Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/82

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all the so-called "histories" of the war published have been utter failures. Personally, I do not think the nation is greatly perturbed, at the present moment, about the conduct of the actual military operations. No one is a politician to-day, and there is every desire, happily, to support the Government in any measure necessary to bring the war to a conclusion. We have not the materials, even if it were desirable, to criticise the conduct or write the history of the war, and we have no wish to do so. But we desire to learn, and we have the right to learn, the facts.

It has always been an unhappy characteristic of the military mind that it has been quite unable, perhaps unwilling, to appreciate the mentality of the mere civilian who only has to pay the bill, and look as pleasant as possible under the ordeal. And I suspect, very strongly, that it is just this feeling which lies at the root of a good deal of what we have had to endure under the censorship. In its essence, the censorship is a military precaution, perfectly proper and praiseworthy, but only if applied according to the real needs of the situation. Quite properly the military mind is impatient of the intrusion of the civilian in purely military affairs, and I have no doubt whatever that that fact explains the gratifying presence—in defiance of our long usage and to the annoyance of a certain type of politician—of Lord Kitchener at the War Office to-day. But military domination of the war situation, however admirable from the military point of view, has failed to take into sufficient account the purely civilian interest in the progress of the war and the extent to which the military arm must rely upon the civilian in carrying the war to a successful conclusion.