The Charlotte News

Friday, January 8, 1943

FOUR EDITORIALS

Site Ed. Note: From the State Legislature, the front page reports the most important news of the day: Nettie Lee Sparks, a beauty shop operator turned State Legislator from Spruce Pine, beautifully spruced and pining, no doubt, proclaimed to the body the need for more operators in her trade, apparently being depleted by the draft. She wanted authority and permission to induct some new trainees to be operators, like herself. We shall keep our eye on that one.

Der Fuehrer met in Berlin with Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikola Michov, apparently to discuss a greater role for the Bulgarian satrapy of the Reich in the war, in which it had managed thus far to limit its participation.

Whether there was anything vulgar stated to the Bulgar when he replied, "Up yours first, Mein Fuehrer," in response to Der Fuehrerís insistence that General Michov first raise his arm in salute to his highness before speaking, we havenít yet had it reported.

In the report on the crackdown on Atlantic Coast pleasure driving, the interesting sidebar presents itself to the effect that Whirlaway and other horses being stabled in Florida, were, no doubt in Norma Desmond style, being beckoned, for the fact of the closed tracks, to New Orleans on the Gulf Coast. The Triple Crown winner of 1941, Whirlaway, incidentally, had already just made an appearance in New Orleans on December 12 in a race conducted to raise war relief funding.

As we said, it shouldn't be long until the natives again become restless over this disparity of treatment between coasts. Whirlaway might as well stay put.

The Navy reported that U. S. submarines had sunk some 105 Japanese ships in the Pacific and damaged at least 45 others, with a loss of only five submarines. This figure for enemy kills was thought to be conservative.

Meanwhile, "Cat Eyes" Kelly, standing his regular watch in the night on the bridge of one of the subs, had spotted on the horizon a can which the skipper couldn't see at all. In the daytime, "Cat Eyes" was myopic. Everyone has a special purpose.

The Russians had pushed yet another ten miles beyond Bashaya Orlovka, toward Rostov.

In the area between the Don and the Stalingrad-Rostov railroad, General Vatutin was busy recapturing several towns from the Nazis.

Off New Guinea, the Navy had engaged a Japanese convoy attempting to land reinforcements on the embattled peninsula where the Japanese foothold of the previous summer had been reduced to little more than a pinky's hangnail. Two large transports, each of 14,000 tons, heavily laden with troops, were sunk, without apparent survivors. There was no estimate available of the number of Japanese carried to the bottom with them.

Since the beginning of the Japanese occupation of Buna July 23, the Navy had sunk 107 Japanese ships.

In the fifth installment of They Were Expendable, Lieutenant Kelly continues his conversation with the tank crew member laid up with him in the makeshift tunnel hospital on Corregidor. He tells the lieutenant of having played possum, along with his crew, during the rest of the afternoon and into the night, after their tank had been disabled by anti-tank fire and wound up stranded in a rice paddy. The Japanese came back twice to check to see if they were alive, but their apparent petrified entablature finally convinced the credulous Japanese of their moribund state.

Eventually, after dark, the crew slipped out of the tank and, barefoot, having left their shoes in a grassy area after bathing and being unable to relocate it, set out on an arduous and perilous hike back to camp.

Lieutenant Kelly concludes with his own recollection of a date he had with Army nurse Peggy, who had asked him to accompany her to a dance, despite her relationship with a medical officer on Bataan. The girls in civilian dress, he said, after seeing so much khaki, looked so good that "you could eat them with a spoon". Whether he got any sugar or ice cream to go in his spoon, he does not relate.

They played "Rose of San Antone" at least a dozen times, danced, and then talked beneath the cottonwood trees of varied reasoned rimes, through which moonlight peeked its straying beams, unto the palmy climes, on the Burma girl a-settin'--on Manila Bay, trying to escape the impending enemy ordnance for a little while, waiting for Houston, waiting for the van to come.

On the editorial page, "High-Low", not to be confused with the later Akira Kurosawa film about a kidnapping of a wealthy excecutive's son, contrasts the disparate reports of Admiral William Halsey, predicting a one-year knock out blow in the Pacific to the Japanese, while correspondent Hallet Abend was forecasting a four-year struggle yet to be endured. Mr. Abend, viewing matters through the lens of long experience in reporting from the Far East, based his opinion on his belief that the Japanese Empire was the most well-equipped and well-entrenched since the Roman Empire. Admiral Halsey stated, in the vain of the Confederacy, that one American fighter was worth twenty Japanese.

The editorial takes the sound middle ground and looks in between for the truth--which, of course, was where it was proved finally to be found.

But, in defense of Mr. Abend's experienced viewpoint, no one knew then how that war would end in the Pacific, including the scientists working on the incipient stages of the Manhattan Project. Had it not been for that project, the war might well have continued four more years. Certainly, by July, 1945, President Truman believed that it could take at least another year and another 100,000 Allied casualties finally to force the surrender, short of deploying the worst and most assuredly destructive weapon the world had ever known.

"Faith Eternal" recaps the President's speech to the Congress and suggests that while the speech would not win the war, converting its exhortations to reality would. The country would do so, finding in those words the promise of continued freedom and a return to normalcy, an optimism from their chosen leader to which they had grown accustomed, not only as to its evocation but also to its subsequent realization, from the dark days of the Depression in which FDR had come to them ten years before and enjoined, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

When he said that they would certainly win the war, unlike the masses under Hitler and Tojo and the already decrepit Mussolini, Americans chose to believe a man who they knew to be confined most of the time to a wheelchair and who needed aid merely to stand on his own steel-braced legs. But that did not deter the spirit. And within the Axis, that spirit of light was none to be found there.

Herblock pretty well sums it.

And, a letter writer, nearly a year after the series ran, takes issue with Tom Jimison's discredit of the fine hospital and staff at Morganton, especially its superintendent Dr. Watkins, who the letter writer finds to be without peer. First he introduces himself with letters of marque from such luminaries as Robert Rice Reynolds, and informs that even the President had corresponded with him, even on White House stationery, with the actual White House embossment, no doubt, right there on the letterhead accompanying the lovely 40 lb. white-manila card stock, signed by the actual hand of the President.

Of course, he didn't bother to inform of that which the President said to him in the letter. It could have been:

Dear Sir:

I appreciate always your very kind correspondence.

But, let me inform you that should you again have suggestions for creation of a new secret weapon of the type you bring to my attention, called the "Instant Killer Ray Invisible", please do not address it to me. We have a brand new shiny Pentagon Building across the way for the receipt and determination of the likelihood of placing into the stream of commerce productions, such as that of your worthy project.

Please, therefore, let me direct you, to conserve your further having to expend unnecessary time and valuable energy, to Mr. Jerry Siegel or Mr. Joe Shuster. They will be able then to direct you to the correct government agency and agent thereof, of which and of whom I long ago lost track, there being so many, as you duly do not hesitate to point out to me.

Yours, faithfully,

The President

Anyway, taking the little "Visitin' Around" out of Monroe and putting it together with the tank crew gent who lost his shoes in the grass while bathing in the creek over there where Uncle Sam sent him, somewhere in the Philippines, near a village called Batangas, (we assume pronounced as "Topanga" or "dang us", but perhaps as "phalanges" or "Ganges"), we have to wonder whether there, down by the River, there might have been some frustrated women having to be in by twelve o'clock, high.

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