Editorial: The Patton incident (11-24-43)

The Pittsburgh Press (November 24, 1943)

Editorial: The Patton incident

There are two things about the Patton incident which could create even more harm than the incident itself.

Lt. Gen. George S. Patton, a picturesque military leader of obvious ability who had been built up to heroic proportions, struck a shell-shocked soldier twice.

When the story leaked, Allied headquarters in Africa first gave out what is now admitted to have been a “half-truth.” There is a tendency among Army, Navy and other government officials to follow this practice too often and it has frequently gotten them into trouble and undermined public confidence.

A second auxiliary angle is the threat in Congress to launch a Congressional investigation. Congress can do a lot of good by formal, well-directed inquiries. But this is a military matter. Gen. Eisenhower, who is in possession of the full facts, has taken the action he deemed wisest.

Gen. Patton’s conduct was inexcusable, but it is not a matter for civilian interference.

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