The Charlotte News

Wednesday, January 6, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports of the complete ban on pleasure driving throughout the country. Unless the war ended in the interim, 1944 bowl games, brimming to capacity on New Year’s Day 1943, would need be attended only through the imagination conveyed by the play-by-play radio announcer or by bus or other common conveyance. The report stated that presence of personal motor vehicles at places of sport or amusement would constitute prima facie evidence of violation of the proscription against pleasure driving.

The G-Man might be out in the parking lot of Smokey Joe’s taking down your plate, boy--unless you have an X ration card, that is. Are you some kind of Congressman or something? Okay, then. Better hurry down that Pabst, sonny, and get on home. Besides, Uncle Sam says you’ve a date with destiny in the Pacific or somewhere in North Africa. You’re going to need your sleep.

In the first action in several days in northern Tunisia, RAF and American fighters attacked a German position successfully, fifteen miles north of Mateur. American Flying Fortresses and B-26 Marauders hit airdrome targets at Kairouan and at Sfax, also in Tunisia, the latter on the Gulf of Gabes.

Communiques remained silent on the pursuit of Rommel toward Tripoli by General Montgomery.

Northwest of Guadalcanal, yet another of several raids occurring since mid-December dropped bombs on the Japanese air base at Munda on New Georgia Island. Another raid damaged or sunk ten Japanese ships, 50,000 tons worth of shipping, at Rabaul in New Britain, off New Guinea.

From the Russian front came continued good news that the Soviet army had pressed forward on the second of two thrusts to within 100 and 125 miles, respectively, of Rostov, in its effort to bottle up a fourth of the Nazis in Russia. Reuters reported that half a million Nazis were running away, in both the middle Don region, to the west of Stalingrad, and in the Caucasus to the south. In the Caucasus, the Soviets had overrun Prokhladninski, located a few miles northwest of Grozny, a key railhead to the oilfields of Baku on the Caspian, linking to the northwest with Tikhoretsk.

The pincers of the giant Russian claw were now quickly tightening its grip on the Nazi prey. Would the Russians be dining on lobster soon, to go with all of the Rhine wine and Dutch chocolate reported December 23 as having been secured from German stores quickly abandoned at Kotelnikovski, 132 miles west of Rostov?

Texas Democrat Sam Rayburn was re-elected to the position of Speaker of the new House for the 78th Congress. He called for dedication to the complete elimination of the "vandals" stalking the world out of Germany, Japan, and Italy. Joe Martin, Republican of Massachusetts, who would in 1953 become Speaker, was elected Minority Leader.

A piece describes the harrowing missions, both patrol and rescue, and sometimes acting as torpedo bombers of spotted ships, undertaken perilously by the Catalina PBY crews in the Pacific, flying what they described as suicide missions. The plane was capable of long range flight, but was slow and cumbersome when pursued by fast Japanese fighters, hence its pilots' fatalistic tendencies.

Clark Gable graduated gunnery school in Florida and was soon to be assigned to air combat duty, participating in bombing missions over France and Germany out of Northern Ireland, to make his Army-sponsored film about the European air war, completed in 1944.

Office of War Information director, Rhodes Scholar, Elmer Davis, (about whose traditional pronunciation of "ration" John Kieran yesterday had wondered, in opposition to that of the more rime-oriented Agriculture Secretary, Claude Wickard, also in charge of food "ray-shuning", which the OED says is an accepted former pronunciation), takes issue with Admiral William Halsey's prediction that the Pacific war would end in 1943. Mr. Davis was still investigating the claim.

Vice-Admiral Land, head of the Maritime Commission, reported that fully eight million tons of merchant ships had been produced in 1942; over twice that was predicted by the President for 1943. Four ships per day, said FDR, were being sent down the ways of American shipyards, set to increase to five per day by May.

Mr. Davis also indicated that more German submarines were being produced than being sunk by the Allies, but also that more American ships were now being produced than being sunk by the U-boats. Nevertheless, the U-boat toll remained unacceptably high in the Atlantic.

On the editorial page, "New South" echoes a fact stated by W. J. Cash in his June 2, 1941 commencement address at the University of Texas, that the South was one of the richest regions of the world in terms of its natural resources.

The fact also has made, through history, the South, especially for its perceived dim headlights, one of the prime targets, and, sometimes, one of the prime suckers, for every obscurantist totalitarian the world has known since the country's Founding, including Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein, to practice their Big Lie and attempt to cuittle the dimmer lights of the South to their own ends, perceived as sympathetic to those of dim headlights in the South, a mutual goal of maintenance of traditional racial and ethnic walls.

Raymond Clapper discusses new American weaponry, including the new secret weapon about which he was prohibited from giving description, one known as the Bazooka. Chew on that with the comics page.

Samuel Grafton defends the American people's tepid response to the concept of the League of Nations, proposed after World War I, to act as a policing body to insure adherence to the Treaty of Versailles. He excepts their absence of enthusiasm for it from blame for the later debacle of World War II on the basis that the League's primary administrators in Europe were lackluster: Lloyd George in Britain, Clemenceau in France, Orlando in Italy. He suggests, therefore, that in the post-war world there must be tough men in office in the nations of Europe and Asia, ones who are committed to full employment of the masses, obviously on an industrial base not bent on war, as Nazi Germany's full employment scheme, and who are cleansed of any taint of collaboration with the fascist, totalitarian states being fought.

He uses Admiral Darlan, assassinated Christmas Eve in Algiers, as a prime example of what happens when such former collaborators, suddenly turned contrite in the face of an offer they can't refuse, are thrust into positions of leadership of a people who cannot readily forget or forgive the leader's former political subservience to the totalitarian state imposed on them from without.

He does not mention the overriding reason for failure of the League, its lack of a policing body to insure compliance to the terms of Versailles or Versailles's own inherent weakness, the complete emasculation militarily by its terms of the defeated nations, terms unrealistic to impose on any state and its citizenry by their tendencies to invite reactionary stimulus of characteristic nationalist pride, that aroused easily in a defeated people holding to reality by tenterhooks, just as in the South after the Civil War during the harshest period of Radical Reconstruction, that called "Thorough"--as also pointed out by W. J. Cash in his commencement address.

Those mistakes would not be repeated. For all the carping against the work of the United Nations through time by some whose predilections and superstitious fears of "world government", born of supposed warnings of its evil contained in Revelations anent the allegorical figure of the multi-headed Beast and the declaration of world peace being the harbinger of the Apocalypse, we have, as yet, still in these 64 years since the end of World War II, to have any recurrence of world war and only sporadically, if virulently at times, regional and civil wars in various points of the globe.

All in all, therefore, the objective audience of the performance of that body must give plaudits where they are due and applaud the persevering work of this great, if often flawed, body. That does not say that honest criticism of the performance by informed critics in the art of diplomacy and world affairs is not at times due, as it is even to the best of plays performed with the aplomb of the most highly skilled actors on the stage. Criticism provided in like manner may only improve the performance, as well as the work of even the most skilled playwright, for the future.

But, were it not for the United Nations, with the Beast of nuclear warheads and the means by which to deliver them instanter across continental borders, afoot the world stage since the end of World War II, we daresay that we all likely would have long ago perished, probably in October, 1962, if not in 1958 or before.

It is a body which calls for restraint and objectivity attenuating the nationalistic emotion which always accompanies an attack by one sovereignty on the soil of another or by human rights violations, inevitably providing stimulus to internecine conflict within a sovereignty. There must be some impartial arbiter, removed from the immediate scene of the conflict, to re-establish and insure sustenance of peace.

The United States, we venture again, made a major foreign policy blunder in 2003, one unprecedented since the creation of the United Nations, by going to war without the full support of that body.

The argument needs no further elucidation as to the results of that blunder through the past nearly seven years than to indicate the term of its duration: seven years, and counting.

Was it worth it? What have been the results?

War is not a football game, or a baseball game.

If all of that money had been placed into the development of a sound, stylish vehicle for freeing us from the enslavement of fossil fuels, we would have no Saddam Hussein today anyway, at least none with any power.

To achieve the proper answer, one need only compare the vigorous, sleepless diplomacy utilized constructively, yet with supreme toughness to the brink, of 1962, with that weak, pre-ordinate diplomacy, pre-ordained to fail for its too stringent lines drawn in the sand, utilized in 2003. Do you see?

Carp as you will.

The paw prints in the sand in San Luis Obispo, in the story about your friend and ours, told the tale: the little boy and his puppy, Rags, hid in the refrigerator when approached by the big dog, digging in the backyard.

Never hide inside the refrigerator. Have a table or chair nearby so that you may climb on top of it when the big dog arrives.

Then you have the coign of vantage.

In other words, one must be supra-orbital to the Cold War, not inside the tiger, in order to see how things go with the snakes down below, and on both sides of the doggy fence.

Besides, it may have been a misperception, that all that was going on was that the big Red dog wanted to say hello and test the mettle of the new puppy in the neighborhood, to see whether Rags was robotically controlled or a masterful pup in his own right, at Bessop's Gate.

Or, was it that Timahoe was sikked by the White king of the neighborhood?

The third installment of William L. White's They Were Expendable recounts the somewhat disjointed recollections of Lieutenant Kelly, an officer in Lieutenant John Bulkeley's PT-boat squadron, recollections which had finished the previous day's installment. He explains that his arm, with his hand swollen to the size of a catcher's mitt, became infected, requiring him, reluctantly--eschewing the while, for its effects on the senses, all efforts to induce him to submit to Sister Morpheus--to abandon his loyal duty to his squadron, temporarily, and receive aid from the Army hospital on Corregidor. The hospital had been moved underground to a tunnel to avoid being hit by the bombs being dropped on the Rock from the relentless Japanese air raids in the initial days after December 10, 1941.

While there, he befriended the four Army nurses, Peggy, Ann, Stevie, and Charlotte, each of whom welcomed his optimistic attitude as he suggested that the radio reports provided support to his continuing faith that America was both aware of and solidly behind the fighting effort, would not abandon the American and Filipino men steadfastly defending the Philippines. KGEI, a San Francisco shortwave station, he said, was especially buoying.

While there, the survivors began arriving from the sunk transport, Corregidor, a vessel converted from a former British World War I aircraft carrier, the Engadine, the first carrier ever to launch an airplane in battle. On December 17, the ship had struck an American mine in the harbor approaching Corregidor as it sought to effect the removal of some men, women, and children from harm's way in Manila.

Lieutenant Bulkeley then picks up the narrative of the harried rescue of 191 of the passengers as they flailed helplessly in three inches of oil afloat the sea’s surface, imparting their terrible ordeal.

Another letter to the editor responds to the caustic letter appearing December 25, excoriating the government for regulating gas and tires while supposedly sending tons of beer, actually only small (3%) beer, to the front to make the soldiers happy-happy while they relaxed at the PX awaiting another mission, the probabilities of the outcome of which being that they would die.

This new letter, while perfectly cogent and sensible in its overall statement, does present one troubling notion. It implies, in answer to the former letter writer’s rhetorical query as to how many colleges the liquor interests had ever built, that the grain farmers, the glass makers, the syrup producers, and the cotton farmers had funded higher education.

Very likely true.

But our wonder comes at just what cotton has to do with the production of liquor and beer. Gin? Rummy?

In any event, we hope you have a salutary Epiphany.

As a candle in the rain, next to the split tree, in contest of the Flood, while still in the whale's belly, waiting for the welkin to crack its dawn.

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