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Jack Wilson

GIs’ Return Used
as Pawn for Big Army

(4 February 1946)

From Labor Action, Vol. X No. 5, 4 February 1946, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

A serious indictment of the War Department’s demobilization slowdown was contained in, a report of a special Senate sub-committee appointed specifically to investigate the soldiers’ charges against the brass hats.

Even accepting the War Department’s claim that it needs 1,500,000 men in July – and, from our point of view, we do not – the Senate committee declared bluntly that this simply proves there is no need for hoarding 2,000,000 other men in the Army now by means of the demobilization slowdown.

Why They Want a Big Army

The Senate committee insists that the Army let these men out immediately. The committee stated bluntly there was no justifiable reason for the demobilization slowdown.

The question then arises, if 2,000,000 officers and men are “surplus,” even according to the testimony of the brass hats, why are they being kept in the Army?

Here we come to the crux of the whole demobilization issue.

The War Department wants a big Army to carry out the foreign policies of the Truman Administration. These policies are imperialist. They are rule by force, domination of a victorious imperialist power over millions of people. The army of 1,500,000 the War Department wants on July 1 is the instrument for carrying out these foreign policies. Since we are against imperialism, we are against the use of American troops abroad. We demand that all of them be returned and released!

The demobilization slowdown enters into this because it is a pressure move of the brass hats against the American people, both in order to maintain an army of at least 1,500,000 in July, and also as part of a clever campaign to force peacetime conscription on the American people.

Against Peacetime Conscription!

When Secretary of War Patterson this week declared that the army would keep its promise of releasing all but 1,500,000 men by July he was trying to accomplish two things: He said this promise would be kept if 400,000 replacements were found! This obviously is intended to create another “manpower crisis” in May when selective service expires. The second purpose of Patterson and the brass hats is to have the American people so preoccupied by the “manpower crisis” that no one will ask the question, why 1,500,000 men?

The “manpower crisis” is intended to be another big barrage for compulsory military training. Just as the brass hats sought to utilize the GI demonstrations for presenting the same argument: “You want the boys back? Give us replacements.” And meanwhile they present suggestions for compulsory military training.

Each move of the brass hats exposes another aspect of their long-range campaign for compulsory military training. The reason for this maneuvering is clear. The American people in overwhelming strength and numbers are against conscription! They may be confused and groping when it comes to understanding the implications of the Truman foreign policies, but one thing is certain. They don’t want large armies, and militarism, and a Third World War!

Certainly there is very little evidence to demonstrate that any of the brass hat maneuvers have gained ground for them. The blast by the Senate sub-committee is the latest illustration of the unpopularity of the brass hat views!

The fact that in May a major test of atomic power is going to take place likewise presents further difficulties for the brass hats in their efforts to bring militarism to American life. For the technological advances in warfare raise the whole question of armies, and navies, and other institutions. And they will evoke a further anti-war feeling in view of the deadly effects such a demonstration will reveal.

These developments signify that the difficulties for the introduction of peacetime, conscription and the growth of militarism in America are bound to increase rather than diminish in the next period.

The fight against conscription can bring fruitful results provided the pressure for bringing the GI’s back home now intensifies and the labor movement also increases its expressed opposition to conscription. This struggle is an important part of the work of the Workers Party!

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