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Baseball’s militarized uniforms

June 6, 2018

I liked the militarized uniforms the New York Yankees wore on Memorial Day as they nicely highlighted the symbiotic relationship between the pin stripes of Wall Street and the military means that sustain its power. The link isn’t widely appreciated these days so kudos to the Yankee design department! It would be a gigantic step toward truth, in fact, if the military took a lesson from the Yankees and put pin stripes onto their very own uniforms!

The problem with baseball’s military theme, though, is that it was Memorial Day, a day which should have been one in which we pause and honor the unlucky kids who were slaughtered in almost entirely unnecessary wars. The proper attire for this isn’t a military uniform, it’s a black armband.

Smedley Butler, a Congressional Medal of Honor winning Marine, had these words to say in the 1930’s and they’re just as relevant today.

WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives… If you don’t believe this, visit the American cemeteries on the battlefields abroad. Or visit any of the veteran’s hospitals in the United States.

I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

I helped make Mexico, 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 benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

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