The Charlotte News

Tuesday, August 13, 1940



Site Ed. Note: "Congress might vote to fight if Hawaii were attacked but not even that is certain."

"Bumble Plan" demonstrates the regular theme of Cash's frustration with the isolationists in Congress.

It is notable, however, how the world has changed in 64 years. Sixty-four years ago, with all of Europe, save England, under Hitler's uplifted arm, with the Battle of Britain about to start, with China and Indo-China slipping under the Imperialist Gordion knot yoked by Japan, and hence the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies appearing to be within ready striking distance, still President Roosevelt ran for re-election vowing not to send any American to war unless the United States were directly attacked.

No one believed that Japan had the capability or willingness to reach across the Pacific to Pearl Harbor. Cash in fact would write on December 22, 1940, "To attack Hawaii she has to cross 4,000 miles of water, nearly the cruising limit of a battleship." He suggested therefore dividing the Navy in half and sending half to the Mediterranean and Atlantic to fight alongside Britain, leaving only half of it in the Pacific, even abandoning the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines to the Japanese for the time being. Precisely one year prior to this day's date, before the War started, in an editorial entitled "Decision", Cash favored the laying down of a blockade around Japan to force it out of China. He believed that such an action would force Japan either to run the blockade or to attack Hawaii and, since in either case the Japanese fleet would be operating thousands of miles from home, defeat of their navy would be "certain, swift and sweet".

But, just as with Ho Chi Minh's counsel, issued to his guerilla revolutionary troops in the jungles of French Indochina resisting both the French and Japanese occupation by mid-1944, to attack by stealth and withdraw before the enemy has a chance to mount an offensive, so it would be with the Japanese navy and Zero squadrons on the morning of December 7, 1941. The subsequent battle to regain the Pacific would be long and bloody, taking three and a half years, and requiring, to finally end it, the use of the most dastardly weapon ever conceived by man.

By contrast, today, with a world largely at peace, we are being told by a Party and shills for that Party, bent on driving the nation to paranoid fantasies and war at every turn, that we must not succumb to having a commander-in-chief who favors being more "sensitive" to our long-standing allies for whom we fought another war to liberate, who might resort to a military with weaponry not superior to "spitballs". That latter bit, of course, we are told, amid wistly expressions for code duello, was only a metaphor.

We reply: A metaphor for what? Love-in-a-mist?

We find it interesting if not downright amusing to see this Party, whose members appear so often the first to deliver catcalls and suggest paranoia on the part of anyone who dares even to use the word "conspiracy" with regard to any form of human behavior, warp and cynically broaden a single act by nineteen madmen bent on their self-destruction as well as the destruction of as many as they could take with them, to such a giant conspiracy as the world has never known. This conspiracy is broadened to anyone of Islamic background who carries a video camera, who says anything the least bit critical of this country, indeed to anyone, whether Islamic or not, who says anything which even mildly questions the authority of the Leader of the Party.

We heard a delegate to this Party's recent national convention state in an aside that a well-known documentarian "would be convicted of treason in an earlier time for what he has said". We didn't know that. She hadn't seen the documentary of course. But she had heard about it. How dare he criticize our country, our military, and the current occupant of the White House. He has not the right to do that. No soldier or governmental official has told him he can do that. No! He is a part of the giant, international leftwing conspiracy to drag down and defeat the current occupant of the White House! How dare they, sirrah!

Attack! Attack! Wherever you find one. They are everywhere, everywhere!

We also heard it said from the podium of this same convention of the same Party of Trickle Down of whom we speak that it was the soldier, not the journalist, who insures freedom of the press, that it was the soldier, not the poet, who gives us freedom of speech, and that it was the soldier, not the agitator, who gives us the freedom to protest--and who gives the agitator the right to burn the flag.

But that is not really completely true, now is it?

After all, it was a writer named Tom Paine who agitated the colonists to action with his little tract, Common Sense, and, after the first shots were fired across Bunker Hill, Lexington Green and at Concord Bridge, his subsequent pamphlets under the banner, The American Crisis, which nourished the revolutionary ardor for the duration. Without his agitating in print, in fact, for which he neither sought nor received the authority of any soldier, it is quite unlikely there would have been any soldiers to fight a Revolution. And those "soldiers" were for the most part farmers and merchants fighting for their individual rights and that of their neighbors. Had it been left to a professional army at the time, it would not have gotten done. The entire army in fact, for the most part, were Protestors and Agitators, including General Washington himself.

And Mr. Paine never fired a single shot save with his quill. Not only did no one give him permission, no soldier, but he wrote and published as he did quite bravely, quite as bravely as did any soldier who subsequently fought in the Revolution. For he did so quite in spite of the Loyalist Redcoat soldiers and British Royal Governeurs who would have greeted with far greater pleasure the prospect of noosing a rope around his neck than granting him permission freely to publish his protestant and volatile rhetoric to the subjects of the King.

And Abra'm Lincoln said, not half in jest, that Harriet Beecher Stowe was the "little lady" who started the Civil War-- not with bullets, but with her pen. And Hinton Helper's book was used by the Republican Party in 1860 to advance the cause of abolition and insure Lincoln's election. South Carolina then seceded, followed one by one by each of the Southern states, until the firing on Sumter in April, 1861 by wild-eyed civilians in a pishogue cantrip over the perception of too much federal government, and the thing was afoot. No soldier had anything to do with Ms. Stowe's or Mr. Helper's writing which arguably gave prompt to its reactions. Horace Greeley, William Lloyd Garrison, (who burned not the flag but the Constitution itself), Walt Whitman, Matthew Brady, John Brown--two journalists, a poet, the first photojournalist, and an agitator who died for his cause. Without any one of them, would there have been the same resolve in the North to preserve the Union, to fight against the institution of slavery, especially as the War dragged on into its third and fourth years and the bodies of the soldiers, some of whom had left the occupation of journalist or lawyer or teacher or poet, lay rotting in heaps in the summer sun?

The Hearst newspapers in New York were largely behind the public sentiment which led to the Spanish-American War; the dramatic reporting in the press on the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915, for the entry of the United States into World War I two years hence; the equally dramatic reporting by the press on the Nazi-Fascist stomp through Europe in 1939 and 1940, which set the stage for our entry into the war when the precipitant event finally occurred.

Anyone who understands even a little of the story of Alan Seeger understands also that poets and their poetry have a great deal to do with the soldier's raison d'etre in battle, the bel esprit to the esprit de corps.

From Herodotus to Homer to Paine to Stowe to Murrow to the present, it is not really just the soldier who insures these freedoms. It is those who practice the freedoms and do so responsibly and with the art and muse of the pen in place, carried to high corridors, who protect them everyday, without firing a shot. And that is not to neglect to remember that many soldiers are poets or journalists--or protestors. And protestors do not obtain their permission to protest from the military. It is often the contrary, as it was one spring day in 1970 in Ohio.

Such blather as we heard from the Party recently therefore really does not say much to us. Whatever it is supposed to say, it suggests that we have no rights really except those which are handed to us by a soldier and that therefore a soldier may grant or deny those rights at will. Such was the case in Italy and Germany and Japan in the 1930's and early 1940's.

But, fortunately, it is not our lot. We insure our rights for ourselves, individually, whether a gun or a soldier or even a commander-in-chief is in our way, allowing our way or making our way. In that sense, each of us are soldiers, whether we have ever donned a uniform or not.

And whether that makes some Marine (who never actually fought in a war) mad or glad is of little consequence to us. It is as it is and always has been since 1776.

It is why our commander-in-chief, as least those who had any sense, wears civilian garb--always.

But we seem, upon reflection, to be exercised over little or nothing. For the speeches to which we refer seemed not at all to be, as they expressed, an endorsement for the current occupant of the White House, but rather surely for the candidate running who actually served his country as a soldier in combat to protect those rights which he himself has subsequently had the courage to exercise. And not always to his own advantage, but rather to the advantage of what is decent and moral and correct--just as the convention speeches seemed to be at times lauding as the attribute of the good. Not just what the applause lines on the monitor say to say to get a bunch of fools wearing band-aids emblazoned with purple hearts upon their feet in purple-hazed frenzy mockishly taunting the soldier--"Flip-flop, flip-flop"--the soldier vaunted from the podium in the abstract though he may be, but, when reduced to the mere essence of blood and bone and substance, torn stroppily to his corporeal shreds and shot through with shards of verbal shrapnel; surely not this, this quintessence of four-in-hand slipknot trip-trop. For such contrary views in juxtaposition appear to betray more than a bit of indecision.

As soon as the soldier becomes a political opponent to warfare, exercising any of the rights for which he fought to protect and which we are told in the abstract would not exist at all were it not for his fighting as a soldier, the soldier suddenly is branded by the Party as weak and indecisive, fit for ridicule and disgrace, nay, a traitor to be despised and feared for his weakness and indecision. Very strange.

And if we have not used sufficient metaphor already, here's another: Hissy Fit.

Once, a Georgia pamphlet called The Southern Watchman published a poet in Marse Robert's army who wrote in part:

To speak of shoes, it boots not here,
Our Q. M's wise and good;
Give cotton calf-skins twice a year,
With soles of cottonwood.

Shoeless we meet the well shod foe,
And bootless him despise;
Sockless we watch, with bleeding toe,
And him sockdologize!

Perchance our powder giveth out!
We fight them, then, with rocks;
With hungry craws we craw fish not-
But, Miss, we miss the socks

Then two years later a wild-eyed actor, recrudescent of Houston's Hyacinthus after the blood of the cottonwood in the mission walls, fired a pistol on the cue of the phrase "sockdologizing mantrap"--and the deed was afoot.

It is true that citizens of this country, soldiers and non-soldiers, have fought and died for those precious rights of press, of speech, of association, of freedom of religion, and of petition for redress of grievances. But most who were not insane when they fought for those rights wished those wars, big and small, to be the end of warfare, not prelude to more.

So it is with the citizen soldier who once fought bravely in Vietnam and who now runs for the presidency.

Sensitive flip-flopping girly men? Would it were that Adolf Hitler had been a bit more rational, a bit more contemplative, a bit more sensitive to the rights of citizens of other nations as well as to the citizens of his own, a bit more appreciative of the poetic, a bit more indecisive, a bit more of an "economic girly-man". Would it were that some fifty millions of people would have lived longer lives.

And is it not, shall we say, yet a bit more flip-flop by the Party when on the one hand, in 1998, it yells "wag dogger" when the last President went to war, and successfully so with U.N. cooperation and without the loss of a single U.S. life, but now appearing to want to fight wars all over the globe, wherever its New Century policy finds a regime, albeit only sufficiently weak ones, unpalatable, regardless of imminent threat to our interests.

Franklin Roosevelt, whose name, along with that of Harry Truman, this Party has strangely co-opted, was criticized regularly in the 1930's right through early December, 1941 for being a flip-flopper and indecisive. The overall results, however, of his twelve years in office flip-flopping all about weren't half bad.

And to answer the gentleman's question: Where is the spirit of bi-partisanship today? We can say with fair certainty that it lies somewhere in the trash along with the ballots never counted in the sunshine, in voting to impeach a president over private consensual conduct, in contending that a congressional minority of both houses block the appointment of qualified federal judges when the last time the Party making this claim faced a president of the opposing party it not only blocked a record number of judicial nominees but also shut down the entire Government, mocking the concept of three co-equal branches which our Constitution forms, in deliberately dividing the country while claiming to want to unite it--a strange unity of one Party, the rest not under its banner being Traitors.

Bi-partisanship, in short, lies somewhere in the stranglehold of creatures patrolling the quaking bogs, running like a dog, shot down in a fog, by men eager to stand and talk big, as long as someone else pays the price for the big talk. Cuckoo Crocs. Sock Flock.

...And dropping a barbell, he points to the sky, saying, "The sun's not yellow, it's chicken."

Weary Road

Pointing To Oil Truck Menace Is Vain Work

We are growing a little weary of the everlasting monotony of writing editorials about gas truck accidents and their menace to the safety of the property and the lives of the people generally. It does The News no good to harp on the theme, for the oil men are its customers and they are apt to take it as an assault on themselves.

Yesterday there was another one, near Dunn this time. A truck loaded with batteries sideswiped an oil truck. The latter ran off the highway, plunged into a culvert, turned over and burst into flames, burning the driver to death. But that was the fault of the battery truck?

Apparently not. The report is that the truck came up behind the gas truck which was then on the right side of the road, attempted to pass. As he did so, the old truck pulled over in the middle of the road.

But no matter whose fault it was, when the gasoline truck wrecks there is hell to pay.

Concerning the menace involved in having these giant flame-throwers speeding along the roads, we have spoken many times. We might recapitulate. But it seems useless. By this time the matter has been well-aired. And if the State still hasn't sense enough, regard enough for the safety of its citizens, to set up regulations which are more than a farce, then it is a mere waste of breath to keep on pounding on the theme.


Bumble Plan

Our Shanghai Policy Fails To Add Up to Logic

Mr. Sumner Welles announces, for the State Department, that the American Marines will be kept in Shanghai despite the withdrawal of British forces, and that the United States will not retreat from the standard it has already taken with regard to Japan. At the same time he announces that marine reinforcements will not be sent to take over the International Settlement positions abandoned by the British.

We have, of course, no inside knowledge such as the State Department is presumed to have and to act upon. But to a layman's eye the policy does not seem to add up to sense.

Are we prepared to risk war with Japan over the right to maintain troops in Shanghai? If so, then we certainly need replacements there--not to defend the place (it is not to be defended) but to emphasize our determination.

But in point of fact it is unimaginable that we are prepared to risk war over Shanghai. Indeed, in view of the prevailing temper of Congress, it is unimaginable that we are prepared to risk war over Shanghai even as a symbol of our will to maintain power in the Pacific. Congress might vote to fight if Hawaii were attacked but not even that is certain.

And since that is the case, we had better not attempt to bluff, for it will certainly be called. And to be forced out of Shanghai is going to react on our prestige far more painfully than if we got out before the Japs really turned on the heat.

Result is certain to be that the Japanese will grab the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines. But they are going to do that in any case unless the policy of the Congress is suddenly reversed, which does not seem likely. And the quicker we resign ourselves to the consequences inevitably involved in our course the better it is going to be


Magic Stone

These Ladies Believe Too Much in Their Amethysts

The ladies of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union are out to woo the topers away from their jugs by concocting ever more wonderfully complicated soft drinks and dressing them up with fancy names. They have established a special non-alcoholic fruit products department under the direction of Mrs. Blanche Pennington of Huntington, Pa. And Mrs. Pennington's latest contribution to the bait for devotees of the Demon Rum is called a currant flip.

Mrs. Pennington goes on to explain that it is what is called an amethyst drink, because the violet-colored stone of that name has as one of its definition (we quote her) "estimated as preventive of or antidote to drunkenness."

Which perhaps throws light on why the ladies have never got very far with their drive for temperance despite years of hard effort. They simply believe too much in magic.

They do not, we surmise, really subscribe to the old belief that if you could get a soak to carry an amethyst around with him, the stone would immediately and effectually quench his thirst and make him into a sober-sided citizen entirely ungiven to whoop-la.

But they plainly do believe wistfully that by dressing up sweet drinks which have long been available and which are anathema to the squeamish stomach of the drinker, they can persuade him right away from the bars.

And of course they go right on believing in an amethyst called Prohibition, hold stoutly that it will do away with alcoholism in the face of the overwhelming evidence that, when it was tried for many years, it simply made matters worse.


By His Works

Rieber Had It Coming, Regardless of Purpose

The resignation of Captain Torkild Rieber as chairman of the Texas Corporation, after a six-hour meeting of the board, will probably be denounced in appeasement quarters as "witch-hunting." For the end of his career, is as a direct result of what will be called "innocent relations" with Dr. Gerhard Westrick, the Nazi "business agent" now in this country for the purpose of drumming up Nazi sympathy in return for promises of business.

It may well be that Cap Rieber merely thought, as he says, that it was "good business" for the Texas Corporation for him to aid Westrick in securing an automobile license under false pretenses and under a false name, in violation of the law.

And it may be that he was honest enough in judging that Franco ought to win in Spain and that it was "good business" to furnish Franco the oil (on the cuff) which enabled him to win.

But that simply proves that he belongs to the "Business is Business" school which is now on its way to oblivion all over the earth. Chamberlain and Daladier and their backers thought it was "good business," too, when they sold out Czechoslovakia and the Skoda works which eventually helped kill hundreds of thousands of Frenchmen, which now helps to kill Englishmen.

There is no evidence that Rieber had any notion of betraying the United States and its ultimate interests. Merely he considered nothing but his own interests and those of his corporation. But the cold fact is that Westrick aims for the Nazification of this country. And that the United States is in peril today in good part because Franco won in Spain--with Rieber's oil.

Whatever his intention, the man no longer fits the times, and his dismissal was in order.


Gentle Loot

Nazis Find It Pays To Do It By Paper, Not Arms

One of the things the indiscreet Mr. Cudahy said in London was that the Nazi soldiers in Belgium are well-behaved.

A little light on that is furnished by a note on Nazi finance.

The individual German soldier, for instance, does no looting. The quaint Nazi system has made it unnecessary.

Under that system, people who have goods or services for sale in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, etc., are required to accept a special Nazi mark invented for the soldiers, at rates fixed by the Nazi authorities. In France the rate is 20 francs to the mark. At the rate is 20 francs to the mark. [latter sentence is obviously misprint]

Theoretically, the marks are redeemable at the Bank of France, but the bank cannot begin to meet the demands upon it. And the Nazis give no intimation as to how or if they mean to redeem the marks in Germany.

In short, it is a scheme for looting by currency instead of by arms.

Quite a wonderful improvement, you see. It gets rid of all the muss and bother of violence, carries everything off in an orderly fashion, sends American fat cat ambassadors to England and the United States to report that the Nazis are the nicest people.


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