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Smedley Butler

Memorial Day Salute To A Repentant Ex-Marine

In its recent front-page series on foreign domination and poverty in Haiti, the New York Times vividly recounted the role of the U.S. Marine Corps in this painful history. The accompanying photos showed Marines, in battle dress, boarding a ship in Philadelphia headed for Port-au-Prince more than a century ago, forming a skirmish line in the jungle, and posing with the bodies of Haitians killed while resisting the U.S. overthrow of their government. As the Times reported, one highlight of this mission was the brazen theft of $500,000 in gold from the Haiti’s national bank and its transfer to the vault of a bank on Wall Street.  One of the officers who departed from Philadelphia, to help oversee this brutal and murderous occupation was Smedley Darlington Butler, the son of a U.S. Congressman and the product of a wealthy Quaker family from the nearby Main Line town of West Chester.
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