The New Deal has dealt us a military and naval hand that makes us big time contenders in the war racket.
Events in Ethiopia indicate that all too soon it will be our turn to play the cards. We ought to make a good showing. We're getting plenty of practice.
Our army and navy have only recently completed their largest and most ambitious peace-time maneuvers. Our National Guardsmen have done even better. In the past two years large National Guard forces have seen active service in 20 strikes in as many different states, from the Pacific Coast to New England, from Minnesota to Georgia. They have used gas, bullets, and tanks -- the most lethal weapons of modern war -- against striking workers. Casualty lists have been impressive. In one instance they erected barbed wire concentration camps in Georgia to "co-ordinate" striking workers with all the efficiency of the fascist repressive technique.
There isn't a trick In the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" (to point out enemies), its "muscle men" (to destroy enemies), its "brain guys," (to plan war preparations) and a "Big Boss," (super-nationalistic capitalism).
I Was a "Racketeer"
It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent 33 years and 4 months In active service as a member of our country's most agile military force -- the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from a second lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism.
I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the profession I never had an original thought until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher-ups. This is typical of everyone in the military service.
Thus I, helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers 1909-12. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 191G. I helped make Honduras "right" for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals, promotion. Looking back on it, I feel I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three city districts. We Marines operated on three continents.
The war: racket operates at full swing in our own country today.- Make no mistake. We no longer fulfill by our example as a nation the role of Leader in Disarmament and Peace-Maker to Mankind. Our present war preparations and military expenditures forever nullify the Kellogg Peace Pact to which we subscribed, and all our previous efforts to ease the burden of war throughout the world.
Defense or Offense?
It is commonly supposed that our armed forces are entirely defensive in nature, that they have nothing to do with the making of war or the creating of situations that lead to war. The General Staff states publicly, that the military organization "is founded on the principle that we oust be unready for aggressive war, yet fully capable of defending ourselves... To be defensive in motive, as we intend to be, a nation must surrender all thought of initiative."
If this statement was a fact and effectively translated into reality, there would be little cause for concern. But close examination reveals that it is just another publicity release from that military sap factory known as the War Department.
Training Regulations No. 10-5 of the War Department contain the official "Doctrine of War," for the United States. Section II, paragraph 2, says "Decision to go to war having been made, operations will be carried into hostile territory... the primary objective will be the destruction d (the enemy's) armed forces, and this demands that the strategical and tactical offensive be taken and maintained until a decision is reached." Section V, paragraph 6, says "the object to be attained by (military) training is to enable the Army to wage offensive warfare, While training must cover certain phases of defensive doctrine and police doctrine the Army must definitely understand hat these are only means to the definite end -- offensive warfare -- and every individual in the military service must be imbued with the spirit of the offensive."
Our Ideal Never Defensive
Lest this seem to be the bellicose pipedream of some dyspeptic desk soldier, let us remember that the military deal of our country has never been defensive warfare. Since the Revolution, only the United Kingdom has beaten our record for square miles of territory acquired by military conquest. Our exploits against the American Indian, against the Filipinos, the Mexicans, and against Spain are on a par with the campaigns of Genghis Khan, the Japanese in Manchuria and the African attack of Mussolini. No country has ever declared war on us before we first obliged them with that gesture. Our whole history shows we have never fought a defensive war. And at the rate our armed forces are being implemented at present, the odds are against our fighting one in the near future.
The War Plans Section spends all its time creating blue-prints for the "defense" of this country. This means, f course, vast schemes for foreign invasion and offensive war. The personnel of this division are those whose hides will never be scratched should hostilities occur. Consequently they can devise plans of whatever magnitude they fancy, and against any momentary "enemy." Nothing troubles them; and, as we shall soon see, such a detail as how their next war is going to be paid for is not even considered.
Lloyd's odds on the United States being invaded by a foreign power are 500 to 1 against it. Only the most powerful of coalitions could dream of it -- and unless Great Britain were the spearhead of that coalition even the dream would be a waste of time. Without England's navy, merchant marine and her resources of rubber, nickel, coal and oil, a world coalition would make a hell of a showing! Of course they might capture Guam, Wake Island and even perhaps Hawaii and the Panama Canal. But what serious threat from any quarter can be foreseen on even the most distant horizon?
No. Devising plans for the "defense" of our country, maintaining an army to fulfill those plans and preaching a "defensive doctrine" resolves itself into military hogwash. Actually our armed forces have up to date plans for offensive warfare against almost every country on the globe -- all in the sacred name of "national defense." Should some affront be given to our national honor by Japan, say, there is a plan ready to be put in operation against the Japanese. Should the French run all the Americans out of Paris and say "Lafayette, we are here," a different plan would be pulled from its pigeon hole and we could proceed against the French. And the same for almost any nation you might care to name,