Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/167

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161
THE PERIL OF STIFLING THE TRUTH

Day after day the Press Bureau, of course under official inspiration from higher sources, issues statements in which the good news is unduly emphasised and the bad unduly slurred over. Day by day a large section of the Press helps on, with every ingenious device of big type and sensational headlines, the official hoodwinking of the public. Many pay their nimble halfpennies to be gulled. A naval engagement in which our immensely superior forces crush the weaker squadron of the enemy is blazoned forth as a "magnificent victory" for our fighting men, when, in sober truth, the chief credit lies with the silent and utterly forgotten strategist behind the scenes, whose cool brain worked out the eternal problem of bringing adequate force to bear at exactly the right time and in just exactly the right place.

I say no word to depreciate the heroism of our gallant bluejackets. They would fight as coolly when they were going to inevitable death—Cradock's men did in the Good Hope and Monmouth—as if they were in such overwhelming superiority that the business of destroying the enemy was little more dangerous than tho ordinary battle-practice. My whole point is that by the skilful manipulation of facts a wholly false impression is conveyed. There is, in truth, nothing "magnificent" about beating a hopelessly inferior foe, and our sailors would be the last to claim to be heroes under such conditions. It is, of course, the business of our naval authorities to be ready whenever a German squadron shows itself, to hit at once with such crushing superiority of gunfire that there will be no need to hit again at the same object. That can only be achieved by sound strategy, for which we are entitled to claim and give the credit that is due. When our Navy has won a decisive success against great odds we