Sunday, January 16, 2005

My smoking book (the one I read when I go out on the balcony for a cigarette) at the moment is "War -- What for?" (1910, 1912) by George R. Kirkpatrick (an American socialist). It's a really neat old book for all sorts of reasons.

The current chapter is about the economics of war and preparation for war, and while the numbers he tosses out are clearly out of date (if anything it has gotten much worse), there are interesting tidbits. One example is the following little poem, apparently written by P.F. McCarthy and originally published in the New York World:

Whether your shell hits the target or not,
Your cost is six hundred dollars a shot.
You thing of noise and flame and power,
We feed you a hundred barrels of flour
Each time you roar. Your flame is red
With twenty thousand loaves of bread.
Silence! A million hungry men
Seek bread to fill their mouths again.

Particularly poignant in the current world situation, I reckon.


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