from our children’s education during the past 75 years, but Congressman John W. McCormack, chair of the House Un-American Activities Committee credited Butler with saving the republic.

If we do what needs to be done, Bradley Manning may someday receive similar praise.

Pick up a book called “Devil Dog.” It even has cartoon pictures.
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RS Janes
13 years ago

Although I like David Swanson’s articles and he’s usually dead-on, the claim that Herbert Hoover was trying to get us into a second world war when he was president is dubious at best. That said, everything else about this piece can be traced factually in other sources, including the involvement of some of the nation’s richest men in a despicable plot to replace a popular, democratically-elected president, FDR, with a pro-corporate American Mussolini. As George Seldes knew back in the ’30s, when Big Business and the wealthy have enough money and consequent power, they will always scheme to get rid of democracy, as they did in Italy in the ’20s and Germany in the ’30s, and as they are now in this country. In each case, they waved the flag and brought patriotic fervor to a fever pitch, all the while, behind a curtain of lies and propaganda, taking away the rights of the people and reducing them to wage slaves. This is a hard pill for most Americans to swallow, but history has proven it true, again and again.

Ken Carman
13 years ago

I haven’t read those claims from Swanson, though I’ve heard others make it: especially about Roosevelt, Even if true, one wonders what would have happened if we had. Less dead Jews maybe? Less gas chamber action?

My father was part of the anti-War crowd back then, until sent himself. Then he knee jerked into pro-War. He was a very thoughtful man in many ways, but when it came to political stances it took at least two of his sons knee jerk less to any movement’s propaganda.

RS Janes
13 years ago

Maybe this sentence from Swanson had some typos:

“Then Butler, much beloved by World War I veterans, let slip that remark about Mussolini’s murdering of a little girl with his sports car. President Hoover and his Secretary of State Henry Stimson, who was already scheming to get a second world war going, were outraged, as was the corporate and pro-fascist US media.”

I think this refers to Japan’s agggression in China and Korea in the pre-FDR ’20s and early ’30s, but it seemed Hoover tried to avoid starting an all-out war, although he did send in the Marines to protect Americans several times.

BTW, I think it’s more likely Butler was really jailed for that story about Hoover’s cowardice under fire than Mussolini’s running over a little girl.

Ken Carman
13 years ago

Hmm… I read that sentence as the Sec. was scheming. I assumed they’d use “both were.” Well, anywho…

I think you may be right regarding the reason he went to jail. Kind of like Adams keeping that guy in jail for calling him toothless for his whole term. Odd how we claim to be icons of freedom but these little historical facts say otherwise” especially since they aren’t taught.

Ken Carman
13 years ago

You know, if they really were both scheming, wouldn’t that running over of a little girl only server that scheme? So you’ve got a point. And… doesn’t jive. I was a bit more into the comparison between Butler and Manning, and I already knew Butler’s story, so the specifics regarding Hoover simply didn’t stick.

RS Janes
13 years ago

You’re right, it could have just been Stimson who was scheming, independent of Hoover. Since the US army & navy were relatively small and ill-equipped at the time, compared to the post-WWII military anyway, I wonder what Stimson thought he was going to fight a world war with, especially after the crash of ’29.

It’s Brad Manning’s bad luck that he wasn’t a decorated Major General like Butler instead of a PFC. If he had been, I doubt he’d be in the brig right now. I still have a suspicion Manning is covering for some senior officers that wanted that info out without affecting their careers. (Manning had access to a wide range of material for a PFC.) If that’s the case, they could take the heat off of Manning by coming forward, but that would require an act of courage rarely seen among the top brass of our military.

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