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OUR NATIONAL DEFENCES IN THE LIGHT OF
THE EUROPEAN WAR A
S IF the joyful Christmas season did not have without further information, that the time had arrived
enough drawbacks this year, a very considerable for another army and navy appropriation bill to be portion of the American press are engaged just now started on its way through Congress. in assuring us that the war-clouds are hovering, or
The Defects of Our Army are about to hover, over this fair land and are likely
and Navy. to break upon us before we can get our umbrellas THE agitation this year, begun by Congressman ready. We are, so the Washington Post discovers, "in Gardner, of Massachusetts, taken up by Senator imm inent danger of becoming involved” in the world Lodge, backed vigorously by the Army League and war. The N. Y. Herald sees the danger, but sees it the Navy League and by a new organization called the a little farther off. When the war in Europe ends, National Security League, is directed to securing a then will be the time of our peril. “A false or mis- special commission of inquiry to investigate the conunderstood step even at this moment,” it says, "might, dition of our national defences. The first results have when the victors emerge from the conflict, embroil us been an extended discussion in the press and public in war.” The N. Y. American is more vivid in its hearings—the first in years—by the House naval comwarning. “The moment of triumph,” it remarks, "for mittee and the committee on military affairs, with a one or the other of the European belligerents will be view, probably, to forestalling the necessity of a special a moment of menace for us—as for all other nations commission. Out of the testimony of generals and adwhich may stand in the way of some ambition not fully mirals and the reports of the various bureaus, as well sated by the victory won. Shall the rapt visionings of as the annual reports of Secretary Daniels and Secrea doctrinaire, blind to the lessons of the past and the tary Garrison, a considerable amount of information menace of the future, leave us in such event naked has been elicited, much of which has served as addito the assaults of our enemies?" The "doctrinaire" tional fuel to the fire. It transpires, for instance, from referred to is President Wilson and the “rapt vision the testimony of Rear-Admiral Fletcher, that we had ings" are to be found in his message to Congress last last month but one submarine in actual first-class commonth. But The Navy is still more alarming, and to be mission, twelve undergoing the annual overhauling, and more alarming than a Hearst paper in the midst of an the rest being in the hands of contractors for alteraagitation is "going some.” The European war, says tions. It developed also from the testimony of SecreThe l'avy', is to be regarded not as the last great war tary Daniels that we have not one battleship afloat that but as the first. Weapons are to grow more and more has inside armor protection against the attacks of tordeadly, and the horrors seen in Flanders or Poland in pedoes from submarines, altho we have five battleships these days "will sink into comparative insignificance now under construction that will have such protection. when future historians compile statistics of coming There are twenty Dreadnoughts in the German navy conflicts among the nations of the earth.” It foresees
, with double bottoms and five with triple bottoms deindeed, “a series of kvars of such tremendous extent signed for such protection. At present, according to that the wars which have been fought previously will
General Scriven, our army has but eleven aeroplanes. appear insignifycanı” From these and many other It would, in an emergency, take “a year or more” to get such-like sayiilgs last month shrewd Americans knew, 100 aeroplanes built. Austria-Hungary has 600; Bel
asserts; that our field guns are '“as good as any in the world.” Admiral Fletcher claims that our battleships are, ship for ship, as good as those in the German navy. Secretary Daniels categorically denies that fleet maneuvers, and gun practice have been neglected in the last two years, and he tells of surprisingly successful tests with the Matanuska coal in Alaska, which seem to assure an adequate supply of fuel on the Pacific coast. Secretary of War Garrison insists that our army, what there is of it, is in as excellent condition as any similar organization in the world, tho he is in entire agreement with the demand for an increase in its size and for the establishment of a large reserve force, which he terms "absolutely imperative."
-Cesare in N. Y. Sun
No Reason for Excitement,
Says the President.
terms, may be added that which comes from President Wilson. In his message to Congress last month he said: "Let there be no misconception. The country has been misinformed. We have not been negligent of national defence. We are not unmindful of the great responsibility resting upon us. We shall learn and profit by the lesson of every experience and every new circumstance; and what is needed will be adequately done.” The contest that comes out of this agitation does not revolve around any definite proposal
as to the size of our army or navy, or as to the size of “MILLIONS FOR GRAPE JUICE, BUT NOT A CENT FOR DEFENCE!”
the coming appropriations for them. It revolves, as
we have said, around the proposition for a special comgium, 60; Great Britain, 900; France, 1,400; Germany,
mission of inquiry. Against this the administration has 1,400; Italy, 300; Russia, 1,000; Japan, 20. The chief
set its face, on the ground that it is simply the inauguraof the Aeronautical Bureau, Captain Bristol, says that
tion of a jingo campaign and that all the information 200 air-craft are "urgently needed” for our national
desired is accessible in the reports of department offidefence. Deducting the number of troops necessary
cials and bureau heads, or else can be easily secured to man the coast artillery and for garrisons in the by the naval and military committees of Congress. Philippines, Panama Canal, Hawaii, Porto Rico and
The President devotes nearly a third of his message Alaska, we have, according to Secretary Garrison, only to the subject. From the first, he says, we have had a 24,602 men left in the mobile army—“not much more
clear and settled policy on the subject of military esthan twice the size of the police force of New York
tablishments and this is no time to depart from it. We City.” We have no reserve army, the existing legisla
are at peace with all the world. We should be very tion proving "utterly useless," having produced but 16 jealous of our distinction as the champions of peace men in twenty-four months! According to General
According to General and concord, especially just now when our reputation Wotherspoon, late the chief of staff of our army, the
in that respect may bring us soon the opportunity to organized militia has "a reported strength" of 119,000 perform a great service to the world. men, but of these only 42,599 qualified last year as
“We Shall Not Alter Our second-class marksmen with the rifle, only 67,000 even
Policy of Defence.”
on , who did a .
"when half the world is on fire we shall be careful Generals and Admirals on the Good
to make our moral insurance against the spread of the Points of Our Armaments.
conflagration very certain and definite and adequate THER facts of a similar nature have developed, indeed." Then he becomes more specific. We must
such as a shortage in field and siege artillery, in depend, he says, in the future as in the past, not upon artillery ammunition, in torpedoes, in motor trucks, etc. a large regular army, nor upon a reserve army, but Considering that the appropriations for the army and upon “a citizenry trained and accustomed to arms. It navy have been climbing up until last year they amount is right to encourage such training and to develop the ed to over $250,000,000, the list of serious defects seems National Guard; butdisquieting, to say the least. There are, however, some
“More than this carries with it a reversal of the whole reassuring features. General E. M. Weaver declares that we have the best coast defence material in the
history and character of our policy. More than this. pro
posed at this time, permit me to say. would mean merely world—if only we had men enough who are trained
that we had lost : our self-possession, that we had been to handle it, and enough ammunition for it. General
thrown off our bilance by a wir with which we have Scott, the new chief of staff, testifies that, as compared nothing to do, whose causes cannot touch us, whose very with the situation two, four or six years ago, the con existence affords is opportunities of friendship and disdition of our national defence is "constantly improv- interested service which should make us ashamed of any ing.” General Crozier, chief of ordnance of the army, thought of hostility or fearful prepiration for trouble. This
"WILSONISM AT ITS WORST”
is assuredly the opportunity for which a people and a government like ours were raised up, the opportunity not only to speak but actually to embody and exemplify the counsels of peace and amity and the lasting concord which is based on justice and fair and generous dealing.”
A "powerful navy” he also advocates as “our proper and natural means of defence”; but who, he asks, shall tell us now what sort of navy to build? The subject, he remarks, in conclusion, is not new and there is no new need to discuss it.
“We shall not alter our attitude toward it because some among us are nervous and excited. We shall easily and sensibly agree upon a policy of defence. The question has not changed its aspects because the times are not normal. Our policy will not be for an occasion. It will be conceived as a permanent and settled thing, which we will pursue at all seasons, without haste and after a fashion perfectly consistent with the peace of the world, the abiding friendship of states, and the unhampered freedom of all with whom we deal.”
“Wilsonism At Its Worst.” THE HE cooling lotion thus applied has not been entire
ly successful in allaying the fever. The N. Y. Tribune terms the message "Wilsonism at its worst,” Wilsonism being, it seems, "the habit of trying to make specious phrases do the work of statesmanship.” “The
THROWING A SCARE INTO HIM
-Kirby in N. Y. World idea,” we are told, “that our seeking at this moment to repair our military deficiences would disqualify the scrutiny and inquiry.” It is time that we all knew, says United States to act as a mediator in the European the Chicago Tribune, not only what sort of a navy we conflict is a sheer delusion." It cannot possibly detract have and what sort of fortresses, but especially what from our championship of peace and concord if we sort of mobile army. Congress does not know, the examine our present modest means of national defence press does not know, the public does not know. "It is and satisfy ourselves that the money spent on them is time we all knew and the time to know is now, not after being spent to the best advantage. The N. Y. Sun it is too late.” It refers with some scorn to the followfinds in the message, as it has for that matter found ing statement from Senator Kern: “This country will in nearly all of the President's utterances, an "irritating understand that with the close of the present war in incapacity to face a fact, to deal with things as they Europe even the victor will not be in condition for are," and a "provoking effort to dismiss ugly realities
some time to wage war against the United States. We with a pretty phrase." It finds him “oblivious to all will have the breathing spell at least to prepare." "The that has happened between July and December, unable whole history of our unpreparedness,” comments the to perceive that the courage of Liège could not prevent Tribune, "from the war of 1812 down to the occupation the catastrophe of Louvain." Was there ever, it asks, of Vera Cruz is illustrated by that remark. Congress a more patent fallacy than this — that the guns in always has been sure of a 'breathing spell to prepare'New York harbor must not be supplied with ammuni and Congress lias spent it in breathing, not preparing. tion because that might, in some unapparent fashion, Congress is good at breathing." The Washington Post make the United States an unacceptable mediator? protests against making this a question of partisan Furthermore:
politics. Republicans, it insists, have no right to criticize "If the nations of Europe desire peace, desire our as
the Democratic party, which has been in power but two sistance in settling their differences, it will be because they
years, for unpreparedness. There is no excuse for delay, have fought as long as they will or can. It will be because it thinks, on the ground that such a movement for adethey want peace, not because they are looking for a moral quate defence is partisan. It points with warning finger or spiritual example or lesson from this country. To as to the fate of Finland, Belgium, Egypt and Korea. It sume superior virtue will not contribute to making us points also to the plight of Great Britain, "where to-day, more acceptable as mediators, once our mediation is asked.
through its disregard of the urging of Viscount Wolse\'e shall get nowhere, accomplish nothing, serve mankind ley and of Lord Roberts for years, its government is in no useful way by pretending to be better than those na
forced to fill the trenches in northern France with brave tions who are now fighting for what they believe is the noblest thing in the world.”
but untrained recruits.” High Time to Know What
What Would Happen to Us Our Defences Are Like.
in a Real War? THE *HE same point of view is taken by the N. Y. Times, IN ,
which is usually found in support of the President's there are about as many Democrats as Republicans. policies. Now and not later, it thinks, is the time to Herman Ridder, treasurer of the national Democratic build up our defences, because it would create just now committee, is one who joins loudly in the demand for no "international i npression" whatever. "On the other an immediate investigation. The moment, he thinks, hand, if we wait until some cause for hurried action is not only not inopportune but it is peculiarly opporarises, whatever we may then do will be subject to tune. “Il'e know to-day what war is. To-morrow we
shall have forgotten. We should strike while the iron
A Vision of Roosevelt at the Head is hot in our minds." America, says the Montgomery
of a Militarist Revival.
A Advertiser, a Democratic paper, has fought more wars
REGULAR crusade against the agitation has been
conducted by the N. Y. Evening Post, which goes in the last forty years than Germany has. We have been successful only because we have done our fight
so far as to say that this is the time not to inquire about ing with weak countries.
our preparedness for war but “to refuse to vote a single "What would we do, if,
additional ship and to lead the world toward disarmathrough mistake or misfortune, we should become in
ment by beginning to disarm ourselves." It finds it volved in war with a powerful country like Great
hard to read the President's message on the subject Britain, France, or Russia ? The Brooklyn Eagle (Dem.) thinks that Congressman Gardner has struck a
without a moistening of the eyes. His is "the true sponsive chord, and public opinion is growing stronger
American voice,” and he it is who “defends us against day by day in favor of a searching inquiry. The
those of our own citizens who forget the true grandeur N. Y. Times uses for the text of an editorial the fol
of this nation.” It quotes the London Telegraph to the
effect that if a fleet action is fought between the British lowing quotation from Secretary Bryan: “The President knows that if this country needed a million men,
and German navies, it may easily result that the United
States may find itself the strongest naval power in the and needed them in a day, the call would go out at sunrise and the sun would go down on a million men in
world. Surely, says the Post, even our big-navy men
might be content, under these circumstances, to wait a arms.” More foolish words, says the Times, were never
few months. It sees in the agitation increasing signs spoken by mortal man in reply to a serious argument.
of the activity of Republican and Progressive leaders An army of a million untrained men could not be en
for partisan purposes, and it sees, in its mind's eye, rolled, mobilized, armed and made fit for the country's
Mr. Roosevelt shedding his robes of social justice and defence in a year. It can not see why the administra
brandishing his sword at the head of a militarist retion should resist inquiry. The public will not be
vival. The real object of all this agitation, says the quieted or satisfied by sncers about militarism. Nobody, it goes on to say, wants a great standing army.
San Francisco Chronicle, is not to inform Congress but
to fire the American heart. To comply with the deIn a “citizenry trained and accustomed to arms” would be found an army adequate for protection, and in rec
mands of the militarist party, it asserts, we must resort ommending that the President, the Times thinks, has
to compulsory service and vast additions to our taxes
such as our people never dreamed of. "Certainly," it shown that he is really convinced of the justice of the
says, “we shall have no reason to fear either Europe or public demand but “won't admit it.”
Asia for a long time to come.”
The Only Real Possibility of “Military Spree.”
War for America. ΤΟ. 'O A drunken man, observes the N. Y. IP orld, the
F, AS is thus charged, the agitation has a partisan most offensive man in the world is a sober man, object, it is of interest to note that neither the which explains to it why the newspapers and politicians Republican candidate for President in 1912 nor the who are “on a military spree” are so incensed against candidate for Vice-President is participating in it. the President. “It is not what the President said that Mr. Taft sees less reason just now for such an agitairritates them. It is the way he said it. If we were tion than at any other time in decades past. He sees, to translate the so-called war section of his message indeed, evidence in some of the utterances of "a mild into the vehement vernacular of Roosevelt, most of hysteria." There are, he says, 10 secrets to be inthein would probably agree with all of it.” It adds : vestigated. The chiefs of bureaus have been for years "A Chief Magistrate who refuses to get excited is reporting the deficiencies in our armaments. I-le beworth his weight in radium at a time like this. If there lieves the army should be increased by from 25 to 50 had been a few Woodrow Wilsons in the Governments per cent., and there should be an increase also in our of Europe, half the world would not have been plunged coast clefences and in the personnel of our navy. He into the most devastating war of human history." The favors at least one and perhaps two more West Points. World was at first strongly inclined to endorse the Gard But there is no reason for any undue excitement or ner demand for a commission of inquiry; but that for changing the general policy of the nation. What demand, it now concludes, begins to look not like the we ought to do, however, is to remove the only real prelude to a sober and scientific inquiry but like the possibility of war—that is to say, “the wanton, reckprelude to a new political jingo demonstration, and is less, wicked willingness of a narrow section of the more of a campaign against the l'nited States treasury country to gratify racial prejudice and class-hatred by than against any probable foe. "If the issue has been
flagrant breaches of treaty rights in the form of state raised merely to cover partisan politics and pocket law or by lawless violence.” If Congress would at once book jingoism with a mask of patriotism, it is a mani assume authority and see to it that we are not dragged festation of moral treason to the nation.” The Spring- into international difficulties by such means, that would field Republican thinks that while, of course, we want be quite as effective as increasing our military defences. our armaments to be as efficient as possible, a popular Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, president of Columbia agitation is the last way to attain that aim.
C'niversity, looks with far less composure upon the moment, it remarks, the whole world is seeing red, but agitation. He would regard it as not only deplorable before this war is over it will be seeing blue. Already but "disastrous” if the agitation were to succeed. "For militarism is on the defensive and feels it; if ht cannot the l'nited States to be swept from her moorings now,” stir up an agitation while the war fever lasts, what he says, in an interview in the N. Y Erening Post, "on chance will it have when a sick and sobered world, the foolish supposition of an attack by Germany or peace finally restored, begins to count the staggering Japan or England or anybody else, "ould be not only cost of its debauch?”
an act of folly but national suicide.':.
THE MEXICAN POLICY OF PRESIDENT WILSON
One of the reasons Mexico keeps on fighting is probably that if it ever settles down to peace it will have to begin paying war bills.—Cleveland Plain-Dealer.
Victoriano Huerta says he has no desire to return to Mexico. It is evident that the old boy isn't soused all the time.—Los Angeles Times.
UNCLE SÁM AND THE MEXICAN
earthquakes the attention of the world has been revenue producing port of Vera Cruz, we deliberately drove directed but incidentally toward the situation in Mexico.
Huerta out of Mexico, and with equal deliberation brought Even in our recent elections that topic played but à
in Carranza and Villa in the expectation that they would small part. The evacuation of Vera Cruz on November
compose the troubles of unfortunate Mexico." 23d by the American troops has seemed to bring to a Mr. Roosevelt fires a broadside at the administration head the gathering discontent, and something like a for its way of handling the Mexican situation. He storm of criticism has since broken upon the White finds "an unbroken course of more or less furtive House. It is far from being a cyclone, but it is no meddling in the internal affairs of Mexico, carried to a summer zephyr either. One had to hunt with some pitch which imposes on this nation a grave responsidiligence in the journals of the country last month bility for the wrongdoing of the victorious factions." . to find any champions of our Mexican policy in its The defense of our course, that the President has kept entirety. The revolutionary aspects of the Mexican us out of war with Mexico, he scouts as futile. On the buzz-saw were never more in evidence than they have contrary, we are told, he plunged us into war when our been in the last few months, while our soldiers have troops were sent to Vera Cruz. It was “a peculiarly been occupying themselves with cleaning up Vera Cruz, unwise, ignoble and inefficient war," but it was war at an expense estimated at about $10,000,000. Huerta none the less, in which we seized the leading seaport Aled July 15th. He was succeeded by General Carbajal, city of another country, sacrificing a score of Ameri-. who fled in his turn August 15th. He was in due time can and a hundred or so of Mexican lives, retained succeeded by General Carranza, who joined in the the city for months, and then abandoned it without flight from Mexico City and established his executive attaining the object for which it was seized.
It was offices in a lighthouse in Vera Cruz harbor. Generals the clear duty of President Wilson, Mr. Roosevelt Blanco, Zapata and V'illa in succession assumed charge insists, to accept Huerta as the actual President of of Mexico City and then General Gutierrez appeared as Mexico. Unless he was ready to establish a proPresident. At the latest accounts three revolutionary tectorate and insure peace, he had no business to pass movements are contesting for mastery—one under Car- judgment upon the method of Huerta's selection. ranza, one under Salazar, and one in charge of Villa Once having made up his mind not to recognize and Zapata, with Gutierrez as a figurehead. A fourth, Huerta, he should have notified foreign powers of his under General Gonzales, has been reported, but the intention in time to prevent contrary action by them. report has been denied. The total tally of Presidents, therefore, in the last three and one-half years, is sixDiaz (who left the capital May 25, 1911), Madero (who was killed February 20, 1913), Huerta (exit July 15, 1914), Carbajal, Carranza and Gutierrez. We, in the meantime, have incurred an expense of nearly ten million dollars in the occupation of Vera Cruz, and over $800,000 in taking care of refugees who have fled over our southern border. And by the middle of last month the bullets were again whizzing over the boundary line at Naco, where rival Mexican armies under Maytorena and Hill were in contest. It is not our buzz-saw, but we can't seem to get away from it.
I Don't Know Where I'm Going, But I Must Be Nearly There.
-Sykes in Philadelphia Ledger