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Jack Wilson

No More Alibis!
Bring the Boys Home Now!

(28 January 1946)

From Labor Action, Vol. X No. 4, 28 January 1946, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The political crisis that arose with the world-wide demonstrations of American soldiers continued this week, in spite of the alibis and explanations of the War Department on the demobilization slowdown.

Although the blunt threat of courts- martial to demonstrating soldiers had their effect – demonstrations ceased – the GIs advertised in large American newspapers, protesting the War Department’s orders canceling the promises that former chief of staff General Marshall had made last September.

With the automatic end of selective service in May threatening to cut the army’s supply of enlisted men, the army manifestly unpopular with the soldiers now in uniform, the Brass Hats are up against the problem of a large army for the purpose of American imperialism.

General Eisenhower argued that the demobilization slowdown was not a blackmail threat for compulsory military training. But few people took that seriously, because every thinking person knows that the War Department means to have a big army and that they’ll never get it by voluntary enlistment.

In addition, General Marshall’s promise that all men with two years’ service would be eligible for release by March 20 could not be satisfactorily explained away by General Eisenhower in his speech.

Thus, the New York Times pointed out what is perfectly obvious.

“... it is generally felt that the War Department had emerged from the situation – if it is not premature to use the word emerged – in not too good a light.”

Alibis Fail to Work

The popular dissatisfaction with the army’s demobilization slowdown is a kink in the administration’s imperialist policies. At the same time, it has exposed the real attitude of congressmen, “the friends of the GIs,’’ on this entire problem. Describing congressional reaction to General Eisenhower’s speech defending the slowdown, the N.Y. Times wrote: “Most congressmen were prepared to accept General Eisenhower’s explanation if the soldiers and the public turned the heat off.” They fervently hope that Eisenhower’s alibis would be accepted by the people.

The popular demand, “Bring the boys home now,” continues unabated. Letters to-editors, protests to congressmen, demonstrations by veterans in the states, have not ended. This is the answer to Congress’ hope.

The blunt fact is that the Brass Hats have alibied, and changed their public views and the demobilization schedules at every single turn of world events. Men with 85 points and over were not demobilized as promised after V-E day. It took mass pressure to get them out. After V-J day, the army was forced by soldier and public opinion to expand separation centers – a bottle-neck created by the Brass Hats who knew their public plan for demobilization could not be carried out with the handful of separation centers existing.

Opportunities for Labor

The attempt to put the stamp of militarism on American life has received a serious rebuff by the soldiers’ violent denunciation of the demobilization slowdown.

Other indications of the growing opposition to the Brass Hats was the blow dealt to the Army’s record in Italy in the demand of the veterans of the Rapido river crossing to obtain a full investigation of the terrible losses that occurred there. Such a demand by the widely-heralded 34th Infantry division is a damaging one to the prestige the Brass Hats carefully tried to built up in the war, partly by their suppression of the full facts of the battles.

The War Department’s public admission this week that the GI demonstrations were of a mass character, and not the work of a “handful of reds,” answered the Hearst press, and proved again what most of the American people believe: the GIs as a whole are bitter against the army and its policies.

These developments give further opportunity for the labor movement, especially the CIO which has taken up the cause of the GIs, to press its fight against conscription, against the Brass Hats’ plans, and in general the interest of uniting the ex-soldier, the veteran, with the labor movement.

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