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The speech you heard on the radio last night may be the last major declaration of American policy in this war. Within the United States it narrows the field of democratic discussion, and weakens the position of our democratic machinery: the Congress, the meeting hall, yes, even the cracker barrel. Decisions are up to the President how: "Our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor" are pledged. Capital and labor are to submit to the President's boards; all must play their part, and no one must ever doubt in our ability to "win" in the end.
This speech is in intent a declaration of war, and no defensive war at that. If the American people were determined that the Azores, the Cape Verde Islands, Dakar, etc., are vital to the defense of our shores, the President would not have needed to stress the point so strongly. The fact is that at least a large minority of Americans do not agree, and will keep on saying so with all the force they command. They do not doubt our ability to survive; they have felt all along that aid to England is a sensible policy dictated by our own material interest, giving us time to arm for any eventuality. But they will never answer wholeheartedly the President's call to war all over the world, in the name of defense." They cannot help "doubting"--how can any reasonable man close his mind to that extent?--that such a war would be a danger to American democracy.
At the very start of his talk, the President appealed for a realistic approach for discussion of "military and naval fact." Later on in the speech he violated his own appeal. Britain and the United States, he said, can defeat the Axis Powers by keeping control of the seas. If this is true, why has the President formed a huge American Army? Actually, the road down which he beckons us leads to war in Europe, in Asia and in Africa, war fought by American men and materials, a stupid aggressive suicidal war of conquest. All through the developing crisis, this is the very eventuality that a great majority of Americans have feared. Even today, hardly a man dares support it frankly and openly.
Fortunately there are still groups in this country that can do something to hold back the President from his reckless policy. The White House is perpetually picketed by the American Peace Mobilization. This weekend the Keep America Out of War Congress will hold convention in Washington. These representatives of a vast section of the American people must not let themselves be intimidated; they must take the speech as an occasion to step up their efforts; the only thing they have to fear is fear itself.
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