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Don't talk to me about soldiers and war, glory and honour, when our troops are helping to kill innocent people around the world.

Over 650,000 dead in Iraq!!! For what ??? Really, folks: for what??? John Howard cannot even explain it, let alone explain how we are ever going to get our soldiers' sorry arses of that distant country with our nation's all-important "honour" intact.

And please do not pretend that giving free alcolhol to pensioners is a good thing. My f-ing God, what a twisted nation of morally confused f-toids we have all become. How did it happen? The best of the soldiers who came back from WWI and WWII were calling for an end to all wars, an end to militarized politics, an end to the burgeoning global industrial-military machine. It was the guilty swine with consciences they could not face who called for more medals, more parades, and more free piss. And obviously, they were the loudest. They set up their RSL clubs and elected shameless wankers like Bruce Ruxton to represent them, daring anyone the challenge the memory of Our Glorious Dead Soldiers and oppose them.

Now that same global military-industrial machine controls the White House, and the White House controls Canberra, and we obedient, brain-washed citizens all, teach our children to beam with pride whenever anyone mentions the possibility of even more dead soldiers. Hurrah!

But of course, the real victims, always, in every war, ever since wars were invented, have been the innocent civilians, the ordinary people who wanted nothing to do with any of it in the first place. Do we need to have a war on our own shores before we begin to understand this?

I have had nothing but war, war, war rammed down my throat for the last ten years and I am sick to f-ing death of it, Adrian, I really f-ing am.

And I am not even drunk.

ghandhi, that's the biggest steaming pile of pseudo pacifist biolerplate bullshit I have ever seen.

I know, don't feed the trolls.

PQ, I am happy to accept the "pacifist" tag, but you had better provide some evidence for the "pseudo" quantifier.

And before anyone else has a go at me, I suggest you read this post (and if necessary, the accompanying RTS thread), which explains a lot.

Alternatively, if you cannot be bothered reading a whole threadful or more of discussion, please at least explain to me WHAT THE F-ING HELL OUR SOLDIERS ARE DOING IN IRAQ TODAY?

Grrr.

I can't see the relevance of bringing Iraq into a discussion about Anzac Day.
Anzac Day is about remembering the sacrifice made by Australian soldiers who went to war, the politics of it was not their responsibility.

These men and women went to war, a lot not returning, so ghandi can express his opinion in a free and independant country.

It's not about the free taxi rides or the free beer it's about the respect and gratitude that's owed to these fine men and women.

Gandhi, you really have lost the plot. I agree whole heartedly with Turner Mitteron's above post. You should show respect to the brave soldiers who put themselves on the line for our country.

Well done Adrian. You really showed the ANZAC spirit yesterday.

Adrian, while riding the train yesterday with some be-medalled vets, I gave some thought to how I, as an individual going about his business, could express suitable gratitude for their acts.
Your post is inspirational!

OK so nobody wants to explain why our courageous, honourable, brave and daring troops are in Iraq. Fair enough, why make a fool of yourself if you don't have to?

But obviously none of the above commenters actually read the link I posted, or they would realise that Iraq actually has a whole lot to do with Anzac Day. War is war is war.

Anyone who would take on the name-sake of a racist like Gandhi would have to be an idiot.

Ad hominem, brett, and not even ad the right hominem.

Why is it that the pro-war crowd tend to be under-educated and lacking in basic debating skills, hmmn?

And coincidentally, why is it that we as a society seem to prefer voting for governments who spend billions of our taxpayer dollars on "defence" (against what? whom?) rather than health and education?

Gandhi you are a complete idiot! War is not a simple matter. I am generally anti-war but I do not have a blanket view of the matter. Every war is different and some actions of war can be reasonably justified. The ANZACS put themselves on the line for their country and they should be honoured. They didn't make any decisions about the war. The country called for their service and they answered the call. All those soldiers efforts should be honoured and respected.

For what it's worth I've always been strongly opposed to the Iraq War - however this thread is not about that (in case you hadn't noticed). However, I've the utmost respect for the members of the military in Iraq who are serving our country.

Ghandi views may be expressed a little bluntly and always going to be controversial on ANZAC day but I can see where he is coming from.

When I was young ANZAC day was a solemn, quiet day of reflection with an overriding message of war should be avoided at all costs. These days it has been politicised and has almost become a celebration of how great Australian’s can be on the battlefield.

It is being used to justify, or at least deflect attention from what an absolute tragedy the Iraq war is. Ghandi has a right to be extremely pissed off. Our esteemed leaders committed our country to an illogical and unjust war and justified their decisions through lies. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people have been killed and many, many more are left to mourn them and try and forget the atrocities they have witnessed (including our diggers).

Our soldiers should be honoured on ANZAC day. They should be respected for their brave service and the ordeals they endured. They should not, however, be turned into idealised hero’s that exemplify what it means to be Australian. We are much more than that.

The most important part of ANZAC day seems to be increasingly forgotten. That is remembering those that fell in war, our diggers, the innocent civilians and the opposing soldiers who were also serving their countries.

Lest we forget.

I think Gandhi objects, rightly so I might add, to the policy that directs these soldiers. Unfortunately, he ends up taking out his frustrations on the soldiers themselves. Perhaps the soldiers shouldn't "just obey orders," but really, what here is the alternative? It's not like too many of them are being asked to do something that conflicts with a personal moral imperative. Do they just not go to Iraq because they think it's a bad policy? That doesn't seem to be a very helpful alternative; if soldiers didn't follow orders they deemed to be stupid, we wouldn't have much of an army in any circumstance, now would we?

And it's not unlike wars haven't occasionally lead to a more stable, prosperous society. After all, in 60 years, the western world has gone from a war every 25 years to a world in which it's unimaginable that Western Europe, the U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia, and many other countries would ever fight each other in our lifetimes. Pretty damn amazing, no? For this I am thankful, and I would like to recognize the soldiers who constantly charged toward the guys trying to kill them for their role in implementing the enlightened policy that got us to where we are today.

It's just unfortunate that the policy seems to have become less enlightened recently.


Good on you. I sometimes give one on the house too.The Irish who fought in the 2 wars have had a hard time here. Some treating them as traitors for fighting for the Crown,never looking that they would be speaking German but for their sacrafice.
God you get some amount of hits on your blog.

sunburnt and jon, thanks for understanding where I am coming from.

Perhaps the soldiers shouldn't "just obey orders," but really, what here is the alternative? It's not like too many of them are being asked to do something that conflicts with a personal moral imperative. Do they just not go to Iraq because they think it's a bad policy?

The alternative is to refuse to go to Iraq, to go AWOL if necessary. Many US soldiers have done this, most notably Eric Watada. The Iraq invasion was a clear breach of international law and even by their own standards our soldiers have a DUTY to refuse to serve there. We have a War Criminal government and our military is aiding and abetting it. Personally, I think that is terrifying.

And anyone who insists that Aussie soldiers in Iraq are doing no wrong might like to take a close look at how much money (millions of $$$) the Australian government has paid out in compensation to Iraqi families who have lost innocent lives as a result of Australian military action. We even opened fire on an Iraqi minister's convoy!!!

gandi go take another pill you goose.

I had a look at gandis blog and it full of hate and bile.
I think we've been taken for a ride, all he wants is to publicise his hate bolg because he only has one comment and that's NOT from an admirer.

ad hominem, ad hominem, ad hominem.

I will happily remove my URL if that is a problem. Anyone want to provide some discussion based on FACT rather than just spewing bile, please do so.

Maybe it wasn't obvious to our soliders back in March 2003 that the invasion was illegal, but there is no excuse for ignorance any more. Our continued presence in that country is a disgrace, and does nothing for either Australia or the poor people of Iraq.

Take a look at Riverbend's latest post and then tell me how glorious our damned soldiers are.

PS: Seriously turner m., if I just wanted to attract hits to my blog (no disrespect to Adrian) there are better, more energy-efficient ways of doing it. Sheesh!!!

gandi you arn't the guy who puts out a magazine for cabbies are you?

"The alternative is to refuse to go to Iraq, to go AWOL if necessary. Many US soldiers have done this, most notably Eric Watada. The Iraq invasion was a clear breach of international law and even by their own standards our soldiers have a DUTY to refuse to serve there. We have a War Criminal government and our military is aiding and abetting it. Personally, I think that is terrifying."

Honestly, I think it'd be more terrifying if the military disavowed its civilian commanders.

Don't talk to me about soldiers and war, glory and honour, when our troops are helping to kill innocent people around the world.

Ghandi, this is a totally inappropriate sentiment when responding to an innocuous Anzac Day post. I simply reported on some encounters with individuals, reflecting Anzac Day's traditional emphasis on veterans and an 'appreciation of their sacrifices'. This ought not be denied on their one day of the year. The politics of war is for the other 364 days.

In the blogsphere provocative, off-topic commenting is called 'hijacking a thread', something most bloggers consider poor etiquette. I trust you'll avoid this in future. Thanks, Adrian.

"even by their own standards our soldiers have a DUTY to refuse to serve there."

That's an outrageous statement. Who are you to be telling everyone what they ought to be doing? And who are you to be telling everyone that they should be refusing to serve their country? No war is a simple matter. You're simplistic view shows your great ignorance of the matter.

Adrian,

The politics of war is for the other 364 days.

According to you. Sorry, nobody told me. Ay, ay, ay!

What to say...?

I lived in Spain for a while. There, they have a national day of rememberance too. On that day, every year, Franco supporters come out into the streets, waving Spanish flags and chanting the dictator's name. Not just chanting his name in a Rastafarian kind of way, either: screeching it, shouting it. The demonstrations are very provocative, almost to the point of violence. When I first heard them coming down my street in an ordinary Madrid suburb, I hesitated to open my windows. It sounded like an angry mob on the rampage.

Is that where Australia is headed?

I appreciate your sentiment, Adrian, and I realise that both your comments and your actions were extremely well-intentioned. But surely I have a right to counter that with my own opinions, whatever day of the year it might be?

I am not trying to hijack this thread, I am just responding honestly, with some passionately-held views. Isn't that what blogging is supposed to be about? If my presence here is not welcome, please let me know.

You might also want to consider that there are many returned service men and women who want nothing to do with Anzac Day, who find the glorification of war repugnant, and who see the increased politicisation of our armed forces as a dangerous, immoral trend which betrays everything they ever fought for.

You have no bloody right gandhi you dickhead.

If my presence here is not welcome, please let me know.

What, so you can bitch and scream how your dissent has been crushed ? Nah, you're not one to be told, or one to listen. Your views are to be ignored and not taken seriously.

I imagine others will take the same position.

Top ten blogs, eh?

Hmmmn.

Goodbye, Adrian.

Well said Adrian.

Well, actually, just before I go...

I have raised a number of substantive issues here, Adrian. I have done so in good faith.

How about you at least have the decency to address these issues and set forth your own rebuttal before I go? Too hard?

Or have you never really considered the inherent contradictions in some of your much-publicised opinions?

I am always amazed at how much anger is directed towards anyone who strongly advances a pacifist viewpoint. Pacifists are supposed to be wimps, right?

Anyone who feels angry about anything I have said above should carefully consider where that anger is coming from.

Gandhi, this thread was not about the issues you raised so your posts were inappropriate and I see no reason why Adrian should address them.

If you're a pacifist why is your blog so provocatively titled - "Howard Death Watch"?

Alastair,

My blog was originally titled "Howard Out", but I changed it to reflect what I see as Howard's current political status. It is a POLITICAL death watch, not a medical one. Is that OK, or is satire dead too?

This post was about Anzac Day, which commemorates a very tragic day in our nation's history. Many fine young men were mown down by bullets while trying to race up a hill at the back of a beach in Turkey. Their intention, if they reached the top of that hill, was to kill other men. The day means different things to different people.

If anyone thinks my response was inappropriate, they do not appreciate where I am coming from. I have been posting anti-war, anti-Howard and anti-Bush blog content for the last four years. I am extraordinarily tired of war. I am tired of the politicized glorification of war. And I certainly did not expect this rather quaint "Sydney cabbie" blog, of all places, to delve into that arena.

I most certainly did not intend to "hijack" this thread, I just posted my thoughts at the time.

Over 650,000 Iraqis are dead, Adrian. Our soldiers are helping to kill them. Given the magnitude of the destruction our troops are helping to wreak in Iraq, versus your own hurt feelings about a thread being "hijacked", I really do not see that I have anything to apologize for.

This is the world we live in. Anzac Day 2007 falls at a time when our troops are engaged in what (to me at least) are disgraceful activities. I have a right to express that. And I dare say that many of those dead Anzac soldiers, if they could talk, would support me.

Food for thought, Adrian, as you prepare an appropriate response.

An ordinary soldier's view of the war in Iraq today:

Armies do not fight wars; nations fight wars. War is not a military activity conducted by soldiers, but rather a social activity that involves entire nations...

The passion of the people is necessary to endure the sacrifices inherent in war. Regardless of the system of government, the people supply the blood and treasure required to prosecute war. The statesman must stir these passions to a level commensurate with the popular sacrifices required...

If the policymaker desires ends for which the means he provides are insufficient, the general is responsible for advising the statesman of this incongruence. The statesman must then scale back the ends of policy or mobilize popular passions to provide greater means. If the general remains silent while the statesman commits a nation to war with insufficient means, he shares culpability for the results...

A military professional must possess both the physical courage to face the hazards of battle and the moral courage to withstand the barbs of public scorn. On and off the battlefield, courage is the first characteristic of generalship...

The intellectual and moral failures common to America's general officer corps in Vietnam and Iraq constitute a crisis in American generalship. Any explanation that fixes culpability on individuals is insufficient. No one leader, civilian or military, caused failure in Vietnam or Iraq. Different military and civilian leaders in the two conflicts produced similar results. In both conflicts, the general officer corps designed to advise policymakers, prepare forces and conduct operations failed to perform its intended functions. To understand how the U.S. could face defeat at the hands of a weaker insurgent enemy for the second time in a generation, we must look at the structural influences that produce our general officer corps...

[Army Lt. Col. Paul Yingling is deputy commander, 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment. He has served two tours in Iraq, another in Bosnia and a fourth in Operation Desert Storm. He holds a master's degree in political science from the University of Chicago. ]

And an ordinary journalist's view:
There are horrors that were completely left out of this war. So was this journalism or was this coverage-? There is a grand difference between journalism and coverage, and getting access does not mean you're getting the story, it just means you're getting one more arm or leg of the story. And that's what we got, and it was a glorious, wonderful picture that had a lot of people watching and a lot of advertisers excited about cable news. But it wasn't journalism, because I'm not so sure that we in America are hesitant to do this again, to fight another war, because it looked like a glorious and courageous and so successful terrific endeavor, and we got rid oaf horrible leader: We got rid of a dictator, we got rid of a monster, but we didn't see what it took to do that.

I can't tell you how bad the civilian casualties were...

The other thing is that so many voices were silent in this war... Free speech is a wonderful thing, it's what we fight for, but the minute it's unpalatable we fight against it for some reason...

This TV show that we just gave you was extraordinarily entertaining, and I really hope that the legacy that it leaves behind is not one that shows war as glorious, because there's nothing more dangerous than a democracy that thinks this is a glorious thing to do.

War is ugly and it's dangerous, and in this world the way we are discussed on the Arab street, it feeds and fuels their hatred and their desire to kill themselves to take out Americans. It's a dangerous thing to propagate.

Gandhi what people are saying is leave those issues for the other days of the year. Anzac day is about saying thankyou to the former and current service people and its a reminder of the horrors of war and why we should avoid it at all costs. Adrian's post was about his day as a driver and the folk he met and you spew all you stuff and p... us all off. Goodbye, hope its for good.

OK, suddenly I see the light.

I just checked the blogroll here. Explains a lot.

Tim Blair, PJs Media, etc, etc. Fits the pattern. What a surprise.

But Iraq The Neoconservative Model, Adrian? Really? Do you know who these guys are?

Clear off, mungbean.

Some paciifist you are, you would love to punch my lights out for being a bloodsoaked warmonger, wouldn't you?

Sheesh.

I haven't read all the other comments posted on this blog, sometimes the comments from readers distracts from your original post.
Anyway, my dad's a veteran (Vietnam) - every year I go home and we go to dawn service, and sometimes the march.
This year, after dawn service, my dad went down to the local RSL - where they had free beer. So yes, your veterans do get a free beer on Anzac day, it just happens to be at 7 in the morning.

Good to hear Mel, very reassuring. Here's cheers to your Dad.

Maybe we should give the final word here - seeing as how it is Anzac Day - to an old soldier?

Here are the 1933 thoughts of Smedley Darlington Butler, Major General, United States Marine Corps. Butler was born West Chester, Pa., July 30, 1881, educated Haverford School, married Ethel C. Peters, of Philadelphia, June 30, 1905. He was awarded two congressional medals of honor, for capture of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1914, and for capture of Ft. Riviere, Haiti, 1917. He received the distinguished service medal, 1919, then retired Oct. 1, 1931. He died at the Naval Hospital, Philadelphia, June 21, 1940.

Here are his thoughts on war:

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.

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.

In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

And what is this bill?

This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.

For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out.

Again they are choosing sides. France and Russia met and agreed to stand side by side. Italy and Austria hurried to make a similar agreement. Poland and Germany cast sheep's eyes at each other, forgetting for the nonce [one unique occasion], their dispute over the Polish Corridor.

The assassination of King Alexander of Jugoslavia [Yugoslavia] complicated matters. Jugoslavia and Hungary, long bitter enemies, were almost at each other's throats. Italy was ready to jump in. But France was waiting. So was Czechoslovakia. All of them are looking ahead to war. Not the people – not those who fight and pay and die – only those who foment wars and remain safely at home to profit.

There are 40,000,000 men under arms in the world today, and our statesmen and diplomats have the temerity to say that war is not in the making.

Hell's bells! Are these 40,000,000 men being trained to be dancers?

Not in Italy, to be sure. Premier Mussolini knows what they are being trained for. He, at least, is frank enough to speak out. Only the other day, Il Duce in "International Conciliation," the publication of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said:

"And above all, Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace... War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the people who have the courage to meet it."

Undoubtedly Mussolini means exactly what he says. His well-trained army, his great fleet of planes, and even his navy are ready for war – anxious for it, apparently. His recent stand at the side of Hungary in the latter's dispute with Jugoslavia showed that. And the hurried mobilization of his troops on the Austrian border after the assassination of Dollfuss showed it too. There are others in Europe too whose sabre rattling presages war, sooner or later.

Herr Hitler, with his rearming Germany and his constant demands for more and more arms, is an equal if not greater menace to peace. France only recently increased the term of military service for its youth from a year to eighteen months.

Yes, all over, nations are camping in their arms. The mad dogs of Europe are on the loose. In the Orient the maneuvering is more adroit. Back in 1904, when Russia and Japan fought, we kicked out our old friends the Russians and backed Japan. Then our very generous international bankers were financing Japan. Now the trend is to poison us against the Japanese. What does the "open door" policy to China mean to us? Our trade with China is about $90,000,000 a year. Or the Philippine Islands? We have spent about $600,000,000 in the Philippines in thirty-five years and we (our bankers and industrialists and speculators) have private investments there of less than $200,000,000.

Then, to save that China trade of about $90,000,000, or to protect these private investments of less than $200,000,000 in the Philippines, we would be all stirred up to hate Japan and go to war – a war that might well cost us tens of billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives of Americans, and many more hundreds of thousands of physically maimed and mentally unbalanced men.

Of course, for this loss, there would be a compensating profit – fortunes would be made. Millions and billions of dollars would be piled up. By a few. Munitions makers. Bankers. Ship builders. Manufacturers. Meat packers. Speculators. They would fare well.

Yes, they are getting ready for another war. Why shouldn't they? It pays high dividends.

But what does it profit the men who are killed? What does it profit their mothers and sisters, their wives and their sweethearts? What does it profit their children?

What does it profit anyone except the very few to whom war means huge profits?

Yes, and what does it profit the nation?

Take our own case. Until 1898 we didn't own a bit of territory outside the mainland of North America. At that time our national debt was a little more than $1,000,000,000. Then we became "internationally minded." We forgot, or shunted aside, the advice of the Father of our country. We forgot George Washington's warning about "entangling alliances." We went to war. We acquired outside territory. At the end of the World War period, as a direct result of our fiddling in international affairs, our national debt had jumped to over $25,000,000,000. Our total favorable trade balance during the twenty-five-year period was about $24,000,000,000. Therefore, on a purely bookkeeping basis, we ran a little behind year for year, and that foreign trade might well have been ours without the wars.

It would have been far cheaper (not to say safer) for the average American who pays the bills to stay out of foreign entanglements. For a very few this racket, like bootlegging and other underworld rackets, brings fancy profits, but the cost of operations is always transferred to the people – who do not profit.

CHAPTER TWO

WHO MAKES THE PROFITS?

The World War, rather our brief participation in it, has cost the United States some $52,000,000,000. Figure it out. That means $400 to every American man, woman, and child. And we haven't paid the debt yet. We are paying it, our children will pay it, and our children's children probably still will be paying the cost of that war.

The normal profits of a business concern in the United States are six, eight, ten, and sometimes twelve percent. But war-time profits – ah! that is another matter – twenty, sixty, one hundred, three hundred, and even eighteen hundred per cent – the sky is the limit. All that traffic will bear. Uncle Sam has the money. Let's get it.

Of course, it isn't put that crudely in war time. It is dressed into speeches about patriotism, love of country, and "we must all put our shoulders to the wheel," but the profits jump and leap and skyrocket – and are safely pocketed. Let's just take a few examples:

Take our friends the du Ponts, the powder people – didn't one of them testify before a Senate committee recently that their powder won the war? Or saved the world for democracy? Or something? How did they do in the war? They were a patriotic corporation. Well, the average earnings of the du Ponts for the period 1910 to 1914 were $6,000,000 a year. It wasn't much, but the du Ponts managed to get along on it. Now let's look at their average yearly profit during the war years, 1914 to 1918. Fifty-eight million dollars a year profit we find! Nearly ten times that of normal times, and the profits of normal times were pretty good. An increase in profits of more than 950 per cent.

Take one of our little steel companies that patriotically shunted aside the making of rails and girders and bridges to manufacture war materials. Well, their 1910-1914 yearly earnings averaged $6,000,000. Then came the war. And, like loyal citizens, Bethlehem Steel promptly turned to munitions making. Did their profits jump – or did they let Uncle Sam in for a bargain? Well, their 1914-1918 average was $49,000,000 a year!

Or, let's take United States Steel. The normal earnings during the five-year period prior to the war were $105,000,000 a year. Not bad. Then along came the war and up went the profits. The average yearly profit for the period 1914-1918 was $240,000,000. Not bad.

There you have some of the steel and powder earnings. Let's look at something else. A little copper, perhaps. That always does well in war times.

Anaconda, for instance. Average yearly earnings during the pre-war years 1910-1914 of $10,000,000. During the war years 1914-1918 profits leaped to $34,000,000 per year.

Or Utah Copper. Average of $5,000,000 per year during the 1910-1914 period. Jumped to an average of $21,000,000 yearly profits for the war period.

Let's group these five, with three smaller companies. The total yearly average profits of the pre-war period 1910-1914 were $137,480,000. Then along came the war. The average yearly profits for this group skyrocketed to $408,300,000.

A little increase in profits of approximately 200 per cent.

Does war pay? It paid them. But they aren't the only ones. There are still others. Let's take leather.

For the three-year period before the war the total profits of Central Leather Company were $3,500,000. That was approximately $1,167,000 a year. Well, in 1916 Central Leather returned a profit of $15,000,000, a small increase of 1,100 per cent. That's all. The General Chemical Company averaged a profit for the three years before the war of a little over $800,000 a year. Came the war, and the profits jumped to $12,000,000. a leap of 1,400 per cent.

International Nickel Company – and you can't have a war without nickel – showed an increase in profits from a mere average of $4,000,000 a year to $73,000,000 yearly. Not bad? An increase of more than 1,700 per cent.

American Sugar Refining Company averaged $2,000,000 a year for the three years before the war. In 1916 a profit of $6,000,000 was recorded.

Listen to Senate Document No. 259. The Sixty-Fifth Congress, reporting on corporate earnings and government revenues. Considering the profits of 122 meat packers, 153 cotton manufacturers, 299 garment makers, 49 steel plants, and 340 coal producers during the war. Profits under 25 per cent were exceptional. For instance the coal companies made between 100 per cent and 7,856 per cent on their capital stock during the war. The Chicago packers doubled and tripled their earnings.

And let us not forget the bankers who financed the great war. If anyone had the cream of the profits it was the bankers. Being partnerships rather than incorporated organizations, they do not have to report to stockholders. And their profits were as secret as they were immense. How the bankers made their millions and their billions I do not know, because those little secrets never become public – even before a Senate investigatory body.

But here's how some of the other patriotic industrialists and speculators chiseled their way into war profits.

Take the shoe people. They like war. It brings business with abnormal profits. They made huge profits on sales abroad to our allies. Perhaps, like the munitions manufacturers and armament makers, they also sold to the enemy. For a dollar is a dollar whether it comes from Germany or from France. But they did well by Uncle Sam too. For instance, they sold Uncle Sam 35,000,000 pairs of hobnailed service shoes. There were 4,000,000 soldiers. Eight pairs, and more, to a soldier. My regiment during the war had only one pair to a soldier. Some of these shoes probably are still in existence. They were good shoes. But when the war was over Uncle Sam has a matter of 25,000,000 pairs left over. Bought – and paid for. Profits recorded and pocketed.

There was still lots of leather left. So the leather people sold your Uncle Sam hundreds of thousands of McClellan saddles for the cavalry. But there wasn't any American cavalry overseas! Somebody had to get rid of this leather, however. Somebody had to make a profit in it – so we had a lot of McClellan saddles. And we probably have those yet.

Also somebody had a lot of mosquito netting. They sold your Uncle Sam 20,000,000 mosquito nets for the use of the soldiers overseas. I suppose the boys were expected to put it over them as they tried to sleep in muddy trenches – one hand scratching cooties on their backs and the other making passes at scurrying rats. Well, not one of these mosquito nets ever got to France!

Anyhow, these thoughtful manufacturers wanted to make sure that no soldier would be without his mosquito net, so 40,000,000 additional yards of mosquito netting were sold to Uncle Sam.

There were pretty good profits in mosquito netting in those days, even if there were no mosquitoes in France. I suppose, if the war had lasted just a little longer, the enterprising mosquito netting manufacturers would have sold your Uncle Sam a couple of consignments of mosquitoes to plant in France so that more mosquito netting would be in order.

Airplane and engine manufacturers felt they, too, should get their just profits out of this war. Why not? Everybody else was getting theirs. So $1,000,000,000 – count them if you live long enough – was spent by Uncle Sam in building airplane engines that never left the ground! Not one plane, or motor, out of the billion dollars worth ordered, ever got into a battle in France. Just the same the manufacturers made their little profit of 30, 100, or perhaps 300 per cent.

Undershirts for soldiers cost 14¢ [cents] to make and uncle Sam paid 30¢ to 40¢ each for them – a nice little profit for the undershirt manufacturer. And the stocking manufacturer and the uniform manufacturers and the cap manufacturers and the steel helmet manufacturers – all got theirs.

Why, when the war was over some 4,000,000 sets of equipment – knapsacks and the things that go to fill them – crammed warehouses on this side. Now they are being scrapped because the regulations have changed the contents. But the manufacturers collected their wartime profits on them – and they will do it all over again the next time.

There were lots of brilliant ideas for profit making during the war.

One very versatile patriot sold Uncle Sam twelve dozen 48-inch wrenches. Oh, they were very nice wrenches. The only trouble was that there was only one nut ever made that was large enough for these wrenches. That is the one that holds the turbines at Niagara Falls. Well, after Uncle Sam had bought them and the manufacturer had pocketed the profit, the wrenches were put on freight cars and shunted all around the United States in an effort to find a use for them. When the Armistice was signed it was indeed a sad blow to the wrench manufacturer. He was just about to make some nuts to fit the wrenches. Then he planned to sell these, too, to your Uncle Sam.

Still another had the brilliant idea that colonels shouldn't ride in automobiles, nor should they even ride on horseback. One has probably seen a picture of Andy Jackson riding in a buckboard. Well, some 6,000 buckboards were sold to Uncle Sam for the use of colonels! Not one of them was used. But the buckboard manufacturer got his war profit.

The shipbuilders felt they should come in on some of it, too. They built a lot of ships that made a lot of profit. More than $3,000,000,000 worth. Some of the ships were all right. But $635,000,000 worth of them were made of wood and wouldn't float! The seams opened up – and they sank. We paid for them, though. And somebody pocketed the profits.

It has been estimated by statisticians and economists and researchers that the war cost your Uncle Sam $52,000,000,000. Of this sum, $39,000,000,000 was expended in the actual war itself. This expenditure yielded $16,000,000,000 in profits. That is how the 21,000 billionaires and millionaires got that way. This $16,000,000,000 profits is not to be sneezed at. It is quite a tidy sum. And it went to a very few.

The Senate (Nye) committee probe of the munitions industry and its wartime profits, despite its sensational disclosures, hardly has scratched the surface.

Even so, it has had some effect. The State Department has been studying "for some time" methods of keeping out of war. The War Department suddenly decides it has a wonderful plan to spring. The Administration names a committee – with the War and Navy Departments ably represented under the chairmanship of a Wall Street speculator – to limit profits in war time. To what extent isn't suggested. Hmmm. Possibly the profits of 300 and 600 and 1,600 per cent of those who turned blood into gold in the World War would be limited to some smaller figure.

Apparently, however, the plan does not call for any limitation of losses – that is, the losses of those who fight the war. As far as I have been able to ascertain there is nothing in the scheme to limit a soldier to the loss of but one eye, or one arm, or to limit his wounds to one or two or three. Or to limit the loss of life.

There is nothing in this scheme, apparently, that says not more than 12 per cent of a regiment shall be wounded in battle, or that not more than 7 per cent in a division shall be killed.

Of course, the committee cannot be bothered with such trifling matters.

CHAPTER THREE

WHO PAYS THE BILLS?

Who provides the profits – these nice little profits of 20, 100, 300, 1,500 and 1,800 per cent? We all pay them – in taxation. We paid the bankers their profits when we bought Liberty Bonds at $100.00 and sold them back at $84 or $86 to the bankers. These bankers collected $100 plus. It was a simple manipulation. The bankers control the security marts. It was easy for them to depress the price of these bonds. Then all of us – the people – got frightened and sold the bonds at $84 or $86. The bankers bought them. Then these same bankers stimulated a boom and government bonds went to par – and above. Then the bankers collected their profits.

But the soldier pays the biggest part of the bill.

If you don't believe this, visit the American cemeteries on the battlefields abroad. Or visit any of the veteran's hospitals in the United States. On a tour of the country, in the midst of which I am at the time of this writing, I have visited eighteen government hospitals for veterans. In them are a total of about 50,000 destroyed men – men who were the pick of the nation eighteen years ago. The very able chief surgeon at the government hospital; at Milwaukee, where there are 3,800 of the living dead, told me that mortality among veterans is three times as great as among those who stayed at home.

Boys with a normal viewpoint were taken out of the fields and offices and factories and classrooms and put into the ranks. There they were remolded; they were made over; they were made to "about face"; to regard murder as the order of the day. They were put shoulder to shoulder and, through mass psychology, they were entirely changed. We used them for a couple of years and trained them to think nothing at all of killing or of being killed.

Then, suddenly, we discharged them and told them to make another "about face" ! This time they had to do their own readjustment, sans [without] mass psychology, sans officers' aid and advice and sans nation-wide propaganda. We didn't need them any more. So we scattered them about without any "three-minute" or "Liberty Loan" speeches or parades. Many, too many, of these fine young boys are eventually destroyed, mentally, because they could not make that final "about face" alone.

In the government hospital in Marion, Indiana, 1,800 of these boys are in pens! Five hundred of them in a barracks with steel bars and wires all around outside the buildings and on the porches. These already have been mentally destroyed. These boys don't even look like human beings. Oh, the looks on their faces! Physically, they are in good shape; mentally, they are gone.

There are thousands and thousands of these cases, and more and more are coming in all the time. The tremendous excitement of the war, the sudden cutting off of that excitement – the young boys couldn't stand it.

That's a part of the bill. So much for the dead – they have paid their part of the war profits. So much for the mentally and physically wounded – they are paying now their share of the war profits. But the others paid, too – they paid with heartbreaks when they tore themselves away from their firesides and their families to don the uniform of Uncle Sam – on which a profit had been made. They paid another part in the training camps where they were regimented and drilled while others took their jobs and their places in the lives of their communities. The paid for it in the trenches where they shot and were shot; where they were hungry for days at a time; where they slept in the mud and the cold and in the rain – with the moans and shrieks of the dying for a horrible lullaby.

But don't forget – the soldier paid part of the dollars and cents bill too.

Up to and including the Spanish-American War, we had a prize system, and soldiers and sailors fought for money. During the Civil War they were paid bonuses, in many instances, before they went into service. The government, or states, paid as high as $1,200 for an enlistment. In the Spanish-American War they gave prize money. When we captured any vessels, the soldiers all got their share – at least, they were supposed to. Then it was found that we could reduce the cost of wars by taking all the prize money and keeping it, but conscripting [drafting] the soldier anyway. Then soldiers couldn't bargain for their labor, Everyone else could bargain, but the soldier couldn't.

Napoleon once said,

"All men are enamored of decorations...they positively hunger for them."

So by developing the Napoleonic system – the medal business – the government learned it could get soldiers for less money, because the boys liked to be decorated. Until the Civil War there were no medals. Then the Congressional Medal of Honor was handed out. It made enlistments easier. After the Civil War no new medals were issued until the Spanish-American War.

In the World War, we used propaganda to make the boys accept conscription. They were made to feel ashamed if they didn't join the army.

So vicious was this war propaganda that even God was brought into it. With few exceptions our clergymen joined in the clamor to kill, kill, kill. To kill the Germans. God is on our side...it is His will that the Germans be killed.

And in Germany, the good pastors called upon the Germans to kill the allies...to please the same God. That was a part of the general propaganda, built up to make people war conscious and murder conscious.

Beautiful ideals were painted for our boys who were sent out to die. This was the "war to end all wars." This was the "war to make the world safe for democracy." No one mentioned to them, as they marched away, that their going and their dying would mean huge war profits. No one told these American soldiers that they might be shot down by bullets made by their own brothers here. No one told them that the ships on which they were going to cross might be torpedoed by submarines built with United States patents. They were just told it was to be a "glorious adventure."

Thus, having stuffed patriotism down their throats, it was decided to make them help pay for the war, too. So, we gave them the large salary of $30 a month.

All they had to do for this munificent sum was to leave their dear ones behind, give up their jobs, lie in swampy trenches, eat canned willy (when they could get it) and kill and kill and kill...and be killed.

But wait!

Half of that wage (just a little more than a riveter in a shipyard or a laborer in a munitions factory safe at home made in a day) was promptly taken from him to support his dependents, so that they would not become a charge upon his community. Then we made him pay what amounted to accident insurance – something the employer pays for in an enlightened state – and that cost him $6 a month. He had less than $9 a month left.

Then, the most crowning insolence of all – he was virtually blackjacked into paying for his own ammunition, clothing, and food by being made to buy Liberty Bonds. Most soldiers got no money at all on pay days.

We made them buy Liberty Bonds at $100 and then we bought them back – when they came back from the war and couldn't find work – at $84 and $86. And the soldiers bought about $2,000,000,000 worth of these bonds!

Yes, the soldier pays the greater part of the bill. His family pays too. They pay it in the same heart-break that he does. As he suffers, they suffer. At nights, as he lay in the trenches and watched shrapnel burst about him, they lay home in their beds and tossed sleeplessly – his father, his mother, his wife, his sisters, his brothers, his sons, and his daughters.

When he returned home minus an eye, or minus a leg or with his mind broken, they suffered too – as much as and even sometimes more than he. Yes, and they, too, contributed their dollars to the profits of the munitions makers and bankers and shipbuilders and the manufacturers and the speculators made. They, too, bought Liberty Bonds and contributed to the profit of the bankers after the Armistice in the hocus-pocus of manipulated Liberty Bond prices.

And even now the families of the wounded men and of the mentally broken and those who never were able to readjust themselves are still suffering and still paying.

CHAPTER FOUR

HOW TO SMASH THIS RACKET!

WELL, it's a racket, all right.

A few profit – and the many pay. But there is a way to stop it. You can't end it by disarmament conferences. You can't eliminate it by peace parleys at Geneva. Well-meaning but impractical groups can't wipe it out by resolutions. It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war.

The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry and labor before the nations manhood can be conscripted. One month before the Government can conscript the young men of the nation – it must conscript capital and industry and labor. Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and our munitions makers and our shipbuilders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of all the other things that provide profit in war time as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted – to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get.

Let the workers in these plants get the same wages – all the workers, all presidents, all executives, all directors, all managers, all bankers –

yes, and all generals and all admirals and all officers and all politicians and all government office holders – everyone in the nation be restricted to a total monthly income not to exceed that paid to the soldier in the trenches!

Let all these kings and tycoons and masters of business and all those workers in industry and all our senators and governors and majors pay half of their monthly $30 wage to their families and pay war risk insurance and buy Liberty Bonds.

Why shouldn't they?

They aren't running any risk of being killed or of having their bodies mangled or their minds shattered. They aren't sleeping in muddy trenches. They aren't hungry. The soldiers are!

Give capital and industry and labor thirty days to think it over and you will find, by that time, there will be no war. That will smash the war racket – that and nothing else.

Maybe I am a little too optimistic. Capital still has some say. So capital won't permit the taking of the profit out of war until the people – those who do the suffering and still pay the price – make up their minds that those they elect to office shall do their bidding, and not that of the profiteers.

Another step necessary in this fight to smash the war racket is the limited plebiscite to determine whether a war should be declared. A plebiscite not of all the voters but merely of those who would be called upon to do the fighting and dying. There wouldn't be very much sense in having a 76-year-old president of a munitions factory or the flat-footed head of an international banking firm or the cross-eyed manager of a uniform manufacturing plant – all of whom see visions of tremendous profits in the event of war – voting on whether the nation should go to war or not. They never would be called upon to shoulder arms – to sleep in a trench and to be shot. Only those who would be called upon to risk their lives for their country should have the privilege of voting to determine whether the nation should go to war.

There is ample precedent for restricting the voting to those affected. Many of our states have restrictions on those permitted to vote. In most, it is necessary to be able to read and write before you may vote. In some, you must own property. It would be a simple matter each year for the men coming of military age to register in their communities as they did in the draft during the World War and be examined physically. Those who could pass and who would therefore be called upon to bear arms in the event of war would be eligible to vote in a limited plebiscite. They should be the ones to have the power to decide – and not a Congress few of whose members are within the age limit and fewer still of whom are in physical condition to bear arms. Only those who must suffer should have the right to vote.

A third step in this business of smashing the war racket is to make certain that our military forces are truly forces for defense only.

At each session of Congress the question of further naval appropriations comes up. The swivel-chair admirals of Washington (and there are always a lot of them) are very adroit lobbyists. And they are smart. They don't shout that "We need a lot of battleships to war on this nation or that nation." Oh no. First of all, they let it be known that America is menaced by a great naval power. Almost any day, these admirals will tell you, the great fleet of this supposed enemy will strike suddenly and annihilate 125,000,000 people. Just like that. Then they begin to cry for a larger navy. For what? To fight the enemy? Oh my, no. Oh, no. For defense purposes only.

Then, incidentally, they announce maneuvers in the Pacific. For defense. Uh, huh.

The Pacific is a great big ocean. We have a tremendous coastline on the Pacific. Will the maneuvers be off the coast, two or three hundred miles? Oh, no. The maneuvers will be two thousand, yes, perhaps even thirty-five hundred miles, off the coast.

The Japanese, a proud people, of course will be pleased beyond expression to see the united States fleet so close to Nippon's shores. Even as pleased as would be the residents of California were they to dimly discern through the morning mist, the Japanese fleet playing at war games off Los Angeles.

The ships of our navy, it can be seen, should be specifically limited, by law, to within 200 miles of our coastline. Had that been the law in 1898 the Maine would never have gone to Havana Harbor. She never would have been blown up. There would have been no war with Spain with its attendant loss of life. Two hundred miles is ample, in the opinion of experts, for defense purposes. Our nation cannot start an offensive war if its ships can't go further than 200 miles from the coastline. Planes might be permitted to go as far as 500 miles from the coast for purposes of reconnaissance. And the army should never leave the territorial limits of our nation.

To summarize: Three steps must be taken to smash the war racket.

We must take the profit out of war.

We must permit the youth of the land who would bear arms to decide whether or not there should be war.

We must limit our military forces to home defense purposes.

CHAPTER FIVE

TO HELL WITH WAR!

I am not a fool as to believe that war is a thing of the past. I know the people do not want war, but there is no use in saying we cannot be pushed into another war.

Looking back, Woodrow Wilson was re-elected president in 1916 on a platform that he had "kept us out of war" and on the implied promise that he would "keep us out of war." Yet, five months later he asked Congress to declare war on Germany.

In that five-month interval the people had not been asked whether they had changed their minds. The 4,000,000 young men who put on uniforms and marched or sailed away were not asked whether they wanted to go forth to suffer and die.

Then what caused our government to change its mind so suddenly?

Money.

An allied commission, it may be recalled, came over shortly before the war declaration and called on the President. The President summoned a group of advisers. The head of the commission spoke. Stripped of its diplomatic language, this is what he told the President and his group:

"There is no use kidding ourselves any longer. The cause of the allies is lost. We now owe you (American bankers, American munitions makers, American manufacturers, American speculators, American exporters) five or six billion dollars.

If we lose (and without the help of the United States we must lose) we, England, France and Italy, cannot pay back this money...and Germany won't.

So..."

Had secrecy been outlawed as far as war negotiations were concerned, and had the press been invited to be present at that conference, or had radio been available to broadcast the proceedings, America never would have entered the World War. But this conference, like all war discussions, was shrouded in utmost secrecy. When our boys were sent off to war they were told it was a "war to make the world safe for democracy" and a "war to end all wars."

Well, eighteen years after, the world has less of democracy than it had then. Besides, what business is it of ours whether Russia or Germany or England or France or Italy or Austria live under democracies or monarchies? Whether they are Fascists or Communists? Our problem is to preserve our own democracy.

And very little, if anything, has been accomplished to assure us that the World War was really the war to end all wars.

Yes, we have had disarmament conferences and limitations of arms conferences. They don't mean a thing. One has just failed; the results of another have been nullified. We send our professional soldiers and our sailors and our politicians and our diplomats to these conferences. And what happens?

The professional soldiers and sailors don't want to disarm. No admiral wants to be without a ship. No general wants to be without a command. Both mean men without jobs. They are not for disarmament. They cannot be for limitations of arms. And at all these conferences, lurking in the background but all-powerful, just the same, are the sinister agents of those who profit by war. They see to it that these conferences do not disarm or seriously limit armaments.

The chief aim of any power at any of these conferences has not been to achieve disarmament to prevent war but rather to get more armament for itself and less for any potential foe.

There is only one way to disarm with any semblance of practicability. That is for all nations to get together and scrap every ship, every gun, every rifle, every tank, every war plane. Even this, if it were possible, would not be enough.

The next war, according to experts, will be fought not with battleships, not by artillery, not with rifles and not with machine guns. It will be fought with deadly chemicals and gases.

Secretly each nation is studying and perfecting newer and ghastlier means of annihilating its foes wholesale. Yes, ships will continue to be built, for the shipbuilders must make their profits. And guns still will be manufactured and powder and rifles will be made, for the munitions makers must make their huge profits. And the soldiers, of course, must wear uniforms, for the manufacturer must make their war profits too.

But victory or defeat will be determined by the skill and ingenuity of our scientists.

If we put them to work making poison gas and more and more fiendish mechanical and explosive instruments of destruction, they will have no time for the constructive job of building greater prosperity for all peoples. By putting them to this useful job, we can all make more money out of peace than we can out of war – even the munitions makers.

So...I say, TO HELL WITH WAR.

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