Essential Reading

This is a collection of material that can be found online and relates to topics discussed at Honest Outrage. I have read all of these in their entirety, some of them multiple times.


War Is A Racket by Major General Smedley D. Butler

This booklet, published in 1935, is essential reading for anyone interested in issues of war and peace. Keep in mind that it was written before World War II, but the overall theme is still relevant today. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 4.

The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry and labor before the nation’s manhood can be conscripted. One month before the Government can conscript the young men of the nation – it must conscript capital and industry and labor. Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and our munitions makers and our shipbuilders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of all the other things that provide profit in war time as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted – to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get.

Let the workers in these plants get the same wages – all the workers, all presidents, all executives, all directors, all managers, all bankers – yes, and all generals and all admirals and all officers and all politicians and all government office holders – everyone in the nation be restricted to a total monthly income not to exceed that paid to the soldier in the trenches!

Let all these kings and tycoons and masters of business and all those workers in industry and all our senators and governors and majors pay half of their monthly $30 wage to their families and pay war risk insurance and buy Liberty Bonds.

Why shouldn’t they?

They aren’t running any risk of being killed or of having their bodies mangled or their minds shattered. They aren’t sleeping in muddy trenches. They aren’t hungry. The soldiers are!

Give capital and industry and labor thirty days to think it over and you will find, by that time, there will be no war. That will smash the war racket – that and nothing else.

Maybe I am a little too optimistic. Capital still has some say. So capital won’t permit the taking of the profit out of war until the people – those who do the suffering and still pay the price – make up their minds that those they elect to office shall do their bidding, and not that of the profiteers.


The CIA And The Media by Carl Bernstein

Carl Bernstein, the Washington Post reporter of Watergate fame, wrote this extensive piece that served as the cover story for Rolling Stone magazine on Oct. 20, 1977. The subtitle, at least the one on Bernstein’s site, is “How Americas Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up”.

I haven’t seen the published magazine, but the version on Bernstein’s site is quite interesting, though there are annoying extra characters such as parentheses and numbers in weird spots. It’s worth overlooking those oddities because the story is extensive and detailed, without naming names.

Even though this story appeared more than three decades ago, it feels relevant today, when mainstream media figures often appear to be nothing more than stenographers for government officials and insiders. We may have a “free and independent press”, but it’s hard to know which media outlets and individuals are truly free and independent, and which could just as easily be part of a modern-day version of the arrangements described by Bernstein.


Operation Northwoods

These declassified documents, authored by The Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1962, describe a proposed false-flag operation that would be used to justify a U.S. attack on Cuba. Anyone who looks at 9/11 conspiracy theories and thinks that nobody in the American government or military would ever think of attacking their own country in the hopes of starting a war should look at these documents. Keep in mind that these were approved by the highest levels of the U.S.military before being rejected by President John Kennedy.


2014 report on the United States by the United Nations Committee Against Torture

This report is only 15 pages long and can easily be read in one sitting. It’s written in formal language, but is a good overview of how the United States is, and is not, complying with the “Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”.