"Secretary of State Hull has said we are not neutral, so why not be belligerent? What are we afraid of?" Admiral Yates Stirling, Jr., asked Thursday in an interview with a reporter from The Daily Illini.
What are we afraid of, Admiral Stirling?
Well, frankly, plenty!
But let's get it straight at the outset that we're not afraid to die. Youngsters our age aren't, you know. We haven't lived long enough to be afraid of death for ourselves or to fear for the consequences of our death on others.
Most of us don't know enough about death to be afraid of it yet. If we did, we'd probably want to have everyone lynched who's trying to promote a slug in the belly for us. Like the men who really know something about death. The men who saw death at close range in the 1914-1918 murdering match.
Not that we don't think you're sincere in advocating what you think is best for the country, but we think life would be rather rotten for a long, long time if this country got into war.
Admiral, we think that the real danger to America lies no more in the chance of invasion than in the possibility that men who think like you do should have the determining of her destiny.
Individuals and individual rights will be sacrificed to the efficiency of the mass units with which modern wars are fought. It will set our civilization back a lot, Admiral.
We're so sure that peace is the best thing for America that we're willing to pay a pretty high price for it. We're willing to arm Great Britain so that the English can keep the war in Europe and Africa where it belongs. We're willing to pay defense taxes on practically everything we buy. We're willing to accept conscription and learn to fight, in case we do get into a jam.
We're willing to do just about anything short of war, Admiral, because we think that only in the preservation of peace is there a chance for the preservation of the ideals and values that make America worth living for. --From an editorial in The Daily Illini.