Between WWI and WWII, Marine Major General Smedley Butler wrote a short dissertation called War Is a Racket... The first two paragraphs succinctly define the entire booklet and the reason not to allow your child to fall into the hands of the military-industrial-war complex:
War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.In his treatise Butler goes on to define the "damned" war profiteers of his day: the DuPont family, the steel companies, the leather companies, the t-shirt manufacturers, etc. The profits for these companies increased at a minimum ten-fold in the WWI years and in retrospect even seem like healthy profits in 2006 dollars. He also complains about the 6000 buckboards for the colonels, thousands of saddles for the cavalry, and hundreds of airplane engines that were never used in the war. The waste of money and the waste of life in war are horrendous and inherently immoral – always!
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the 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 very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.