samlwin's blog

9/11, Our Satyagraha (Message to the Anti-war Movement)

I am Sam Lwin, an ex-Marine, a conscientious objector and an anti-war activist from the first Gulf war. I would like to say a few words about the connection between 9/11 and war.

In the fall of 1990, President George Herbert Walker Bush mobilized troops for the first Gulf War. I was a Marine reservist and a senior at the New School. Knowing that it was an oil war and finding out the various deceptions used by our government to gain support of the masses at anti-war rallies, I, as a conscientious Marine, refused to go. So did twenty-five other Marines, eight of them from here in New York City. We were all court-martialed and did time in the brig at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

Many people supported us. They sent us letters and books to read and our prison sentences were shortened, in some cases by two years, due to public pressure through anti-war groups like Hands Off! and War Resisters League. During that time, one of the Marine resisters mentioned to me the name of Smedley Butler.

Smedley Butler was a Marine general who twice won the Congressional Medal of Honor. In 1933, he published a booklet called “War Is a Racket.” I would like to read a few sentences from it. "War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses."