The Charlotte News

Friday, January 15, 1943

FOUR EDITORIALS

Site Ed. Note: The front page carries the grim story of South Carolina's first execution by electrocution of a woman, Sue Logue, an upstanding school teacher of Edgefield, convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, along with her brother-in-law and the man they had hired to kill a neighbor.

The case resulted from a Logue calf having been kicked to death by a mule belonging to the neighbor. An argument ensued over the dead calf and the neighbor, Mr. Timmerman, killed Mrs. Logue's husband. Mr. Timmerman, however, was acquitted on the ground of self-defense.

Mrs. Logue and her brother-in-law then hired a local plasterer to retaliate against Mr. Timmerman and the plasterer then killed him.

When the sheriff, Mrs. Logue's cousin, and his deputy showed up to arrest the Logues, the sheriff and his deputy were killed in a gun battle, along with a sharecropper caught in the crossfire.

Edgefield was the hometown of then Judge Strom Thurmond. Rumors had it that the judge had an affair with the school teacher. He had apparently showed up after the killing of the sheriff and his deputy to try to talk the Logues out of the house. Mr. Thurmond's former driver also claimed subsequently that Mr. Thurmond, by this point in 1943 a captain in the Army Reserve, accompanied Mrs. Logue to the death house, kissing and hugging her in the backseat, as they said their fond farewells.

We don't like this latter sort of salacious matter based on hearsay, as it is, more often than not, simply made up nonsense. But in the case of Strom Thurmond, as time wounds all heels, and since he acknowledged some youthful indiscretions before his death, we make exception, Clark Kent's generally sound advice against spreading rumors notwithstanding. But whether it has any truth to it, we don't know--and, candidly, don't care in this instance. In his case, we make no pretense of objectivity, as he, himself, had none, which was publicly evident anyway, in his long racist career.

Whatever the case of kisses and hugs on the way to the death house, Mrs. Logue and her brother-in-law died ignominiously and pitifully. Had it not been for the shootout with the sheriff and deputy, in all likelihood they would have been convicted only of voluntary manslaughter for the hired killing of the man who had killed Mr. Logue, even if, strictly speaking, such a delayed and calculated crime does not fit the classic "heat of passion" killing necessary for voluntary manslaughter. South Carolina juries, however, have historically never shown any timorous streak in sometimes participating in jury nullification. And, no doubt, Mr. Thurmond might have been able to spare the Logues the electric chair had it not been for the killing of law enforcement officers during the attempted arrest.

In any event, the calf led the humans to the slaughter pen, and its death at the foot of the Timmerman mule was amply avenged by some people who scarcely demonstrated a lick of sense.

And there was not one single Negro involved, save, perhaps, the sharecropper who got caught in the crossfire.

Moral: You can take po' white trash out of the country, but the trash remains, even come to town, on the edge of the fields.

The Midland Park customer of the former dairyman of Paterson, New Jersey demonstrated the better spirit. In Paterson, that's just the way things go, if you were white, that is.

Lend-Lease legislation, passed originally in March, 1941 and set to expire at the end of the fiscal year, appeared headed for certain extension by the new Congress, with little, if any, opposition.

Because of opposition from rural dwellers, prohibited in any event by gas rationing from venturing to the city for pleasure, the discussed possibility of soon relaxing the ban on pleasure driving for the eastern seaboard, once the winter heat worries passed, had a collision with the farm bloc.

The Navy decided that WAVE's were women first and soldiers second, and thus ordinary military protocol could be relaxed for their sake. To clear up confusion, they were to address senior officers by the salutatory "Miss" or "Mrs." if addressing the senior by name, and not "Sir". If, however, addressing the senior by rank only, the statement of the rank was preferred.

We assume, however, that if the senior was male, addressing General Patton, for instance, as he passed some WAVE's on his way to Tunisia, by nervously saying, "Good morning, Miss Patton", might have been ill-advised, even for a WAVE.

Meanwhile, in Burma, in North Africa, in the Mediterranean, on New Guinea, in Russia--where the celerity of the three-day counter-offensive, through slosh of snow and rain in the mid-Caucasus, to recapture an area it took the Nazis three months to subdue, had caused problems with supply lines keeping pace, and where the 22 German divisions still camped to the west of Stalingrad, some from Rumania, some from Hungary, were ordered by the Fuehrer to fight to the death for Die Vaterland and Die Führer, as transport planes, effecting the only means of supply left available to them for the rail lines having been severed by the Russians at key points, evacuated officers on their return passage--the war continued and men continued to die in it.

The bullet-pocked Japanese motorcycle, shown in the photograph, after it was ditched near Buna as the Japanese soldiers beat a hasty escape, was not one left behind by Steve McQueen.

On the editorial page, Dorothy Thompson perspicaciously predicts that the world to come might not be so pat as the President had optimistically suggested in his State of the Union address, with the four principal Allies, the United States, Great Britain, Russia, and China, foreseen as predominantly overseeing and enforcing world peace after the war. She draws her caveat to the theory from the history of World War I, that two of the principal Allies, Japan and Italy, had combined with the principal nation defeated, Germany, to create World War II. Thus, she cautions that the same contingencies causing this result may repeat, that the predominating tendencies to border tensions and seeking of balance of power among nations naturally suspicious of one another, Russia of China, for instance, China of Russia, Great Britain of Russia, Russia of Great Britain, could serve to destabilize the post-war world among presently friendly allies bound together only by the baling wire of mutual self-interest for the nonce, readily disintegrated upon the defeat of the Axis.

Her ultimate counsel is that the Allies, as well as the defeated Axis nations, must be restrained by a mutual governing body at the end of the war, to counteract resurrection of the old tendencies to mutual distrust, leading on to the deadly cycle of arms build-up and tensions, extraterritorial aggression to make up for want at home from lack of international cooperation in trade.

It, of course, would, despite such foresightedness, be so with the advent of the Cold War, the speech at Fulton, Missouri in 1946 by then former Prime Minister Churchill warning of the "Iron Curtain" falling over Eastern Europe, brought down by the Soviets, hearkening its stark and startling presence, replete with nuclear capability, on the post-war landscape. And this statement was made only six years after Mr. Churchill had stated in Commons, in late June, 1941 after the Nazi putsch into western Russia, that if Adolf Hitler invaded Hell itself, Churchill would advocate giving aid to the Devil. But, by 1947, Hitler was no more and the new post-war Devil in Moscow was the same as the old pre-war Devil, as far as the Western powers were concerned. The post-war establishment of the United Nations organization notwithstanding, the old European mutual paranoia and consequent tensions would resurrect themselves to the disadvantage and, on occasion, near destruction of the entire civilized world.

One can, of course, engage in facile reasoning and suggest that at the end of the war, the mistake was not then to start a war with the Russians and use the force of the then unilaterally possessed nuclear technology to enforce a stricter peace. But, that would have been lunacy, given that without Russia's sacrifice in the war, the war very likely would have been lost in 1942, if not in 1941, to the Nazis, as Hitler would have gained the Caucasus and all its oil supply, the Ukraine as a breadbasket for his soldiers and people, and the passage through the Caucasus to the rich oil holdings of Iraq. The world picture would have looked very different, especially had he then been able to join his Wehrmacht forces through the Suez Canal with the Japanese navy and air force. The picture in North Africa, with Rommel having been provided more gasoline and air cover, would have perhaps concluded with the taking of Alexandria and the Suez during the late summer of 1942, enabling just such joinder of Axis forces.

Thus, no one with any proper view of the matter could question the post-war effort to include Russia in the post-war policing of Eastern Europe, however fraught it was with distrust, well-earned, of the brigand Stalin. Moreover, the guiding voice of Harry Truman was simply not so well-respected or so gifted with eloquence as was that of FDR. Churchill had been voted out as well, as post-war Britain chose to entrust post-war rebuilding of the country to the more progressive ideals of the Labor Party and Clement Atlee.

While President Truman was not without his plain-spoken appeal, his grip on the reins was inevitably more tenuous than that of his lamented predecessor, as surely as it was for Andrew Johnson after the assassination of President Lincoln at the end of a long war.

Regardless, however much was unknown still in 1943 of the context of the post-war world, being pervaded by this new technology set precipitously and without ceremony on a precipitous world stage in mid-1945, Ms. Thompson accomplished well in this piece, by examining history with an eye to context, the art of prophecy--and not through the use of charts and stars and Tarot cards, or even a palm reading from Madam Ruth or Madam Hazel.

Raymond Clapper examines the flak surrounding the appointment by FDR of former Democratic National Chairman Ed Flynn to be Minister to Australia, at a time when Australia was not so cooperative with the Allied cause as appearances on the surface might have suggested, given that the government was a majority of one, that it was anti-Churchill. General MacArthur had therefore, since his coming to the continent-country the previous mid-March, performed his duty masterfully while walking on wafer-thin ice diplomatically. Mr. Clapper, while not nixing the appointment for its political aspects or because Mr. Flynn had a history limited to domestic politics rather international diplomacy, felt that Mr. Flynn would show all the delicacy, required for effective art in the position, of a bull in a china shop, out of his element, and that former Governor Lehman of New York would be a far better suited candidate for the post.

Samuel Grafton plumps for a comprehensive social security program to be included in the war budget, on the lines of the concept enunciated by British economist Lord Beveridge and subsequently adopted in Britain, that it is necessary, to stabilize society, to assure every citizen a basic standard of living with adequate food and shelter. Mr. Grafton offers that doing so is an investment in the future, an investment against want, and therefore an investment against crime and war.

Well, he was right, wasn't he? All one need really do is compare crime statistics in Great Britain and Canada, where "socialism" of the type deemed anathema by American "conservatives" thrives, with that of America to achieve the answer. But these American conservatives, actually corporate-endowed fascists, will have none of it, bent as they are on making everyone endure their own vision of being pulled up by their own bootstraps, hardly the case for most of these silver spoon-in-the-mouth advocates of a harsh and bitter climb for all, at least not for a couple generations back. Their concept is based on carnivorous social Darwinism, a kind of permissible ritualistic hazing by society of anyone perceived unfit, a stupid, Neanderthalic concept invented by boobs to get rid of those whom they consider threats to their security, not just "have-nots", but also those who they regard as stimulative of the have-nots to want more, those who are brighter, more diligent, and better fitted to a civilized society in fact than these Neanderthals who were given everything by society on a silver platter at the Waldorf.

If there is to be social Darwinism, we suggest starting at the top of the heap this time, not at the bottom, just as President Roosevelt, inured as he was to the pompous pretensions of his own economic and social class, and its inherent weakness long to sustain society's ultimate aims without both depression and revolt, so advocated.

"First Lady" exalts the battle worthiness proved in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands October 26 and in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal November 12-13 by the new battleship U.S.S. North Carolina, having been first sent to sea in September, 1941. The ship survived the war and, since 1961, has been docked in Wilmington as a floating museum.

"Common Clay" recaps a speech in Durham the previous evening by controversial Republican leader and 1940 presidential nominee, Wendell Willkie. He had spoken of the need to regard as human the leaders of the Allies, FDR, Churchill, and Stalin, and not deify them, that the future world should exalt the continued vitality of liberalism and democracy as ideals, not place them in bas-relief as living objects of adoration from within the cult of personality.

The Republican Party today, bound as it is in looking consistently for personality before substance, we suggest, might be wise to listen to Mr. Willkie's sound advice from yesteryear. And, we do not at all, in the process, excuse from the blanket admonition a great number of Democrats. While the personality of the leader and his or her ability to give a vibrant, inspiring speech are important facets of leadership--one need only look so far as the dramatic contrast in personalities starkly cast in 1960 by Vice-President Nixon and Senator Kennedy for that historical lesson--it is also the case that there must be substance, again President Kennedy being a prime example of the combination of personality attributes suitable for leadership combined with substance in the bargain.

It is not an acting gig for actors with a script written by others.

Whether Mr. Willkie would have proved a good president, no one will ever know. He died a month before the 1944 election anyway and thus, even had he run, all things being equal, he would never have taken office. But, in the end, he was deemed too progressive, too liberal for a Republican Party grown much too serious and stodgy. It chose the man on the wedding cake, not just once, but twice, however substantive Mr. Dewey was in fact in his own right. Then the war hero General, and the man for whom the war hero General provided his general personal imprimatur and recommendation to the country as a fit leader.

Well, as they say, the rest is history.

"Speed Kingdom", from Coronet, suggests that a bullet, theoretically, given enough range to circle the globe, could compress three days into one.

And so it did, twenty years and a few months hence.

But on February 20, 1962, Friendship 7 had flown nearly five times faster than even the speeding bullet.

The "Visitin' Around" snippet out of the Morganton News-Herald found Willard heading off, sadly, amid a going away party, to join the Army, perhaps headed ultimately for the Cold War, perhaps, even to become a captain, provided a special secret mission, hopping a ride on a motor torpedo boat headed up river on the Mekong, toward Cambodia, to find, amid the heart of darkness, Mr. Kurtz, within the Philippine jungle, become, as it were, a "bamboo American".

Chapter 11 of They Were Expendable begins with Ensign Cox describing his harrowing afternoon spent escorting a major up the Batangas coastline, deliberately to draw fire from the Japanese so that the major could duly mark the hidden jungle positions of the enemy.

After the mission was complete, he describes their encounter with a full company of Japanese soldiers bathing in a river, distinguishable, he says, from native Filipinos by their all wearing glasses. Frustrated from being fired upon all afternoon, absent, for the reconnaissance nature of the mission, the normal ability to fire back, the PT crew took great retributive pleasure in scattering the men with machine-gun fire. Eight of the bathers were killed and fourteen wounded.

If it manifests a sadistic streak, as the Japanese were in their skivvies and unarmed at the time, the reader must first consider the circumstance of brutal ongoing warfare, that these men suddenly encountered in the jungle were enemy soldiers and not civilians, and that the young men of the PT-boat crew had just spent several hours in immediate peril of their lives at the hands of the same enemy, and without the ordinary release of being able to retaliate. Add to that frustration engendered from being substantially outnumbered generally in the Philippines, poorly equipped, without spare parts for boats or planes or tanks, the feeling of being left behind, of being expendable, of being forgotten by this juncture in latter February, 1942, and the picture comes clear: they were shooting up an enemy company outnumbering the crew perhaps six or seven to one and for whom therefore there was little chance of capture without suffering substantial casualties, before the enemy had a chance to put back on their pants and shoot back at them. And with the prospect of armed enemy patrols in the area, trying to take so many prisoners would have been suicidal; nor was it practicable in any event as they had only one PT-boat.

It was, therefore, for eight of the aggressors in the Philippines, their last bath, one for which they took inadequate precaution, one therefore ending bathed in their own blood.

Ensign Cox further explains the receipt of regular reports on conditions on the mainland of Luzon, in and around Manila and from Bataan, via a "bamboo American", one who had married a Filipino and "gone native" by operating a pineapple plantation, charging three dollars to deliver a message to Garcia and a hundred to transport refugees underneath a wagonful of pineapples.

Lieutenants Bulkeley and Kelly next narrate their last mission in the Philippines in late February, with the aim of bagging a destroyer, spotted by scouts from the high bluffs of Bataan, parked in Subic Bay. Their orders were not to enter the bay for its mouth being saturated with machine-gun nests, but rather to conduct a feint, making noise with their guns as they drew near the mouth, trying to set the bait for the destroyer to pursue, while the other PT-boat lay in stealth outside the bay, ready to launch its torpedoes into the side of the destroyer and send it to Davy Jones.

Lieutenant Bulkeley conducted PT-35 as the bait and Lieutenant Kelly skippered PT-34 as the trap. The destroyer, however, didnít bite.

Even so, as PT-35 left the area, the crew spotted a large oil tanker of 10,000 tons, said Akers, and smacked two torpedoes into its side, sinking it, the last torpedoes they would fire in defense of Bataan.

The squadron had lost two of its six boats during its run in defending the Philippines, neither to enemy fire, but by running aground on reefs, and suffered only one wounded among the crew. Lieutenant Bulkeley estimated that they had sunk a hundred times their own tonnage. Since each PT-boat displaced about 50 tons, meaning 300 tons for the squadron, the total estimate of tonnage sunk was about 30,000, a third of which had been bagged on the last mission.

Ensign Cox explained that 1,200 poorly trained and equipped Filipino scouts, along with 2,000 American soldiers, were the total fighting force defending Bataan, and, despite their being vastly outnumbered and without combat experience, nevertheless bravely fought to hold the last ditch before being overrun, killed or captured. There was scarcely any air force to protect them, only four cobbled together P-40's from the first days of the siege in December when the air force was decimated while improvidently sitting on the ground, and a few tanks, which, for lack of spare parts, could be rendered useless were a track blown off or even a fan belt broken.

Cox had been an ambulance driver in France in 1940 and compared the scene to the Nazi putsch of June of that fateful year, drawing the distinction, however, that the soldiers defending Bataan, unlike the French who had thrown down their weapons and run, held their ground to the last, even in the face of quite as futile odds as those facing the Nazi intruders to France.

Lieutenant Kelly then narrated the memorable events of March 1, during which General MacArthur came to their squadron and ordered that he be escorted with Lieutenant Bulkeley on a thirty-minute ride around Manila Bay in one of the PT-boats. The order was to the surprise and consternation of the crew; the available P-40's could only assure air cover for the four square miles of the bay for a short time.

Nevertheless, General MacArthur took his ride in safety and then presented Lieutenant Bulkeley with the Distinguished Service Cross at its end, announcing to everyoneís surprise that he would be leaving the Philippines shortly for his new command headquarters in Australia, to which he had been ordered by the President. He had been offered transport on a submarine but, he said, preferred to rely only on Lieutenant Bulkeleyís demonstrated skills in handling a PT-boat to effect his departure.

Thus, the planned mission to China for the squadron was scrubbed and the new mission placed on the board.

To Lieutenant Kelly and the rest of the crews of the squadron, it meant that all chance of escaping the fate of being expendable was gone, their mission to Hong Kong and China having promised with it the reward of returning home at its conclusion.

But, withal, he no longer felt the pangs of conscience previously besetting him on the prospect of leaving Army nurse Peggy and the others behind on Corregidor to face the certain fate of expendability. He was to share the fate, albeit in the islands flanking Australia, where his new duty assignment was surely to follow upon completion of the mission for General MacArthur.

His fate and fatalism was now determined by the press of insuperable events: all of the men of the PT-boats, just as the brave men, doctors and nurses holding down the fort on Corregidor and fighting to the last belt of ammunition on Bataan, were expendable.

As a bonus, we present another page from The News of this date for its map of the areas retaken by the Russians in the first month of the 1942-43 winter counter-offensive, which had begun in mid-November, those areas in the Caucasus and to the west of Stalingrad, compared to the areas, substantially less, shown in the central and northern sectors, around Moscow and Leningrad, recaptured during the first month of the 1941-42 counter-offensive, begun, coincidentally, December 7, 1941.

As to the accompanying article on that page regarding Errol Flynnís alleged dalliances, for which he was standing trial for statutory rape alleged to have been committed on two teenage girls, we are reminded that she was just seventeen, if you know what we mean. Mr. Flynn was acquitted of the charges, not surprising, given the apparent quality of the performance, to be gleaned from the piece, of the young Miss Hansen on the witness stand. But, she was just seventeen, if you know what we mean.

Mr. Flynn, without regard to the negative publicity engendered by the episode, was still in, in Hollywood.

The other Mr. Flynn, as also reported on the page, appointed by the President to be Minister to Australia, amid the cries of incompetence for the position, was about to have hearings begin to justify the faith reposited in him by the President and that it was not simply political payola.

And whether, incidentally, the quote of the day was echoed as parting advice from Mr. Thurmond to Mrs. Logue before her untimely departure from the earth, we donít know. But it would make for a good story on the tv melodramatic movie of the week, we should think.

Meanwhile, the Chuck McCarthy family continues its guileless ways up in Silver City, not dissimlar to those of the Logues and Timmermans of Edgefield.

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