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February 17, 1912

The Army Canteen

JAMA. 1912;LVIII(7):505-506. doi:10.1001/jama.1912.04260020189028

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To the Editor:  —The opponents of Dr. Keen's canteen policy are, in my opinion, rather severe on him, and also fail to recognize his point. This, in a nutshell, is that we must choose the lesser of two evils. Like Dr. Keen, I am decidedly in favor of the lesser, the canteen. The British regular army numbers 260,000 men, or almost five times the number in the U. S. Army. The former maintains the canteen and drunkenness decreases yearly; the U. S. Army abolished the canteen, drunkenness has increased and barracks (take, for instance, those at Plattsburg, N. Y.) have become surrounded by saloons. In the British army with its canteen the cases of syphilis have decreased in number; in the U. S. Army they have gone up very high, and then down, but are still higher than in 1903. Do not these facts prove that the canteen was a

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