"ALL IS NOT GOLD--"
Despite the discouraging attitude of Congress toward army affairs, the War Department advocates of "preparedness", managed during the month of August to start no less than 27,000 young citizens on the road of military training. The Citizens' Military Training Camps, worthy successors to Plattsburg of antebellum days, struggled for mere existence in their first season, 1921; this summer they were a tremendous success. The training was well planned, mistakes of the previous year were corrected, and the benefits accruing to the government and to the men taking the training were fully as great as even the most optimistic could reasonably expect from four weeks' work. These benefits have been enumerated often; improved physique, training in citizenship, preparation for national defence, and a host of others. Far less often is the public told of the lessons learned by the officers in charge of the training, not from any unwillingness on the part of the officers themselves however.
"Conditions at the C. M. T. C. camp at Devens," said one of the officers stationed there, "were very similar to those that would be faced by the Regular--Army and the 'Officers' Reserve Corps in time of war. The men taking training when they arrived at camp were of much the same calibre as those who would compose the drafts of untrained men in war-time. The Reserve officers on duty were the same men who would be expected to provide a large percentage of the leaders of an expanded army. Yet neither officers nor men showed at the end of a month's training that degree of military perfection that the average citizen might be led to expect of them, if he based his opinion entirely on the statements of enthusiasts in the War Department or upon newspaper reports."
This somewhat guarded remark of a thinking officer points out a condition, often overlooked by the editor of the local journal enthusiastic over the "native sons training at Camp X--". The C. M. T. C. training, valuable in itself, can only hope to develop men well versed in the fundamentals of elementary drill and physical development,--in a month nothing more is possible. Congressmen, who, having voted for a diminutive army, attempt to defend their action by pointing to the C. M. T. C. students as "our able defenders of the future," are not only deceiving their constituents, but themselves. In these days of wars and rumors of wars, such deception is, to put it mildly, foolish, for to develop a false trust in our military resources at such a time might well result disastrously.
Such statements apparently questioning the value of the C. M. T. C. may seem like blasphemy, in view of all that has been said and written about it during the past few months. Really it is to the benefit of the C. M. T. C. to be represented as nothing more or less than it really is. By all means, give the C. M. T. C. its due and proper place but by the same token, that place does not require it to serve as a screen to hide congressional improvidence in military matters.