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skillful persons have to use the things that they know how to use.
But we do not have to do that. America is always going Co use her Army in two ways. She is going to use it for the purposes of peace, and she is going to use it as a nucleus for expansion into those things which she does believe in, namely, the preparation of her citizens to take care of themselves. There are two sides to the question of preparation; there is not merely the military side, there is the industrial side; and the ideal which I have in mind is this. We ought to have in this country a great system of industrial and vocational education under Federal guidance and with Federal aid, in which a very large percentage of the youth of this country will be given training in the skillful use and application of the principles of science in manufacture and business; and it will be perfectly feasible and highly desirable to add to that and combine with it such a training in the mechanism and care and use of arms, in the sanitation of camps, in the simpler forms of maneuver and organization, as will make these same men at one and the same time industrially efficient and immediately serviceable for national defense. The point about such a system will be that its emphasis will lie on the industrial and civil side of life, and that, like all the rest of America, the use of force will only be in the background and as the last resort. Men will think first of their families and their daily work, of their service in the economic ranks of the country, of their efficiency as artisans, and only last of all of their serviceability to the Nation as soldiers and men at arms. That is the ideal of America.
But, gentlemen, you can not create such a system overnight; you cannot create such a system rapidly. It has got to be built up, and I hope it will be built up, by slow and effective stages; and there is much to be done in the meantime. We must see to it that a sufficient body of citizens is given the kind of training which will make them efficient now if called into the field in case of necessity. It is discreditable to this country, gentlemen, for this is a country full of intelligent men, that we should have exhibited to the world the example we have sometimes exhibited to it, of stupid and brutal waste of force. Think of asking men who can be easily trained to come into the field, crude, ignorant, inexperienced, and merely furnishing the stuff for camp fever and the bullets of the enemy. The sanitary experience of our Army in the Spanish-American War was merely an indictment of America's indifference to the manifest lessons of experience in the matter of ordinary, careful preparation. We have got the men to waste, but God forbid that we should waste them. Men who go as efficient instruments of national honor into the field afford a very handsome spectacle indeed. Men who go in crude and ignorant boys only indict those in authority for stupidity and neglect. So it seems to me that it is our manifest duty to have a proper citizen reserve.
I am not forgetting our National Guard. I have had the privilege of being governor of one of our great States, and there I was brought into association with what I am glad to believe is one of the most efficient portions of the National Guard of the Nation. I learned to admire the men, to respect the officers, and to believe in the National Guard; and I believe that it is the duty of Congress to do very much more for the National Guard than it has ever done heretofore. I believe that that great arm of our national defense should be built up and encouraged to the utmost; but, you know, gentlemen, that under the Constitution of the United States the National Guard is under the direction of more than twoscore States; that it is not permitted to the National Government directly to have a voice in its development and organization; and that only upon occasion of actual invasion has the President of the United States the right to ask those men to leave their respective States. I, for my part, am afraid, though some gentlemen differ with me, that there is no way in which that force can be made a direct resource as a national reserve under national authority.
What we need is a body of men trained in association with units of the Army, and a body of men organized under the immediate direction of the national authority, a body of men subject to the immediate call to arms of the national authority, and yet men not put into the ranks of the Regular Army; men left to their tasks of civil life, men supplied with equipment and training, but not drawn away from the peaceful pursuits which have made America great and must keep her great. I am not a partisan of any one plan. I have had too much experience to think that it is right to so say that the plan that I propose is the only plan that will work, because I have a shrewd suspicion that there may be other plans that will work. What I am after, and what every American ought to insist upon, is a body of at least half a million trained citizens who will serve under conditions of danger as an immediately available national reserve. . . .
At Pittsburgh, Pa., January 29, 1916.
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am conscious of a sort of truancy in being absent from my duties in Washington, and yet it did seem to me to be clearly the obligation laid upon me by the office to which I have been chosen that, as your servant and representative, I should come and report to you upon the progress of public affairs. . . .
You know that there is a multitude of voices upon the question of national defense, and I, for my part, am not inclined to criticize any of the views that have been put forth upon this important subject, because if there is one thing we love more than another in the United States, it is that every man should have the privilege, unmolested and uncriticized, to utter the real convictions of his mind. . . .
What is it that we want to defend? You do not need to have me answer that question for you; it is your own thought. We want to defend the life of this Nation against any sort of interference. We want to maintain the equal right of this Nation as against the action of all other nations, and we wish to maintain the peace and unity of the Western Hemisphere. Those are great things to defend, and in their defense sometimes our thought must take a great sweep, even beyond our own borders. Do you never stop to reflect just what it is that America stands for? If she stands for one thing more than another, it is for the sovereignty of self-governing peoples, and her example, her assistance, her encouragement, has thrilled two continents in this Western World with all the fine impulses which have built up human liberty on both sides of the water. She stands, therefore, as an example of independence, as an example of free institutions, and as an example of disinterested international action in the maintenance of justice. These are very great things to defend, and wherever they are attacked America has at least the duty of example, has at least the duty of such action as it is possible for her with self-respect to take, in order that these things may not be neglected or thrust on one side. . . .
I am not going before audiences like this to go into the details of the programme which has been proposed to the Congress of the United States, because, after all, the details do not make any difference. I believe in one plan; others may think that an equally good plan can be substituted, and I hope my mind is open to be convinced that it can; but what I am convinced of and what we are all working for is that there should be provided, not a great militant force in this country, but a great reserve of adequate and available force which can be called on upon occasion. I have proposed that wc should be supplied with at least half a million men accustomed to handle arms and to live in camps; and that is a very small number as compared with the gigantic proportions of modern armies. Therefore, it seems to me that no man can speak of proposals like that as if they pointed in the direction of militarism. . . .
For I am proposing something more than what is temporary. It is my conception that as the Government of the United States has done a great deal, though even yet probably not enough, to promote agricultural education in this country, it ought to do a great deal to promote industrial education in this country, and that along with thoroughgoing industrial and vocational training it is perfectly feasible to instruct the youth of the land in the mechanism and use of arms, in the sanitation of camps, in the more rudimentary principles and practices of modern warfare, and so not to bring about occasions such as we have sometimes brought about, when upon a sudden danger youngsters were summoned by the proclamation of the President out of every community, who came crude and green and raw into the service of their country—infinitely willing but also wholly unfitted for the great physical task which was ahead of them. No nation should waste its youth like that. A nation like this should be ashamed to use an inefficient instrument when it can make its instrument efficient for everything that it needs to employ it for, and can do it along with the magnifying and ennobling and quickening of the tasks of peace.
But we have to create the schools and develop the schools to do these things, and we can not at present wait for this slow process. We must go at once to the task of training a very considerable body of men to the use of arms and the life of camps, and we can do so upon one condition, and one condition only. The test, ladies and gentlemen, of what we are proposing is not going to be the action of Congress; it is going to be the response of the country. It