An act of self-defense

George Orwell

“Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac.”

– George Orwell

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A high class muscle man

Smedley D. Butler

“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 and 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 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 might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

– Major General Smedley D. Butler, 1935.

More information:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Is_a_Racket

Conscience-soothing falsities

Mark Twain

“Statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.”

-Mark Twain, Chronicle of Young Satan

The pathology of devotion

Arthur Koestler

I think most historians would agree that the part played by impulses of selfish, individual aggression in the holocausts of history was small; first and foremost, the slaughter was meant as an offering to the gods, to king and country, or the future happiness of mankind. The crimes of a Caligula shrink to insignificance compared to the havoc wrought by Torquemada. The number of victims of robbers, highwaymen, rapists, gangsters and other criminals at any period of history is negligible compared to the massive numbers of those cheerfully slain in the name of the true religion, just policy or correct ideology. Heretics were tortured and burnt not in anger but in sorrow, for the good of their immortal souls. Tribal warfare was waged in the purported interest of the tribe, not of the individual. Wars of religion were fought to decide some fine point in theology or semantics. Wars of succession dynastic wars, national wars, civil wars, were fought to decide issues equally remote from the personal self-interest of the combatants.

Let me repeat: the crimes of violence committed for selfish, personal motives are historically insignificant compared to those committed ad majorem gloriam Dei, out of a self-sacrificing devotion to a flag, a leader, a religious faith or a political conviction. Man has always been prepared not only to kill but also to die for good, bad or completely futile causes. And what can be a more valid proof of the reality of the self-transcending urge than this readiness to die for an ideal?

– Arthur Kostler, The Ghost in the Machine

Reichstag fire

Reichstag Fire

On the basis of Article 48 paragraph 2 of the Constitution of the German Reich, the following is ordered in defense against Communist state-endangering acts of violence:

1. Articles 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124 and 153 of the Constitution of the German Reich are suspended until further notice. It is therefore permissible to restrict the rights of personal freedom [habeas corpus], freedom of opinion, including the freedom of the press, the freedom to organize and assemble, the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications, and warrants for house searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.

– Order of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State.

“The government will make use of these powers only insofar as they are essential for carrying out vitally necessary measures…The number of cases in which an internal necessity exists for having recourse to such a law is in itself a limited one.”

– Adolf Hitler, promise to the Reichstag (Parliament) on the occasion of the imposition of “temporary” dictatorship following the Reichstag Fire.

The 1933 Reichstag Fire was a key event in Adolf Hitler’s ascendency to power. During the night of February 27th, the Reichstag Building, which housed the German Parliament, was gutted by a massive fire. Adolf Hitler, who had become President Paul von Hindenburg’s chancellor less than a month earlier, pressured von Hindenburg to give him essentially dictatorial powers. Hitler used the attack to roll back the legal guarantees of personal liberty enshrined in the constitution.

More information:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichstag_fire

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichstag_Fire_Decree

http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0913-03.htm

http://911review.com/precedent/century/reichstag.html

http://home.comcast.net/~slimyslugs/reichstag_fire_and_september_11.htm