Editorial: Atrocious Argument

Those German atrocities ! The last raid on London gave opportunity for an almost unprecedented flood of feeling, mostly cant. It is not the agony of the parents who have lost little ones, the wives who have lost husbands, the husbands whose mates have been cruelly butchered, the mutilated remnants moaning in the hospitals, that finds expression in the horrified Press. No. They are horrified to order, and with a set purpose, and that purpose is not to deter the Ge­mans from making such raids, but simply to inflame popular feeling against the “enemy.”

Those who want the war, and shout for it, and shove other people into it, and exhibit so much aptitude for bloodshed in the smashing up of pacifist meetings as one would hardly expect to find outside the trenches or the House of Commons, try to blind themselves to the true facts of the case. War is a serious business—a much more serious business than one would imagine from a perusal of the report of the Mesopotamia muddle. People wilfully entering upon war, in order to take that calm view of it that is essential to its prosecution to the “last man and the last shilling,” should themselves be above military age, or at least sure of a staff job, well behind the firing line, and not too adjacent to the miseries of the trenches—and they mostly are. But having embarked on war; having consented to this most serious business in life, having adventured thousands, and perhaps millions, of human lives in the trial by brute strenght, it is folly to talk of putting any limit on the appeal to brute strength. Such talk is usually mere cant and humbug, and where it is not it arises from a boss-eyed sort of view of things.

Much has been made of the fact that women and children have been numbered among the victims of the German air raids. But it is no worse to kill a woman or a child than it is to kill a man, notwithstanding all the sloppy nonsense that has been written on the subject. As a matter of fact the mental torture of a man dying in consciousness is probably far greater than that of a child similarly placed, while as for women, the fact that they find themselves brought within the range of actual hostilities may help them to realise their responsibility for the war—and it is not a little.

A harsh judgment this may seem to be, but then every phase of war must be judged by harsh standards, and the only ones who have any grounds for complaint are those who are opposed to the conflict, or at all events are no consenting parties to it.

It is stated that the Germans can have no military object in these raids, but this is sheer rubbish. They may have several perfectly legitimate military objects. In the first place there is the popular clamour for protection. This, of course, cannot be ignored, but it admittedly can only be satisfied by weakening the striking forces on the British front. Those living a few miles out on the Eastern side of the metropolis may from their own observation gather some idea of the effectiveness of the raids in this particular.

It is also common knowledge that there are in and about London numerous munition works even the temporary disturbance of which, to say nothing of a lucky hit with a bomb or two, is a distinct advantage to the Germans, while it was openly stated in the Press a few days back that the wrecking of the War Office might be a bigger disaster to the Allied cause than the loss of an army corps. And finally, if only the Hun airmen could find the House of Commons with a fat bomb, dropped plump through one of the ventilators onto the table while Lloyd George stood there with his mouth open ! Ah, if only they could !

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