Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mark Twain Uncensored: American Troops are "Our Uniformed Assassins"

One hundred years after his death, the uncensored version of Mark Twain's three volume autobiography will be released. Volume 1 this November.

Twain's view on American soldiers, according to NYT:

Twain refers to American troops as “our uniformed assassins” and describes their killing of “six hundred helpless and weaponless savages” as “a long and happy picnic with nothing to do but sit in comfort and fire the Golden Rule into those people down there and imagine letters to write home to the admiring families, and pile glory upon glory.”

On Theodore Roosevelt:

Theodore Roosevelt is one of the most impulsive men in existence ... He flies from one thing to another with incredible dispatch — throws a somersault and is straightaway back again where he was last week. He will then throw some more somersaults and nobody can foretell where he is finally going to land after the series. Each act of his, and each opinion expressed, is likely to abolish or controvert some previous act or expressed opinion. That is what is happening to him all the time as president.
BTW, Samuel Clemens was a stock promoter, and I suspect that his use of the pen name, Mark Twain, was probably linked in some way to keeping his literary efforts separate from his stock promotion activities.

8 comments:

  1. I saw this article. This looks so awesome. I think I might be buying this from Amazon... where is the official EPJ Amazon link?

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  2. Volume 1 won't be published until November. I'll put a link up when it is available.

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  3. Samuel Clemens deserted the confederate army as a boy, and wrote under the name Mark Twain to avoid the bounty hunters.

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  4. I think Smedley Butler would have agreed with him.

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  5. America's most decorated soldiers says it best: General S Butler

    In, War Is a Racket, Butler presented an exposé and trenchant condemnation of the profit motive behind warfare:

    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 Amer 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.

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  6. In the words of the late Professor Jacob Bronowski; "War is a highly organized and cooperative form of theft."

    I think Mark Twain, General Butler, and Professor Bronowski would be (ARE) in complete agreement.

    One other thing that Twain wrote -- also regarding the Philippine War -- was his short story "The War Prayer."

    Here's an excerpt:

    "O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen."

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  7. Samuel Clemens knew all about the fever of speculative bubbles from his days as a silver prospector and later as a stock trader focusing on the silver mining sector. There are a few pages discussing his stock trading days here.

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  8. There is no indication Clemens wrote under a pen name because confederate bounty hunters were after him. He was in debt most of his life, despite his huge book revenues and stock schemes, until he hooked up with a major exec at Standard Oil who tool over his finances andgot him straight.

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