Saturday, August 03, 2013

"they, or some of them, are going to make war on the hundred million people of the United States...."

   WHY have we not heard of the speech that follows before? Many of us are familiar with Major General Smedley D. Butler's "War Is a Racket" speech. As well as that of Five-Star General and then President Dwight D. Eisenhower's warning to us of the "military-industrial complex". But this speech was a few DECADES before either of the aforementioned.

   It would be good for all American patriots to read the following. And that by so doing, gain knowledge of just WHO has been controlling our nation for at least the last 115 years....
The Threatening Danger of a Military Autocracy

Opposition to the Organized Military Cabal to Bankrupt the National Treasury Are the People, the Brave Patient People, Clamoring for a $500,000,000 Bond Issue in a Time of Peace with all the World?

   Speech of General Isaac R. Sherwood, October 22, 1915, before the Kenilworth Club, Toledo.

   All the news coming to us from Washington indicates that we are now in the midst of an era of "Military Hysteria." We have had several eras of this kind lately, all resulting in lowering our ethical standards of government and all costly and reprehensible. We had oho in the Winter of 1907-1908, when under the leadership of jingoes of the Hobson type, we added several additional millions to our naval and army budgets, on the theory that Japan was about to attack us on the Pacific slope. In fact, I heard Hobson, then congressman from Alabama, say on the floor of congress that he had secret or confidential information that Japan was contemplating war against the United States. Of course, the armor plate trust and the powder trust and the steel trust and their allies, through the big newspapers they own and the leading magazines they control, worked up a powerful sentiment in congress and the country for a bigger navy and a more formidable army to resist the imaginary warlike attitude of Japan. In fact we had for that session of congress an acute case of military hysterics, and we wasted some seventy millions of our hard earned tax money for an increased army and navy. All wasted money and wasted energy, as we all know now.

   Then in 1912, we had a very aggravating attack of political hysterics, largely fomented and led by Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, who made the campaign for the presidency on a more radical socialist platform than Eugene Debs. He not only advocated the recall of judges, but also the recall of judicial decisions by the roosters in town election. This spasmodic system of hysteria enabled Roosevelt to carry 88 electoral votes that year, while Taft had only eight. Today there is not citizen of sanity and sense of ordinary patriotic inspiration, who would not prefer in the present awful European crisis, Taft tor president rather than Roosevelt.

   Today in the midst of this terrible war in Europe, every patriotic man and woman in the United States realizes that had Roosevelt been elected president in 1912, we would today be involved in this most brutal and barbarous of all wars.


   Again in 1898, we had the most costly fit of military hysteria since this republic was born. I refer to our war against Spain. It is now known to every intelligent student of American diplomacy that Cuba would have been freed without war or without shedding one drop of American blood. The correspondence in the state department at Washington shows that Spain had agreed through Prime Minister Sagasta to withdraw the army of Spain from the island of Cuba, before congress declared war against Spain. Not only does this official correspondence prove this, but ex-Senator and ex-Cabinet Minister John Sherman, then secretary of state, so stated in a public address at Mansfield, Ohio. That spasm of military hysterics has already cost us the lives of over 16,000 stalwart young soldiers, with a pension list to date aggregating over forty millions of dollars and over one thousand millions all told worse than wasted in the far away Philippine Islands. And the end is not yet.

   There is not a prominent public man today of either of the three parties, who does not know that the acquisition of the Philippine Islands was the greatest diplomatic blunder in our whole 130 years of national life, and yet that violent attack of hysterics which precipitated the war with Spain was largely caused by one too many of our many useless battleships. Had not the battleship ""Maine" entered the harbor of Havana, there would have been no war. It was the wild excitement created throughout the country by the blowing up of the "Maine" with its precious freight of human lives that raised the war spirit to such a ferocity that President McKinley was overwhelmed.

   General Fitzhugh Lee of Virginia, an able diplomat, then United States consul at Havana, notified the secretary of war not to send any battleship to Havana during the excited condition of affairs on the Island of Cuba. Hence, I give it as a historical fact that the one battleship too many '"Maine" was responsible for our war with Spain, aided, of course, and promoted by that cruel propaganda of the Army and Navy league and, the jingoes in congress.


   One of our leading citizens of Toledo has recently received instructions from Pine street, New York, emanating, of course, from that gigantic organization of trusts that seek to dominate the legislation of congress, to organize the city of Toledo for that tremendous expenditure of our resources for a big army and navy, under the humbug pretense of national defense.

   "There are millions in it," if it can be fully exploited, for that powerful array known as the Army and Navy league, backed by the armor plate trust, the powder trust, the steel trust, and allied trusts. Their combined profits during the past ten years, all off the taxpayers of the United States for material furnished the government, are estimated at not less than one hundred millions of dollars; (scan these figures, $100,000,000).

   As I have already stated, there are millions in this military propaganda for the big interests. Since 1887 we have purchased 217,379 tons of armor plate, at an average of $440 per ton. The price above what they sold armor plate to Russia was $190 per ton.
A price over reasonable profit of $41,301,319.

   In the meantime we have been paying the powder trust as high as a dollar a pound, while we are now manufacturing powder in the government-owned plant at 36 cents per pound. It is estimated that the armor plate trust and the powder trust and the steel trust have realized over $l00,000,000 on our military establishment during the past ten years.


   This dominating military cabal is claiming we have no coast defenses, in face of the fact that that we have expended during the past ten years $75,738,254 on coast defenses.  I give the official figures. But this is only one illustration of the continental lies now being exploited, as we have spent some SEVENTY-FIVE AND THREE QUARTER MILLIONS on big guns for coast defense during the past ten years. Who's afraid?

   And now the contention of this powerful and dominating cabal is that some nation or power, not named, after the close of this barbarous European war, is going to cross three thousand miles of ocean and attack the United States. Mind you, after this war is settled, and every nation is bankrupt and utterly exhausted in men and war material, they, or some of them, are going to make war on the hundred million people of the United States. Was there ever such an utterly idiotic proposition before exploited, since civilized man was evolved from the prehistoric cave man? And yet we are now in an acute stage of military hysterics, over the recently invented slogan, "Military Preparedness." And we are told now, after building the second biggest navy in the world and with some 218,000 soldiers, including the national guard, all equipped and ready for any kind of war, that we are utterly unprepared.

   And Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, ex-president of the United States, an explorer, an orator, a historian, a politician, a rough rider, a slayer of mountain lions and African tigers and turtle doves, is going up and down the country, saying we are utterly unprepared for war. Let us see. This is the same Theodore Roosevelt who, as President of the United States, when are navy was only two-thirds as strong as is today, and we had ten thousand less sailors and "middies" on our battleships, sent our navy around the world, and exhibited it in all the ports on the south and west Pacific; sent it over to Japan and the Orient, in order to convince the empires of South America and Asia that we had an invincible navy, ready to fight at the drop of the hat, anybody and everybody.

   Now, this same Roosevelt, who exploited our navy at an expense to the taxpayers of the United States, including repairs for that memorable trip, of almost one hundred millions of dollars, now says we are utterly unprepared for war. We are now at peace with all the world, with no threatening dangers anywhere, and still we am asked to spend five hundred millions of our hard earned tax money, to add five hundred millions to our bonded debt, or to add five hundred millions to the taxation of our people, in defense against an impossible war, that not one of the whole array is able to state or to name the enemy we are to fight. Privately they are saying it is the Kaiser. They think that the Kaiser after annihilating the armies of England, France, Russia, Servia, and Belgium, and killing more than one-half of the men of his own country able to bear arms, and exhausting all the resources of his empire, is going to cross the Atlantic ocean, three thousand miles, and attack the people on this side, with whom he has no quarrel and never had any. In my judgment this is the most idiotic proposition that was ever presented to the American people, by anyone outside of a lunatic or idiotic asylum.


   Quite recently also we consigned to the retired list another of our great battleships, the North Dakota, which cost us over twelve millions, and up to the time it was sent to the junk heap had cost the taxpayers of the country $28,000,000. These twenty-eight millions
would have been enough to build fourteen hundred churches at $20,000 apiece. It would buy seven thousand farms at $4,000 each. It would provide a college education for 56,000 young men at $500 per year. It would have given 280,000 worthy workers who produce all the wealth of this country, OLD AGE PENSIONS at $100 a year. And yet when I talked about old age pensions for deserving toilers on the floor of congress, it was remarkable what an array of political economists was developed. "O, you are wild on pensions," they said. "You will bankrupt the treasury." But when a proposition was up in congress to retire the officers of the regular army who had been educated at West Point at the government's expense of $4,000 a year, who had lived on the fat of the land, and never had occasion to serve at the front for fifty years, and who at the age of 64 were to be retired on half pay for life, the legislation went through with a whirl, to retire them not only on half pay, but with three-fourths pay above the grade at which they were retired. That is a colonel would be
retired at 64 at three-fourths the pay of a brigadier general. This gives our people an idea of the influence, the Army and Navy league have had on the congress of the United States.


   There appears to be an impression that my attitude on the question of war is a new idea. I have held the ideas that I hold today for over half a century. On Sunday, May 12, 1912, I was called upon to deliver a memorial address on General George W. Gordon of Tennessee, a Confederate soldier, who was wounded and captured at the terrible battle of Franklin, and who at the time of his death was a member of congress.

   The battle of Franklin closed at midnight with the greatest destruction of human life in proportion to the number engaged of any battle ever fought on the American continent. I quote from my address on the above occasion, as printed in the Congressional Record:

   "Outside the breastworks in a wider and a thicker line lay the Confederate dead, it was midnight and still the dun smoke of battle almost hid tho stars. I stood upon the parapet in the center of that battle line and saw all that could be seen. It was a spectacle to appall the
stoutest heart. The wounded, shivering in the chilled November air; the heart-rending cries of the desperately wounded, and the prayers of the dying, filled me with an anguish that no language can express. FROM THAT HOUR TO THIS I HAVE HATED WAR."


   It is a historical fact, I believe, that up to the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt that all political parties in this country have been opposed to a big army and top-heavy navy. The father of democracy in the United States, Thomas Jefferson, wrote in a letter to Elbridge Gerry In 1799, these sterling words of wisdom and patriotism:
   "I am for relying for internal defense on our militia solely till actual invasion, and for such a naval force as will protect our coast harbors from depredations, and not for a standing army in time of peace which may overcome the public sentiment; nor a navy which by its own expenses and the EXTERNAL WARS in which it may implicate us will grind us with public burdens and sink us under them."

   Let us not forget that General Grant, the greatest soldier of the modern world, reduced our regular army to 25,000 men, and it was sufficient. There was a powerful and aggressive element in the north after Appomatox, clamoring for a war with England. There was a continental clamor for our veteran army to invade and capture Canada. During the war, Confederate cruisers, built in English shipyards and armed in English arsenals, had driven American commerce from the seas and oceans of the world. Had a Napoleon or a Frederick or a Roosevelt been in command at the close of hostilities we would have been plunged into a war with England. Morley said, in his Life of Gladstone:
   "The treaty of Washington and the Geneva arbitration stood out as the most notable victory in the nineteenth century of the noble art of preventive diplomacy, and the most signal exhibition of self-command In two of the three great powers of the western world."

   At Appomatox Grant stood on fame's topmost pinnacle; the foremost man of all the world, but in the treaty of Washington he was greater than at Appomatox.

   After Grant had served eight years as president, he made a trip around the world. When In Paris, he was invited to visit the gilded tomb of Napoleon. He declined, saying he would visit the tomb of no general who had won his fame in wars of conquest. When Roosevelt visited Paris he called on the head of the French army to accompany him to the tomb of Napoleon. He stood there in the presence of that gilded mausoleum with uncovered head, paying the tribute of a bogus American to the man who murdered a million men in useless wars.


   Edward A. Steiner, who filled the chair of Applied Christianity in Grinnell college Iowa, an author and student of political economy says:
   "The kinship of humanity can do more for peace and good will than all the armies and navies of the world" Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore says:
   "God grant that the day is not far off when the Prince of Peace, God, will reign over the cabinets of the nations, over the kings, presidents, and settle disputes not with standing armies, but by the international board of arbitration; not by the sword, but by the pen, for the pen is mightier than the sword."

   The greatest scholars and sociologists of the world today are men of peace. It is true today as when that great Englishman, Thomas Carlyle uttered it 85 years ago: "A standing army means waste, depression, and moral decay. No nation can improve its morals or grow in strength when its bravest and best sons are year by year devoured in the army.

   This is tho stand taken by the sanest statesmen and the ripest scholarship of the age and is the only position which will keep this country in the track of empire fixed by the great spirits who framed the constitution and sent the young republic on its career.

   The time to end the barbarism of war is to scotch the reptile in the head when we have a chance. We must not forget that for generations the habits of fight are in our blood. Not a thousand years ago our ancestors were raiding the Christian monasteries of England, continuing their deadly marches with the bodies of new-born infants carried on their spears and the entrails of the mothers strung around their necks as trophies.

   I quote an extract from the great Rabbi Charles Fleischer, in his reply to President Elliot of Harvard, in which he makes the president look intellectually diminutive:
   "The Harvard sage errs in saying that there is no reason why the Jews should not make good fighters. There happens to be the best reason. The Jew has got out of the habit of fighting. He has lost the primitive man's desire to kill, because he has been so long civilized. You can not brutalize him again. I am happy to feel that, in the main, that Elliot's appeal to the Jews must be in vain, "because, by long tradition, culminating in native instinct, your average Jew believes that Israel's mission is peace."

   In conclusion, I am not for peace at any price. I am for peace until an emergency arises, or when the nation is threatened by a foreign foe. When that occurs, I will offer my services to the country, and vote for as many men and as many millions as the President may ask. But I am not willing to waste the product of labor and more millions of the tax money of the people for a propaganda of militarism, to fasten more parasites on the body politic, when there is no occasion for it whatever.

   In 1908, when the republicans were in control of congress, Congressman Tawney of Minnesota, chairman of the committee on appropriations, said:

   "The government is spending for military appropriations and for past wars, 68 per cent of the total revenues, exclusive of the postal revenue. For the same period, England spent 42 per cent, France 32 per cent, and Germany 42 per cent."

   So we were spending 26 per cent more on militarism than the German empire.


   If there was ever a time in the history of the country when this militarism which is now so rampant, should be scotched, that time is now. It should be the effort of every patriotic man and woman to do everything possible to restore this Republic to the simplicity of a democratic government, of the people, for the people, and by the people.

   There is no morality, no ethics, no economy in steel cannon and murderous shrapnel. This wicked military project to waste five hundred millions of the people's tax money reminds me of a sentiment of President James A. Garfield, given at a reunion of the Army of Cumberland, ten years after our great Civil war:

   "Ideas are the great warriors of the world, and a war that has no ideas behind it is simply a brutality."

   In a speech made on the floor of congress March 26th, 1910, in reply to the jingo Hobson, I said:

   "Not a single dreadnaught, not another battleship, is the universal voice of every peace-loving, war-hating patriot who loves law and order and justice. No battleship with its cruel messengers of death ever advanced any good cause, any humane mission, on any sea or on any shore around the world. Peace is constructive, war is destructive. Peace is love, war is hate. Peace is quiet and repose, war is hell and uproar. Our mission is to make plain the paths of peace, and not equip more dogs of war to rend them."

   In conclusion let me turn from Woodrow Wilson, sane and sober, and not the Woodrow Wilson of today, overwhelmed by the military cabal:

   I quote from President Wilson, one year ago:
   "We never have had and while we retain our present principles, we never shall have, a large standing army. If asked are we ready to defend ourselves, we reply most assuredly, to the utmost, and we shall never turn America into a military camp."


[The Commoner, Lincoln, Nebraska, November 01, 1915. Vol. 15, No. 11, Whole Number 679 Pgs. 8,9 & 16]
* - Isaac Ruth Sherwood, Aug. 13, 1835 – Oct. 15, 1925, was an American politician, military officer, and newspaper editor from Toledo, Ohio. He had been an officer in the Union army during the Civil War, reaching the rank of  brevet brigadier general. He served nine terms in the United States Congress, and was a noted pacifist during World War I. Sherwood served for seven straight terms in Congress until he failed to win reelection. When World War I began, he refused to support the United States declaration of war and refused to vote in favor of the draft. He believed that the United States should not get involved in a European war. 

   Now that was interesting, yes? About the only issue that I would have with Mr. Sherwood. Is his use of the word "democratic government". For the United States is NOT a "democracy". 'Democracy' being nothing more than being ruled by the tyranny of the majority. NO. We are a Constitutional Republic with democratically elected representatives. And those representatives are bound by the Constitution as to what they can and cannot do.

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