The Charlotte News

Thursday, April 7, 1938


Site Ed. Note: "See if he Doesn't", another in the long line of News editorials, most if not all of which probably by Cash, alternately condemning and mocking Robert Rice Reynolds's never-ending battle against the hapless alien, might be one to be well read today as we go about engaged in much the same futile folly--that is, to borrow a Cash simile, trying as Mrs. Partington to hold back the ocean with a broom, doing that to bar the doors of immigration, the same doors through which every last one of us, save the Native American and the passenger on the Mayflower and a few other such early passant refugees, passed to get here. Were your origins entirely legal here a few generations ago or later? Shall we have a look-see at your grandsires' paperwork?

Perhaps, since we see regular exhibition these days in both the Senate and especially over in the House of at least a few personations who appear as alien, not only from another country but of some other vaguely ill-defined and wholly unfathomable and mysterious world entirely, it is time we investigate some of their papers as well.

We also include General Johnson's piece on Nathan Bedford Forrest's first and only maxim of war, and its mechanized corollary--a pair which, as we have as a nation painfully learned, both then and now, do not invariably and necessarily apply to guerrilla warfare on the other fellow's familiar home turf, such as that which we fought for our independence from Great Britain back there a time and times ago.

And the General's admonition in the last paragraph proved prophetic of precisely that which occurred that terrible Sunday morning.

Revising Forrest

By Hugh S. Johnson

New York City.--This is Army week and yesterday was Army Day. Except for what Mothers' Day means to a noble sentiment and the florist and the telegraph business, I could never see much in this "day" business. But if Army Day can make a new army problem clearer to the people, it will be good.

Our army is in a period of almost revolutionary change due to swift developments in both world politics and the art of war. Old Nathan Bedford Forrest was just an uneducated blacksmith, but he turned out to be one of the best generals produced on either side of the Civil War. He said all that is contained in Napoleon's maxims in a single sentence. The way to win either battles or wars is "to git thar fustest with the mostest men." By "thar" he meant the critical point and not the whole field of fighting.

In other words, it is speed and timing that counts even more than masses of men. Napoleon defeated six Austrian armies merely by getting in between separate columns and beating one part after another before they could get together.


The only change in General Forrest's rule which is changing our army is to make it read: "To git thar fustest with the greatest fire-power." A doughboy with a musket moves slowly and can carry in fire relatively few cartridges. His force with a bayonet in his hand at the point of physical contact, which is inevitable in the decisive struggle, is no more than one man's weight. Victory depends on how many of him can reach the last objective alive and uninjured. That is a very big hazard because modern defensive fire is so terrible that the unprotected foot soldier has little chance in crossing fire-swept ground.

The great change is to put men behind steel shells in motor drawn vehicles moving at great speed and to arm them with rapid fire guns of varying calibers. Thus with a fraction of former forces a commander can carry more ammunition, reach a critical objective many times as fast, with a fire far more deadly and with much smaller losses.


This means smaller divisions and other troop units, fewer men doing the work of many, but it also greatly increased cost due to much more equipment of greater expense. It means far more highly trained officers and soldiers and--more technical expertness.

These make very great changes in our military problem. Before the World War it used to be said that it took a year to make a private soldier. The war proved that, with intensive training, it can be done much more quickly. That enabled us to put 2,000,000 men in France, a thing which never could have been done on the old training schedules. It probably won the war.

But in this new motorized, mechanized and highly technical war, we could not get an improvised army ready nearly so fast. It requires much greater peace-time preparation both of equipment and of officers and men.

It is highly important for the country to be aware of all this. We do not need a large army but we do need a deadline and we need to have it ready at the drop of a hat. Our only danger on this continent is that some super-prepared power will catch us napping on defense against a sudden mechanized raid. Army plans are all based on that. They are reasonable and carefully worked out. They should have the enthusiastic support of the country.

College Boy Economics

The banks and merchants of Troy, N. Y., were in a fearful stew last Monday. There were no pennies in town with which to do business on unevenly priced goods. The students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute had practically cornered them and refused to let go for the day.

It sounds like the grand opening of the silly season. And that, said the president of the institution, Dr. William O. Hotchkiss, undoubtedly had something to do with it. Was this not Spring; when the fancy of sophomores has immemorially run to lodging Prexy's horse on the bell steeple?

But not so, said Mr. Robert Baumann, honor student who engineered the corner. Merely, he said, he had been looking into taxes and had discovered that 25 per cent of the total cost of any article is represented by hidden taxes. Most people, he thought, hadn't got that through their heads, and he wanted a dramatic method of calling attention to it, like that of his followers when Tuesday they began to turn loose the pennies by paying for 25 per cent of all their purchases in brownies.

Mr. Baumann does not appear to be altogether nutsy. But still the Spring is obviously working on him, if he really does believe that getting his discovery through the head of the man in the street is as simple as that.

No Dodging

Major Bulwinkle's unfriends probably will read into his statement that there is nothing wrong with the reorganization bill a palpable attempt to stay in the administration's good graces, at a time when the administration's good graces are important to the Major. The same unworthy motive might as easily be imputed to him for his acceptance of the principle of the wage-hour bill--that he was trying to get in solid with the labor vote at a time when the labor vote was extremely important to his re-election.

And perhaps the Representative is not wholly unaware of the imminence of primary time and what would be good politics. But to us he appears to be giving a good imitation, at least, of a man who is examining proposed legislation on its merits alone and who is arriving at his opinion apart from any considerations of self-interest, even in the face of self-interest. For his acceptance of the reorganization and wage-hour bills, though it may gain him strength, by the same token will lose him strength, and will lose it where he has been accustomed in the past to find sponsors for his campaigns.

And yet, maybe not. All the world despises a shifty politician, a man who lacks the courage of his convictions. If the corollary holds true, a politician bold enough to take a stand with election time almost upon him ought to pick up a vote or two on general principles.

Stand Up, Sailor!

The Fourth United States Circuit Court of Appeals, of which Judge John Parker is a member, Tuesday upheld the conviction of the fourteen Algic seamen for staging a sit-down strike in Montevideo harbor last September. The men still have the resort of an appeal to the Supreme Court, but it is more than likely that they will be wasting their time if they take it.

What they are fighting for, of course, is less to escape the almost nominal penalties assessed against them than to establish the right of CIO unions to strike on the high seas and in such harbors as Montevideo. Nobody denies them the right to strike in their home ports. And in the absence of contracts specifying the contrary, they may even have a right to strike in foreign ports where their ships are safely tied up in docks.

But when it comes to the high seas in ports like Montevideo, subject to sudden storms and without docking facilities, they have against them the weight not only of a law that has obtained in every country since man began to remember but also of basic common sense. In a sit-down strike on land, there is at least the consolation that, barring sabotage, the factory will certainly be there when the thing is over. But when men sit down and cut off a ship's steam on the high seas or in perilous ports, they immediately and seriously endanger the continued existence of the ship, her cargo, and every soul aboard her. And in the face of that, it is our guess that they have a ghost of a chance of winning their fight in any court.

An Apt Word

Representatives Sumners of Texas seems to have chosen his words with a good deal of accuracy. Yesterday, charging out as a heroic defender of the democratic faith against the wicked reorganization bill, he said to his comrades in the House:

"Let's do the best we can to amend it, and then if we can't amend it as we think it ought to be, let's have the nerve to beat it..."

The bill has already been amended to eliminate the features that were possibly to be objected to on rational grounds. A bare majority of Congressmen may now override any order of the President. All the quasi-judicial bodies have been excepted from its terms. And in addition, the Veterans' Bureau has been reserved as political pap for Congressmen. The only remaining features that can be amended out are:

1--The proposal that the President shall have the power to abolish the spoils system and set up a genuine civil service in all strictly executive agencies save the Veterans' Bureau.

2--The proposal that he shall have the power to lay the foundations for a genuine career service.

3--The proposal for an auditing service which will enable Congress to find out, for the first time in fifteen years, exactly what is being done with Federal funds.

4--The proposal that the various relief agencies shall be brought together into a single whole, so that somebody can make heads and tales of what they are doing.

Yes, nerve--solid, brass-bound nerve--is what it will obviously take, not only to beat those proposals but to amend them.

Brot und Arbeit

In the days when the Roman Empire was cracking to its end, the Caesars demagogued the masses of the imperial city with panem et circenses--bread and circuses. But Nazism is made of sterner stuff. It promises its new dupes in Austria merely Brot und Arbeit. Bread and, instead of circuses, work. Not much bread. Pretty poor bread. Black bread, mixed up with potatoes and maybe a little sawdust. At prices as dear as man has ever paid for bread on this earth. But work--ah, plenty of work. Forced work, in labor battalions, for your little bread. Work whether you like it or not.

Work for everybody. Work--in order that there may be more bread for everybody? That Germany may once more grow fat and contented and sing and shout in the bockgartens? Inglorious thought! Instead, that there shall be less bread yet--for the civilian at least--and no more bock at all. That Germany may grow lean and fit to bear bayonets. That the army magazines burst with food, verboten until the coming of der Tag. That Germany may grow richer only in machines for inflicting death. That some millions of young Germans may one of these days go out and fulfill their "racial destiny" by dying horribly on a battlefield--and need no more bread.

See if he Doesn't

Bob Reynolds postcards from Washington, at the Government's expense, that he will address the country Thursday evening on the subject of aliens. His purpose is to equate "my friends" with the alien situation as it exists today in America and to explain the bills calling for the mandatory deportation of criminal and undesirable aliens.

We know almost verbatim what Robert is going to say. He will cite, as though they were unquestionable, statistics which to say the least are unreliable and out of date. He will paint a dismal picture of America overrun by ever-increasing hordes of foreigners, when as a matter of fact the tide of immigration in the last eight years has been away from these shores. He will endeavor to stir up the indignation of his listeners at the great number of aliens on relief--"one out of every eight," the synthetic figure goes--never alluding to the larger number of aliens who produce and buy and pay for American goods. He will come down hard on mandatory deportation for all aliens illegally in this country, never mentioning the cruel family separations and the destruction of homes which so ruthless a policy would entail.

The truth about the alien problem, we suspect, is that it needs to be stated in all its ramifications before it can be solved intelligently and mercifully. The truth about Robert, we are convinced, is that he has found a legislative plaything which is most safe and popular Down Home where the votes are and the aliens aren't.


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