The Charlotte News

Sunday, January 12, 1941



Free Hand

Cotton Ed Proposes To Make U.S. Battleground

In Washington old Cotton Ed Smith, for more than 30 years on the Federal payroll as a Senator from South Carolina, announces:

"I'll not vote for a declaration of war, short of invasion."

Now consider what that means.

It means that, so far as Cotton Ed Smith is concerned, the Nazis may go ahead and destroy Britain, seize the British Navy, take over the Portuguese Azores, French Martinique, Jamaica and all the other British islands commanding the entrance to the Panama Canal, assume absolute command of the Atlantic Ocean.

It means that, so far as Cotton Ed Smith is concerned, they may go ahead and take over Greenland and Canada and all of South and Central America, including Panama and Mexico.

It means that Japan is at liberty to grab and fortify the Galapagos, 500 miles off Chile, all the little Latin-owned islands around the Pacific approaches to the Panama Canal, and all the Pacific islands around the Philippines and Hawaii, so long as they do not touch one over which the American flag now flies.

It means in short that our enemies are to have carte blanche to surround us with an iron ring of power, to establish bases for naval action and the bombing of our cities at will.

And It means that if there is to be war--as there certainly will be war under these circumstances--all the lessons of history from the Carthaginian wars to Admiral Mahan are to be ignored, and that it is the United States which will be made the battleground--that it is our cities which will be bombed and burned, our women and children who will be murdered, our people who will be looted and cruelly mishandled.

That is doubly unforgivable in Old Cotton Ed Smith. For South Carolina knows well what war on its own soil is like--remembers a man named William Tecumseh Sherman and Columbia's suffering a fate like that of London or Rotterdam.

The kindest thing that can be said about this exercise in puerility is that spite against the President often destroys a Senator's better sense.


Brave Threat

Inspired by the Fears Of Two Italian Editors

An Italian threat which is so quaint that it is sad is that of Editors Gayda and Anselmo regarding the "suicide squadrons" of Italian planes with aerial torpedoes. Uncle Sam, they warned direfully, had better not attempt to convoy British ships with his navy, for if he does the navy will be destroyed.

These Italian "suicide squadrons" have been heard of before. They were heard away back in the days of the invasion of Ethiopia. Then Editors Gayda and Anselmo were warning that if the British Navy tried to interfere with that invasion these "suicide squadrons" would dive straight into the ships with loads of bombs and destroy them. And there was the same kind of talk last Summer when Italy was dragged into the war by Mussolini, Ciano, and Editors Gayda and Anselmo.

Mystery about all this is: If the "suicide squadrons" are really eager to die for the glory of Adolf Hitler and if the aerial torpedoes are so effective that even the might of the United States Navy cannot hope to stand up to them, how does it happen that three or four British battlewagons and a handful of destroyers and cruisers and submarines have achieved absolute and undisputed mastery of the Mediterranean? How does it happen that this little fleet has not long ago been destroyed by the "suicide squadrons" and their aerial torpedoes, plus the Italian navy, which is theoretically far more powerful than the British Mediterranean fleet?


Perilous Spot

Dr. Baker Had Better Get Himself a Safe Keg of TNT

Old Doctor Baker was ill when it came time for him to read his paper. The young doctor selected to read it for him took a look at it and discreetly got sick, too. And the doctor who did finally read it kept his fingers crossed.

Baker is Dr. L. F. Baker, 74, Professor Emeritus of Medicine in the Johns Hopkins University, and so a man of great intellectual dignity. And having figured out something to his own scientific satisfaction, he resolutely told the world--by proxy. One admires his integrity but not his discretion.

Maybe it will be as well for him to stay sick a while, for what his paper told the New York School of Social Work was that how you live has nothing at all to do with how long you live. That, he said, is determined entirely by heredity.

And of course the professional moralists are going to make the rest of the poor old doctor's declining days a nightmare out of the Inquisition crossed with Adolf Hitler. Take the Demon Rum, for instance. How are the Prohibitionists going to operate if it gets to be accepted that your cirrhosis of the liver or your fatty heart developed, not because you made too merry with corn-juice but because your great grandpappy and your great-great-Uncle Elbert were afflicted that way and handed the genes on to you as a nice birthday gift? And what is going to become of the various anti-tobacco leagues and the vegetarian leagues and the Necking-is-Dangerous leagues?


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