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"The Spanish war has finished us reformers. The blare of the bugle drowns the voice of the reformer. Who gets the benefit of the war? The bond seekers, the capitalists, the railroads. National bankers will profit by this war. The new bonds give them the basis for new banks, and their power is prolonged. The privileged classes all profit by this war. It takes the attention of the people off economic issues and perpetuates the unjust economic system they have put upon us. Politicians profit by the war. It buries issues they dare not meet.
"What do the people get out of this war? The fighting and the taxes. What is the United States doing in this war with Spain in the first place? True, Spain is oppressing Cuba, but so is England oppressing Ireland, Egypt and India. [This is 1898.] France is oppressing Siam and Madagascar, Turkey is oppressing Armenia. Should we then take up arms against the oppressors of the world? We would more likely end up by becoming oppressors ourselves.
"The Spaniards and Cubans were bushwhacking one another and killing from three to five men at a battle. We have gone down there and killed more people in three months than they would have killed in 13 years. If they were starving before, who feeds them now? What are we going to get out of this war as a nation? Endless trouble, complications and expenses. Republics can't go into the conquering business and remain republics. Militarism leads to military domination, military despotism. Imperialism smoothes the way for the emperor."