On this edition of Parallax Views, journalist Jonathan M. Katz joins us to discuss his fascinating new book Gangsters of Capitalism: Smedley Butler, The Marines, and the Making and Breaking of America’s Empire. For the uninitiated, Maj. Gen. Smedley Darlington Butler is one of only a few men to receive a Medal of Honor twice for his service in the military. Later on in life he became a voice for disenfranchised veterans and a prominent antiwar figure who claimed that in his years prior he had served as a “gangster of capitalism”. Butler wrote the famous antiwar short book War is a Racket to expound on the antiwar views that dominated the latter portion of his life. Katz discusses all of this as well as Butler’s dark legacy in Haiti, the ways in which Butler couldn’t be neatly categorized politically as anything other than a patriotic defender of troops and veterans (and how the Communist Party’s Earl Browder summed that up), his contempt for the Italian fascist Mussolini, PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and moral injury, the Business Plot, the Bonus Marches and Butler’s support for them (vs. Gen. Patton), and zombies. Yes, zombies. How does that factor into the story. Well, you’ll have to find out by listening to the conversation but the mention of Butler and his time in Haiti should give you a clue!
In the second half of the program, journalist Liza Featherstone, author of such books as Diving Desire: Focus Groups and the Culture of Consultation and False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Rodham Clinton, joins us to discuss her Jacobin obituary of the recently passed diplomat Madeline Albright. Although Albright has been well-remembered in many obituaries since her passing on Mar 23, 2022, Featherstone took a more critical view of Albright and her career which included time as the 20th United States Ambassador to the United Nations and 64th United States Secretary of State. Albright infamously said that sanctions against Iraq, which harmed many innocent Iraqi civilians (including children), was worth it in a 60 Minutes interview. She also held to a foreign policy that conflicted greatly with Colin Powell and his Powell Doctrine, instead believing that U.S. military might should not go to waste. We cover all of this as well as Albright’s consulting group and its relation to the pandemic and vaccine apartheid, the hagiography around Albright since her passing, girl boss feminism and its discontents, and much, much more!