General David M. ShoupGeneral David M. Shoup, (1904-1983) General of the US Marine Corps, Commandant of the Marine Corps 1960-63, Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Medal

General David M. Shoup Quote

“I believe that if we had and would keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-soaked fingers out of the business of these nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own -- and if unfortunately their revolution must be of the violent type because the "haves" refuse to share with the "have-nots" by any peaceful method, at least what they get will be their own, and not the American style, which they don't want and above all don't want crammed down their throats by Americans.”

General David M. ShoupGeneral David M. Shoup
~ General David M. Shoup

May 14, 1966

Ratings and Comments

Joe, Rochester, MI

Freedom! We quit telling other countries what's good for them.

Mike, Norwalk

We hold these truths to be self evident

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

There is a material difference between our cramming our forms of coruption down their throats and helping depressed and exploited people to lift themselves up by the boot straps. We are capable of offering compasionate help without becoming a 21st century robber baron to them. This is not the black and white issue that so many make it out to be, the world is full of shades of gray (and splashes of many colors too ;-).

Kevin, Sacramento
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Kevin, Sacramento Anonymous, Reston, VA US 8/15/21

This comment has not age well, on this day that Kabul fell in much the same way as Saigon in '75..

Michael, Houston

SHOCK! Reston....I can't believe it...but I agree with you. We do have a responsibility and we can be true to that responsibility without being, as you said, a "robber baron." That said, I am not of the opinion that all cultures are good simply because they exist--there are certain culture types, and certain economic types that are almost guaranteed to yield oppression and misery. There is starvation and oppression in them that is not in ours for a reason...we need to help them by giving them what we have that made US achieve the prosperity and peace that we have. Unfortunately, many today want the fruit without the root, and it "just ain't gonna work that way."

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RVW, USA    3/5/07

All that is well and good until they attack you. I cannot help but wonder what the general would say now.

helorat, Milton

If the “haves” exploit the “havenots” into blowing themselves up, and taking some of us with them, because they blame us for all their self generated ills, then it is in our best interests to cram freedom down the throats of their leaders. To allow a breeding ground for suicide bombers to fester is....suicidal. This quote has no context to the current circumstance.

Robert, Sarasota

The General is quite right, and the emphasis which makes it right is "our, dirty, bloody, dollar-soaked fingers" Terrorism has been made worse by our war on Terrorism...

E Archer, NYC

The words of a true patriot! Americans are very quick to judge other cultures harshly while conveniently ignoring their own hypocrisy. There is a big difference between defending one's country at home and 'defending' it abroad. Only the People can declare their freedom -- no one can 'free' another. Plus, the US government is not helping these 'oppressed' peoples -- they are merely taking control of them and their resources -- it is imperialism no matter how you slice it. The British have been 'saving' those poor 'savages' for centuries -- so has the Catholic church. It has nothing to do with real concern for the freedom of the people.



Dick, Fort Worth

How refreshing and astonishing to read such thoughts from a general. Shades of General Smedley Butler! Mr. (or Ms.) Archer expresses my sentiments well with the added agreement with Reston re compassionate aid. When you compute the cost of our criminal wars with Vietnam and Iraq per citizen of those countries it amounts to tens of thousands of dollars per person. Imagine what cooperation, what thanks, what peace and progress that would buy---without a loss of limb, organ, blood or life.

JT Ready, Mesa, Az

Like a Marine, this hero is right on target!



burqa, Fredericksburg

Shoup is an American hero. He had the same courage when hauled before Congress where his patriotism was questioned by swine not good enough to clean the mud from his boondockers. Had we listened to him, 58,000 of the cream of our youth then would be wityh us now. Look at the lack of leadership in this country and consider we lost so many from that generation...

Jeanne, Arvada CO

My son is a Marine. I belong to an online "support" group and have been trying to counter the mindless sentiment that we are doing good in the middle east. This quote, by a Marine Commandant no less, reflects my sentiments. I posted it today. (They ignore all my Smedley Butler quotes but maybe it will get them thinking)

J Carlton, Calgary

Absolutely correct. Helping third world people "pull themselves up by the bootstraps" lasts about as long as our continued presence and money supply. Show them how to do it themselves and they stop as soon as you leave. It's a pointless waste of money and manpower. Nature and nature alone will determine their standard of living.

E Archer, NYC
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E Archer, NYC J Carlton, Calgary 8/24/21

I lived in Central America for a few years  Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize, Honduras  some of the nicest and hardest working people I have ever had the pleasure to know.  Their governments are all corrupt.  The heads of state steal hundreds of millions of dollars from the Treasury, and the countries are always broke.  Billions of aid from the US goes right into their pockets.  The drug trade overlaps all.

That's why you see millions trying to get into the US.  Their governments are teaming with corruption, and they don't have constitutions that protect their rights.  Their leaders repeatedly try to stay in power beyond their terms and command the army.

The people of Honduras successfully fended off a coup a few years ago.  Cuba and Venezuela always lend support to these despots trying to follow in their footsteps.

The only way we can help these people "pull themselves up by the bootstraps" is for there to be a movement from the people themselves.  We can play only a supporting role, they must find the way on their own.  And I have every confidence that they would.

There is no saving a people from themselves.  We can only aid and support the endeavor, because in the end, they'll need to run it themselves.  They can be free only if they want to be free and let others be free.  Americans are still learning that...

dick, Fort Worth

The comment above my name was not made today and perhaps never. If I did make this it was a long time ago and I have no idea to what quotation it applied. This is not the first time I have seen a quotation above my name that I had no memory of making, certainly not a current one. This is truly reprehensible.

Koen de Groot, Amsterdam, Netherlands

General Shoup is a hero alright and I think his insight does apply to the present situation. Hence my four stars. Yet he thought that revolutions "must be of the violent type [if] the "haves" refuse to share with the "have-nots" by any peaceful method," and there he was wrong. Morally, because the "haves" are perfectly within their rights if they refuse to share with the "have-nots". Pragmatically, because it is precisely the resolute refusal to share on the part of the "haves" that prevents revolutions from occurring. In other words, revolutions happen because the "haves" do NOT refuse to share with the "have-nots". The "haves" hope to preserve the peace by showing their good will. Alas, good will is something their revolutionary counterparts do not understand. They understand only weakness and strength. Hence they interpret any show of good will as a sign of weakness, and any show of weakness as an invitation to screw up demands. Violent revolution is what you get if this process goes on long enough. And then, of course, the Paradise on Earth: where everyone except the most ruthless or lucky revolutionaries is either a "have-not" or dead. Something tells me that General David M. Shoup might have agreed with this, after all.

Editor, Liberty Quotes

@dick, Liberty Quotes have been going out every weekday since October 1999, and you have been commenting here for many years. Sometimes we repeat sending quotes after 3 or 4 years. This one was previously sent in 2007. We have checked the IP address of the above comment and it appears consistent with other comments made by you in those days. Feel free to amend your posts -- are your views on the matter different today?

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Robken    5/25/11
Helen, Port Angeles

General Shoup was right on. If this country who claims to believe in God would have continued to follow the commandments of God, we would not be where we are now. We are becoming a third world country because of the have's and have not's. People will start leaving this country. No work.

John Cosgrove, Granby, Ct.

I'm a former marine of the nineteen fifties and early sixties. I completed my enlistment as Viet Nam was kicking in. I knew a couple of buddies who 'shipped over' and ended up dying over there for nothing. I despised the cynical bastards who wasted young lives then and hate the current crop of similar so called leaders who throw lives away for naught. Cursed be the lot of them. I do say Semper Fi to those still honorably and bravely serving because you serve under less than honorable people but you, ironically, are the best. John C.

Bruce Sammut, Skaneateles
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Bruce Sammut, Skaneateles John Cosgrove, Granby, Ct. 9/5/23

Yes!  General Shoup was our Commandant.

A true hero and best leader I have ever experienced.

Semper Fi.


Mike, Norwalk

For the thumbs down crowd and all those referencing responsibility; The representative republic was constitutionally designed in such away that the military portion of representation was to uniquely act in a defensive posture for 'We The People' of the States united (not as moral, economic, or life style enforcement operation - not as a world police force - not as a colonial power for the rich, etc.) If there be a responsibility, it is to the individual (not the country) in helping his brothers and sisters in this noble family of man.

Bruski, Naples FL

Truly an American Hero and one who knew and understood the horrors of war.

Sadly, we haven't listened or learned from General Shoup.

Semper Fi.


cal, Lewisville, Texas

We have no obligation to the world. We need to improve our own nation first and that is never ending.

Mick, Manchester

He stops short of calling interventionism - the promotion and protection of American (and British) commercial as well as ideological interests abroad by its true name - imperialism. Mr Archer is right in this instance, the British are past masters at this type of international exploitation then have the nerve to call their empire a "commonwealth". This is the militarization of capital interest. There is no honor or victory in this.

J. Allen, Arlington, Va

Our arrogant busy bodies in government have an insatiable greed for power that extends to every individual and business domestically and every country around the world.

Our founders warned us about such men.

Patrick Henry, Red Hill

An exemplary example is the most sublime of all instructors.

Originally, our conceived in Liberty Republic lead by example.

E Archer, NYC

What a great collection of comments!

C, Torrance

100% correct today as much as ever!


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