The Charlotte News
Monday, January 6, 1941
Site Ed. Note: In 2003, we are neither before Shrewsbury nor led by Prince Harry, and it best be kept in mind therefore that the matter is not simple nor worthy of a charge. Battles must have a cause ultimately other than the quest for victory. Liberating a people from themselves is not a supervening cause which merits overt military action. The cause provides the answer. Meddling within the internal affairs of another country where the cause then becomes for them the maintenance of their own land free from encroachment is a recipe for disaster. Witness Vietnam. Indeed, witness Shrewsbury. Encroachment by a country upon the territory of a sovereign neighbor usually is a just and proper cause for military action--and one which is more easily defended against, for soldiers, like most humans, always long for home--but the mere threat of same is not. In law, we go to court and get an injunction against threatened or imminent harmful activity; we don't use guns and ask questions later.
And so negotiation, ad nauseum if necessary, through the United Nations is the proper route and also happens to be the one which saves lives. To go to war, while knowing innocent lives will certainly be lost thereby, on a presently contained country to prevent an hypothesized attack years from now, one by no means certain, and probably in so doing provoking an attack somewhere down the line against us, is not prudent. There are words for it, but "prudent" isn't one of them.
They aren't in Poland and France, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, and threatening Britain, with allies threatening China and Indo-China, and creating fascism in Spain and Ethiopia, nor is there anything remotely equivalent to it. Yet, even under those conditions created over a five-year span, the United States did not go to war. One can argue of course the prudence of the delay in that course all day and never know the outcome, but the fact is that we waited until there was a direct attack by a sovereign entity upon our soil. Hitler, Genghis, and the boys are the ones who wage paranoid, nationalistic campaigns to throw their people into a mindset of militaristic aggression. If we don't get them first, they will sure get us. Bombs-away Lemay… Herr Doktor Fremdliebe...
Since when did we become bellicose?
Perhaps it was the day in 2000--December 13, was it?--that we abandoned democracy for the sake of convenience so we could get back to our soap operas…
By the way, last we heard, they still couldn't figure out how those 8,000 ballots in Palm Beach County which registered two rather disparate candidates for President and Vice-President came to be. Now we still wonder for whom they meant to vote.
But of course, that wouldn't have changed the outcome at all. We keep forgetting. The guy got a mandate. Get over it. Do whatever he says. Don't question. Be a little lamb.
With a Mark of 47 To Shoot at, No Time to Waste
The first murder of the year wasn't long taking place. Wednesday was New Year's Day, the shooting (of the Negro woman by another) was on Friday, death came on Saturday.
One down, with 45 or 50 to go.
With 45 or 50 to go, that is, provided 1941 patterns itself after 1940 in this violent respect. Provided the police are no more diligent in arresting Negro killers--ten of 1940's are still uncaught. Provided the Police Department does not extend its patrol beats into the districts where murders are routine.
And provided the Coroner takes it as the responsibility of his office to hold more or less impromptu trials and hand down acquittals, whereas that is the duty of the courts. And provided that the prosecution in Superior Court is no more vigorous than it has been in years past, and provided that white juries continue to take all-Negro murders as somehow a lesser offense than white murder.
For last year, under precisely these conditions described here, there were 47 homicides in Charlotte, a new mark for the new year to shoot at. And it is only by the correction of these conditions and perhaps by sustained efforts along the other lines, such as the passage of a law requiring the registration of firearms, that the Mosaic and North Carolina codes against killing are to be enforced.
Rise of Flandin Is Bad News for Democracy
The news from Vichy almost destroys the ground for hoping that Petain might be thinking of breaking with the Nazis and retiring to Africa to renew the fight of France.
The elevation of Pierre Etienne Flandin to be Foreign Minister, in place of the ousted Laval, seems incompatible with any such purpose. Indeed, it may mean that Petain plans closer collaboration with the Nazis.
Flandin is a cynical opportunist. And he began his career as a staunch advocate for the most active pro-British policy. But after the rise of Hitler, he concluded that the forces of Nazism were destined to get control of Europe and promptly became the most vigorous pro-Nazi in France. He has remained that ever since. And it is he who, more than any other one man, is responsible for France's ruin today, for Adolf Hitler's power.
And he was premiere when Hitler took the fateful step of remilitarizing the Rhineland in defiance of the Versailles Treaty. And he lifted not a finger to stop it. And his apologists have since attempted to excuse it on the ground that Britain wouldn't cooperate in action against Germany. But that is nonsense. Hitler at the time had no real military power and Flandin well knew that the French army alone was quite adequate to maintaining the status quo in the Rhineland. Indeed, Hitler's troops crossed the bridges with sealed orders to retire if France moved. And the real reasons for Flandin's decision seem to have been the desire to protect his personal holdings in the German arms cartel and his admiration for Hitlerism.
British Regard Invasion Of Germany as Feasible
It is apparent from AP-Man William McGaffin--in his story of British motorcycle raids into occupied France, that the English Government and High Command do not at all agree with the military opinion that the invasion of Germany is impossible and that the best that Britain can hope for is a stalemate.
So far as Mr. Churchill goes, that has been clear all along. In that famous "blood, toil, tears, and sweat" speech last Summer he said also that what Britain was fighting for was total victory, for "without victory there can be no survival."
Victory means crushing Germany, not making a truce with it.
Trouble with the defeatists over here is that they are thinking in terms of the last war. And indeed, if Britain had to face the prospect of following the old mass tactics of frontal assault against trenches, with elaborate care for protecting flank and rear, then she would face a virtually impossible task.
But Adolf Hitler has demonstrated that the tactics of the last war have nothing to do with this one. The mechanized army which carried out the essential process of conquering France was a small, highly mobile force, unencumbered with supply trains, and taking no thought at all for its flanks and rear--probably numbering altogether less than 100,000 men.
Getting a foothold on the Continent is far easier for England than for Hitler to get a foothold in England, for the good reason that Hitler has the whole coast from Denmark to Spain in his possession, that it is possible to guard the whole of it adequately and that he must spread out his troops thinly over a vast territory.
Rome Seems Still To Think That Words Can Win
The British, admitting that they have blockaded Tobruk, are reluctant to boast that they are going on to take it as they did Bardia. They prefer to accomplish the deed before reporting it.
That is a notable contrast to the Italians. A week ago Rome was triumphantly announcing that Bardia was to be "a new Alcazar" and that the soldiers there would proudly die to the last man, at Mussolini's express orders, rather than surrender. Today Bardia is in the hands of the British and the Italians, numbering from 25,000 to 40,000, are reported by eyewitnesses to have invariably surrendered without bitter-end resistance.
One reporter saw a thousand Italians being marched out of a cave by a single British officer and two enlisted men.
All of which makes the Rome announcements that the British campaign has really failed because it was intended to set off revolution in Italy and hasn't, sound pretty hollow. If the British campaign is a failure, then all Britain needs to win the war is a few more failures.
At least 80,000 of the total of 260,000 Italians in Libya are prisoners in British hands. The Italian hope of seizing Egypt and Suez and of blocking the English out of the Mediterranean is utterly blasted. And even worse, the Italian navy has apparently been driven out of the open sea, the British wield absolute mastery of the Mediterranean--are in position to starve Italy into submission rapidly.
And if revolution is not at hand, the evidence seems to suggest that may not be far away. All the observers report the most complete resignation and indifference to defeat on the part of the Italian prisoners. The poor fight they put up certainly indicates that they have no heart for the struggle. And when armies lose heart for war, revolution is never far off.
Who Understands How To Deal With Clear Cases
On his 83rd birthday, old Carter Glass issues a characteristic statement. The United States Navy, he says, "should be sent over to blast hell out of Germany."
The President is right in calling Glass an "unreconstructed Rebel"--perhaps righter then he knows.
Glass's mind is the Confederate mind, the native Southern mind in its pristine purity. That is to say, it is a relatively simple mind--a mind which has been not inaccurately summed up in the statement that it believes in hell, hanging, and calomel.
It has its great faults and when it is wrong nothing could ever be wronger or more difficult to blast loose. And before very complex and vague situations it is often wrong--as Henry Adams long ago pointed out.
But when it comes to relatively clear situations such as that of England as against the Nazis, when what is needed is not argument but decision and action, the mind of a Glass is worth 40,000 assorted Burton Wheelers, Anne Lindberghs, Bennett Clarks, Arthur Vandenbergs, Robert Tafts, Henry Cabot Lodges, Hiram Johnsons, Hugh Johnsons, General Woods, and Professor Harry Elmer Barneses.
Hamlet wanders too much in the sickly cast of thought and in the end does the wrong things. Prince Hal charges at Shrewsbury and the day is won.
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