"Innocence does not utter outraged shrieks, guilt does."
- Whittaker Chambers
Conservative author Ann Coulter asks in "Treason" whether this question is legitimate. She points out that liberals claim they are the ideology of the environment, minorities, women's rights, and a host of other special interests. She then posits the notion that if they can claim the "moral high ground" on these social issues, then is it out of bounds for conservatives to claim that they are more patriotic? Patriotism is a subjective word. If one reads Webster's or most mainstream dictionaries, and applies the meanings they give for "patriot" and "patriotism," it is not a big leap to arrive at the conclusion that the word fits the traditional concept of conservative more so than liberals.
However, many people would disagree with the Webster's meaning, and argue that it is based on old-fashioned, jingoistic concepts that, they might say, have been changed by new social notions based on modern perceptions of race, war and other events. It might be argued that to embrace old traditions is to give acceptance to notions that are unsympathetic or intolerant towards minorities. Or it fails to take into account new notions of appropriate military combat, and how these notions differentiate between old identifications of "enemies," "enemy combatants" and civilians, and new versions of these groups.
To "protest" American policies is viewed as "patriotic" by many. In and of itself it very well may be. Americans take pride in the fact that they do not march in "lockstep" with the President (differentiating us most obviously from totalitarians like the Nazis and the Soviets). We have a "loyal opposition" that operates with a two- or multi-party system. Dissent breeds compromise and moderation. That this is exactly how the Founding Fathers wanted it to be.
Certainly, Republicans "dissented" against President Clinton. Much of the "unpatriotic" label is attached to liberals who protest wars that Republicans lead us into. In 2003, many found fault with President Bush's premise that war in Iraq was the right thing to do. Conservatives pointed to many in the entertainment industry who howled about Iraq, and pointed out that they had not raised a ruckus when Bill Clinton bombed Bosnia, among other smaller engagements. This is not entirely true. Some (not all) of the liberals did protest Clinton's "war," but the notion of liberals dissenting with a Democrat is not big news in the media. A lot of the protest found little coverage. The press does like to publicize liberal complaints about conservatives, and vice versa. It is part of the news cycle.
I am not in complete agreement with all of Coulter's notions. I personally would have preferred her to be less strident and confrontational, and to take greater pains to point out that she does not consider all "liberals" to be traitors. If we lived in a country in which all the people were conservative, it would be one heck of a boring place. Unrestrained by the Left, the right would tend to get heavy-handed socially and too militaristic. I have argued that conservatism is the winning ideology of history, and find that almost impossible to disagree with. But conservatism is best served blended with a diversity of thought, religion, race, military ethos, and a host of other temperances.
I have argued that Dwight Eisenhower was the greatest man of all time, with the exception of the Lord Jesus Christ. Ike tended towards the Republican party, but was not a true conservative. He defeated one, Bob Taft, in order to get the party's 1952 nomination. Ike voiced skepticism about "extreme" notions of the political spectrum, in the military, the Military Industrial Complex, and in the Republican party, until the day he passed away. Ike lived in more moderate times and responded to those times. His philosophies will always ring true. It is a difficult dividing line sometimes, separating conservatism from moderation. Often, it is only defined by particular circumstances that can change.
What Coulter did do, successfully in my view, was identify historical facts that can be disputed, but in my view not successfully (for the most part). She did not expose every little old lady or man who considers him or herself to be "liberal," and state that this automatically means they are "traitors." Just as "patriot" has its dictionary meaning, so too does "traitor." It is not an easy definition to attach to people. Actions must occur in relation to events, by and large, usually with certain results or near-results.
Opinion is not treachery. Private and public discussions do not represent treachery. What Coulter set out to do was demonstrate events that had an effect, or a possible effect, on national security, during a time of war, crisis or even "preparation" for war, and show that certain actions (or inactions) had the "whiff" of treachery. This is dangerous territory. It comes close to moralizing, finger pointing, and has the enormous potential of biting conservatives in the back in the future. We have always been judgmental, because we feel some issues are important and require judgment in order to frame them properly.
Perhaps her version of "treason" might be called the "political" one, which could be equated with the "civil" requirements needed to "prove" a case, as opposed to the higher "criminal" requirements of "proof beyond reasonable doubt." Coulter is, like me, a partisan political animal. She views these issues as part of a "political war." She is out to win it, and she has taken no prisoners in this endeavor. She is divisive, has accepted this and all that goes with it, in the context of being a national media figure.
But Coulter, by being honest in her assessments (whether one agrees or disagrees with her), separates herself from, say, Hillary Clinton, who likes to take her shots but couches them in a political vein meant to get her points made without the kind of backlash that Coulter's books engender. True, Hillary is an elected official, and Coulter is not, but "truth in advertising" among the political classes is a worthy trait indeed.
Al Franken said that what the hates the most are conservative accusations that liberals love America less. In this, he has a point - to a point. Franken loves America. From what I have heard of him, he lacks, to use an Al Campanis phrase, the "necessities" to offer expert opinion. But he has all the right in the world to offer opinion, then take his chances. Franken compares liberal "love" and conservative "love" with children and adults. Conservatives, he says, love America "like a child loves his Mommy." It is the child's whole world and can do no wrong. Liberals, he says, love America like adults love their parents. They know the mistakes they made and want to learn from them.
Franken is, in my view, off the mark. He claims that one can turn to any page and find a lie in Coulter's books, then pointed one out. I read it several times but could not see where the lie was. Besides, it was a very obtuse and off-hand reference. Coulter's book puts the lie to Franken's "child" vs. "adult" argument, because her books are carefully researched and very, very little is ever shown to be untrue. Liberals think that if they call something a lie it is a lie, which does not make it a lie. Unfortunately for them, it too often reflects accurate portrayals of things they would rather have people not be aware of.
Liberals fail to realize that conservatives have been listening to these portrayals of them, and of history, and spent decades slowly, painstakingly, building a brick-by-brick case for their positions. Conservatives knew the only weapon they really had was true facts. Accusing them of lying at this point is like accusing an athlete who was not very good in high school, but through really hard work and desire became a professional star, of not having natural talent.
I would propose that the book you are reading is an example of why Franken's "child" analogy does not hold up to scrutiny. Within this work are the most devastating facts about America's darkest adventures: The Phoenix program; CIA-orchestrated coups in Guatemala, Chile and Iran; 100 years of brutal Jim Crow laws; and many other facts about us that are subject to public scrutiny. I would dispute any assessment of my work as being "Pollyanna" or hiding the truth. It is certainly not analogous to a little kid who loves his flawed parents without seeing their flaws. Instead, I have told the story of flawed people, a flawed nation, and a flawed ideology which, in my opinion, has been guided as the world's last, best hope by a loving God, and is the worst country on the face of the Earth with the exception of all other countries on the face of the Earth. Furthermore, I offer that all subjects throughout history could be hung on a giant dartboard. Wherever the dart hits, Franken and I can discuss whatever that subject is. We can do that 100 times. I propose that 99 percent of those subjects are ones I possess real knowledge of, while he possesses little. Then we can talk about who the children are, and who the parents are.
"Liberals have a preternatural gift for always striking a position on the side of treason," says Coulter. "Everyone says liberals love America, too. No, they don't." I have italicized what I disagree with. I think liberals are more likely to side with treason, but not always. Her blanket statement that liberals do not love America cannot be justified, either. But Coulter has hit on what I have already said. She is part of a small group of conservative writers and historians who are striking back. We have grown up reading the textbooks, seen the movies, listened and viewed the news broadcasts, the specials, the documentaries, listened to our college professors and read the books, all too often slandering and lying about the land we love. Liberals have written history since World War II. Not anymore.
Coulter may be a bit "ripe," but we have decided that we have the academic credentials, the smarts, the common sense and the wherewithal to tackle a domain that liberals have for too long tried to say only they are qualified to occupy. For decades, conservatives have operated on a certain amount of instinct. The average American has spent a lifetime hearing the liberal point of view. It has long ago ceased to pass the "smell test." The "little voice" that told us thousands of times, "I don't think so" or "that sure doesn't sound right" has resounded enough. Now we are armed with the facts.
The past 55 years have brought us to a point of division. The old enemy, Nazi Germany, was easy for everybody to hate. So was Japan. Communism seemed to be that way at first, but we never fought a war with the Soviets. We fought small wars with the Chinese and Soviet client states, but these wars did not materialize into the Armageddons that the militarists warned us the Communists were itching for. Because they lacked the kind of clarity of WWII, a fair number of Americans began to question the premise of who we were, what we stood for, and most importantly, why we fight. A large number of people in other countries began to ask the same questions, but they were not "burdened" by the patriotic loyalties that are in-grained into most of us in this country. When the U.S. won the Cold War, a funny thing happened. Psychologists, and just plain folks, could identify with the mindset.
It is the feeling one gets at the end of the school year when a rival or a bully has been beaten, or they are suddenly shown to be something other than what you "feared" them to be all along. They become humanized.
"He wasn't so bad," you say to yourself, although that feeling you had is still there. This kind of thing worked on our psyches all through the 1990s. Now terrorism has replaced Communism, but Osama bin Laden looks a lot different running scared than he did right after 9/11. Slowly but surely, our fears about terrorists wane a bit. It is a natural tendency.
None of this changes the historical fact about Communism, and terrorism, too. 15 years after the Berlin Wall crashed down, it is time to take an honest assessment of who the Communists were. If we can arrive at the conclusion that they were evil and they were a threat, then it is fair to ask who helped them, who failed to stand up to them. Because that side has been writing the history, and they do not want to credit McCarthy, Nixon, Reagan and Bush. They want you to think George Kennan, Adlai Stevenson, Dean Acheson, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy won the Cold War. With all due respect, and I mean this sincerely because all those people deserve some credit, that dog don't hunt.
History is important. The winners usually write it. The first drafts are influential but over time they are replaced. We must learn from history. From the standpoint of politics, Democracy, military strategy, and national security, history ranges from the really important to a matter of life and death.
Whittaker Chambers said in the 1950s, "In this century, within the next decades, <it> will be decided for generations whether all Mankind is to become Communist, whether the whole world is to become free, or whether, in the struggle, civilization as we know it is to be completely destroyed."
Chambers was a witness to the two great faiths of our time, God and Communism.
"Communism," he said, "is the vision of man without God." Coulter writes, "Liberals chose Man. Conservatives chose God." What is prescient in Chambers' statement is that Communism, despite its evil, and despite the hatred so many heaped upon it, is and always will be enticing. It was unavailable as a practical political outlet for Americans, but many in this country were drawn to it. They could not resist it. In so doing they did its bidding in secret, on the quiet. But Chambers posits that somewhere in the middle, between freedom and Communism, is a third choice that threatens to destroy us. What he was getting at, perhaps without really knowing it, is that there is this third way called ambivalence, and that this ambivalence is the slipshod, the fissure, the crack in society. This is where the "enemies" of freedom, who cannot call themselves Nazis, or Communists, or even nationalists, are able to operate. The devil works that way. Today, this is readily identifiable as terrorism, in the name of Fundamentalist Islam, which is a particularly devilish ploy. It uses a mainstream religion to further the works of Satan. Someday it will be something else, something that foments in Africa most likely; disease, anarchy, starvation, famine, hopelessness, racism. It will have a name some day. Mark my words.
The battle for the American soul since World War II (and there were battles prior to that) has turned on pivotal moments of triumph, failure and revenge. Hiss, McCarthyism, Kennedy over Nixon, Vietnam, Watergate, the Berlin Wall, and the Clinton Impeachment are the various watersheds. Even the writing of this book, and Coulter's book, is a part of this process. In 2004, conservatism is riding high. Conservatives are out to exact a certain amount of revenge for the lies of history. The Left will counter our books. It will go on until society has either inexorably surged to a higher place, or a "big event" moves us there.
What irks the Left most is that Vietnam and Watergate failed to score them the winning touchdowns. A political scientist like Alexis de Tocqueville might have surveyed the American landscape of the 1960s and '70s - literature, music, politics, culture - and said, "The Left has won." Musicians like Jim Morrison were singing about triumphal revolution, how "their side" had won. Then Nixon won 49 states in 1972. Everybody was shocked. But Watergate seemed to be the final nail in the coffin. What the Reagan Revolution told me were two things: Conservatism was the wave of the future and nothing could hold it back, and the Left never had enough gravitas to hold onto to the top slot in the corporation in the first place. Liberals differ on this because they think it was a freak occurrence, a setback, a sidebar.
Since 9/11, liberals have slyly gone from capitalizing War on Terrorism to "war on terrorism." Before the 2003 Iraq War, the "usual suspects" formed another wonderful organization called Not In Our Name, calling Bush's proposed fight "unjust, immoral, and illegitimate." They said 9/11 compared to "similar scenes in Baghdad." Their members included Jane Fonda, Ed Asner, Susan Sarandon, Casey Kasem, Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal, Edward Said, Ben Cohen, Kurt Vonnegut, and a guy who killed a cop, named Mumia Abu-Jamal.
This group is easily dismissed as "unpatriotic," and Coulter thinks close to treasonous when considering the War on Terrorism, but are they? They offer the opinion that invading Iraq was immoral and illegitimate. They have little standing to call it illegitimate. The U.N. provided guidelines for Iraq to meet for weapons inspectors, and they failed to meet the guidelines. The U.N. did not spell out a "use of force" justification, but it was well assumed that the underlying power of the resolution was to justify such force if worse came to worse. Congress absolutely authorized force, and many Democrats signed on to it.
The "moral" question is key to this argument, and should not be dismissed lightly. Real military men like Douglas MacArthur said they could not even describe war. George Patton "loved" it, reveling in its "g(l)ory," but he was something close to crazy. I am worried for his mortal soul because of the way he felt about it. Movies like "Saving Private Ryan" are considered realistic, but can never really capture what it is.
War is about people burning to death, having their limbs and extremities blown to bits, experiencing agonizing pain. Innocent women and children die in wars, sometimes caught in burning buildings that they cannot escape from. Soldiers returning from Afghanistan, which was by no means a major conflict comparable to Korea, Vietnam, or even the Persian Gulf War, were glazed over from the experience.
Bush framed the issue around Saddam's WMD. A great deal of the pre-war hype and "justification" for it centered on Saddam's human rights abuses, but I thought this should have been elevated to the level of the WMD danger. Not In Our Name made the compelling argument that killing so many people (and their predictions were of horrible civilian death tolls, certainly far more than what happened) could not be justified. It is not not fair to simply call them unpatriotic for not backing Bush.
But where these people were off the mark was in their blatantly political agenda. They were against the war on a number of levels. My take on these kinds of groups was that they (a) Did not trust American power and (b) Hated the idea that a Republican President would gain political clout by prosecuting a successful war. There was, as far as I could detect, a lack of honesty in their protest. It was not about innocent lives. It was about a Republican President. Ed Asner may have "protested" Clinton killing 2,000 civilians in Bosnia, but his protests and those of others lacked the vociferousness of the one directed at Bush.
The Iraq War was in American interests. This gets to the heart of what Coulter argues is either unpatriotic, treasonous, or somewhere close. Liberals seem to have a big problem with winning American military campaigns that advance our agenda. They think we are too powerful, and our agenda should not be advanced any more than it already is. Where I disagree with Coulter is defining this as treason, although it seems pretty unpatriotic to me.
On the other hand, when America is at war, many factors come into play that are forgotten by history. The morale of the country, the safety of the troops and the support for their cause, are all things of worthy consideration. It may be unfair to heep the "unpatriotic traitor" label on people who protest, just because fighting men are discouraged by them, and perhaps the enemy is comforted by them, but these factors are extremely important at the height of the conflict.
When President Bush exposed and identified Iran, Iraq and North Korea as the "axis of evil," liberals went ballistic. These people cannot call something evil because they do not think America is righteous. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote a very telling article that comes closer to backing Coulter's assertions than perhaps Coulter can make. She wrote that Democrats would have to fake enthusiasm for the War on Terrorism out of fear of being labeled McGovernites, a losing political reality, and lie. What a novel concept for Democrats!
On the other hand, some things are really simple. Saddam was a bad, bad man leading a murderous regime. The U.S. was in prime position to take him out. All the machinations which might go into taking out some other maniac in the world were already hurdled. Bush is the checkers player, not the chess master. He took him out. Democrat failure to see the simplicity and goodness of this act, then or now, is worthy of some hard questioning.
Alger Hiss has been explored in detail throughout this work. Ann Coulter devotes a fair amount of time and research to this controversial character. Whittaker Chambers' accusations may well have been unheeded except for the Venona project. After the Hitler-Stalin pact, Chambers had a revelation. He realized what he believed in, Communism, was evil. He decided to inform, and spoke with Adolf Berle, President Roosevelt's Assistant Secretary of State. He provided the names of two dozen spies in the administration. This included Alger Hiss and his brother, Donald. When told, FDR told Berle to go "fuck himself." Hiss was promoted, given more responsibility, more trust and more power. The espionage accusations began to float about Washington. Dean Acheson took up the cause of defending Hiss. But through Venona, Hiss's work on behalf of the Communists was confirmed.
What happened over the next years is actually quite simple. Republicans knew Hiss was a Communist and wanted him. Democrats either (a) knew he was a Communist and liked him because of it, (b) knew he was a Communist but did not care, or (c) refused to believe the prima facie evidence of Venona. Naturally, it became political. When Chambers was called before HUAC he named Hiss as a Soviet agent. There is little use arguing the point of Hiss's Communist work. It has been detailed herein, he was convicted, honest historians knew he was a Communist, and after the Soviets imploded their archives proved it, just as they proved most everything conservatives had persuasively argued for throughout the Cold War.
The question then comes down not to whether Hiss was a traitor - he was - but whether his defenders were traitors. The Democrats went after Chambers with all their strength. The American public believed him. Throughout the 1950s, the U.S. agreed with the Republicans, Nixon and McCarthy. Truman was virtually thrown out of office, with three out of four believing Truman's administration was infiltrated by Communists, four out of five supporting HUAC, and even 71 percent of Democrats refuting the Truman charge that Communist espionage was "playing politics" on the part of Republicans.
Hiss did not want to sue Chambers for libel for the reasons that are now obvious, which was that he knew he would lose. But the Democrats shamed him into it and paid for his Harvard defense team. They slandered Chambers (who was married) as a homosexual who had been the gay lover of his brother, which was false. Even if it had been true it had nothing to do with Hiss. Hiss's defense apparently was to keep calling Chambers a "queer." Chambers simply provided loads of documentation, State Department summaries, letters he had secreted away for years, and various other irrefutable proofs. Hiss's libel case was down the tubes. A reluctant Department of Justice was forced to step in. Had Hiss just backed off the libel claim (which the Democrats forced him into) he may have been home scot-free.
Truman's lawyers at Justice tried to spin the case as an investigation of Chambers. Republicans at HUAC, realizing Democrat lies were in danger of winning the day, wanted more proof from Chambers. Chambers had feared for his life from the Communists and hidden the most damning evidence in a pumpkin patch in Maryland. Over time, he had come to realize that the Democrats were almost as dangerous to him as the Communists. For that reason he had not played his entire hand at the libel trial. He had anticipated being hailed in to criminal court by the Democrats. He wanted a final "weapon" to prevent this. Thus were the "pumpkin papers." They were "definitive proof of one of the most extensive espionage rings in the history of the United State," wrote "Perjury" author Allen Weinstein. Hiss's guilt was no longer in doubt.
Hiss evaded and lied, claiming that Chambers had gotten into his house to use his typewriter to type up his letters and spy directions. To this day, the New York Times and The Nation "believe" Chambers broke into Hiss's house to write the voluminous documents, all on Hiss's typewriter and in his inimitable communication style. Of course they know the truth, but lie about it.
The Hiss case raises serious questions about the Roosevelt/Truman Administrations, and the Democrat party in the succeeding years. The troubling sell-out of Eastern Europe, the "loss" of China, and the U.N. charter favoring the Russians cannot be ignored. The attempts by Hiss and his defenders for 50 years to uncover "new evidence" that never went anywhere begs the question not whether Hiss was a traitor, but whether Democrats had a problem with him being a traitor. The heart of the matter is that, apparently, certain acts of treason against the United States of America, if committed by the right person with the right pedigree at least, are considered good policy by Democrats.
Certainly Truman kept Hiss on at the State Department. FDR-appointed Supreme Court Justices Felix Frankfurter and Stanley Reed were Hiss's character witnesses. 1952 and 1956 Democrat Presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson vouched for him. All of this happened after it was proven that Hiss was a Communist agent.
After McCarthyism, the dominant media culture in the U.S. became, more and more, overwhelmingly liberal. This was in response to the Hiss/McCarthy era. The twin towers of media paganism were that McCarthy was evil because there were no Communists, and Hiss was innocent because there were no Communists. It became the overriding theme of schoolbooks to this very day. It dominates the thinking of a majority of the press, in all its forms. When the Soviet cables further proving Hiss's guilt was made available in the 1990s, the Washington Post ran it on page three and still said there was "no evidence." The New York Times, who championed Hiss and trotted him out whenever Nixon met political defeat (California in 1962, Watergate in 1974), now just said the "distressing episode" was "over," and wanted it to go away. In the past 10 years, the "grey lady" failed to write the final truthful chapter on Hiss; defended Clinton in the same manner Democrats had defended Hiss in the 1950s; were identified as a "big-time" asshole by a Presidential candidate who gained points from a public that agreed with the assessment; hired an unqualified affirmative action writer who exposed the paper's lack of credibility; and continued to see its reputation besmirched by various other acts of journalistic irresponsibility. Now they wonder why the New York Post, the Washington Times, Newsmax and Human Events have so many subscribers.
Chambers wrote his autobiography, "Witness". Like so many books by conservatives who tell the truth, it was a huge best seller. He needed the money. None of the liberal newspapers or magazines would hire him.
Dean Acheson, the man as responsible as any (with the exception of Communist spies working in the Truman Administration) for letting China go Red, evoked Scripture in his defense of Hiss. The liberal Left seemed to be breeding a new kind of radical. England's version of Hiss was the dashing secret agent Kim Philby. Only the conservatives (and the American public) seemed to care. As Ann Coulter wrote, "Some of their young men would grow up to be poets and some would grow up to be Bolsheviks…. Salon liberals foolishly indulged their infatuation with Communism to the peril of the country."
Modern liberals would call that hogwash and cite Cronkite's statement that a Soviet world takeover was virtually impossible. They do not give any credence to the notion that the Communists were prevented from taking over by the likes of Chambers and McCarthy, by the brave boys who fought at Choisin Reservoir and Hue, and by Reagan's hardline on SDI. To say that a system that killed 100 million human beings in a relatively short number of years was no "threat," that they had no desire to dominate the world, and that they would not do anything they could to attain those goals, is a basic failure to recognize the facts.
Worse than that, it is recognition of the facts and, in more than just a handful of cases, a desire to aid in the enemy cause. That is treason. Liberals could not live in comfort in this great nation if they actively supported Communism. One could be a member of the party, but the public would not buy their books, their newspapers, listen to their broadcasts or go to their films. So they had to hide themselves, and attempt to convince a gullible country that Communism was not a domestic threat. I am part of that country, and I, along with millions of others, am not so gullible. Book after book announced, "there were no spies," "accusations of Communism were baseless," and "charges had no grounding in fact." Meanwhile, Chambers and other ex-Communists like Elizabeth Bentley and Louis Budenz, Soviet defectors and their documentation, the Pumpkin Papers, confessions in the Rosenberg case, numerous arrests, and decades of CIA intelligence and counter-intelligence, puts the lie to this proposition.
Then there was Venona. One of the greatest heroes in U.S. history was Colonel Carter Clarke, chief of the Army's Special Branch, who heard rumors that Stalin was cutting a separate peace with Hitler. He informed Roosevelt, who said "Uncle Joe" would not betray him and left the matter uninvestigated. Clarke understood something. He understood that someday FDR would not be President. He understood that the Democrats had a different…attitude about national security. Or, as Coulter writes, "The Democrats could not be trusted." So, cloaked in secrecy, he set up a special unit to listen in on Soviet cables. By war's end, the cables showed numerous Soviet agents in the Roosevelt/Truman government.
Hoover knew about it. Very few others did. McCarthy probably did not know about it. Certain friends in the intelligence community may have given him hints. It is amazing, but the Republicans, and surely most of the people handling Venona were Republican, never used what they had against the Democrats. Is there any chance that the Democrats ever would have sat tight on such a thing if they held this over Republican heads? I offer JFK's letting the cat out of the bag with the Bay of Pigs and Democrat Watergate politics that derailed arms control agreements and caused a holocaust in Southeast Asia. Beyond this, do I really need to answer that?
As John Earl Harvey and Harvey Klehr point out in "Venona", there was "a fifth column working inside and against the United States in the Cold War". It was entirely associated with the Communist wing of the official Democrat party. Not every American Communist was a spy, but hundreds were. Deciphering who the "fellow travelers" were from the dangerous plants, handlers and saboteurs was imperative. It required asking questions, and one of those questions was, "Are you now, or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?" Hiss and Harry Dexter White may just have been two of the highest-ranking Communists, but this did not mean there were not others above them, or that those below them were not a major security threat.
The Communist witness Elizabeth Bentley was called the "Blonde Spy Queen." Both then and now, liberals discredited her as a "neurotic spinster," "hardly a reliable informant," and in 1994 The Nation thought her naming of almost 150 people could not be counted on because she drank and made a few mistakes spelling names and remembering dates. They never said a peep over Hillary's numerous "I can't recalls" in relation to the various crimes she committed. Venona, however, confirmed Bentley's testimony.
Ann Coulter makes a phenomenal comparison in "Treason" that demonstrates just how deep the Communists were into the Democrat-led government.
"To understand how deep were the Soviet tentacles in the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations, try to imagine a parallel universe today.
"Paul Wolfowitze, Bush's Deputy Secretary of Defense, would be a member of Al Qaeda taking orders from Osama bin Laden.
"Alger Hiss, Assistant Secretary of State under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Identified as a Soviet spy in Venona."
Coulter goes on to compare Harry Dexter White, FDR's Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, who conspired with Soviet spy Frank Coe and Solomon Adler to kill "critical" loans to Nationalist China when they were desperately fighting Mao Tse-Tung, to a Treasury Department employee who might block a key loan to Israel that allowed them to fall to Al Qaeda terrorism or Arab invasion. Hoover knew all about White but was restrained from going after him by the Democrats.
Lauchlin Currie, FDR's administrative assistant, would be compared to Bush aide Andrew Card. Duncan Lee, head of the Office of Strategic Services, and like the others a Venona spy, would be compared to an assistant to CIA Director George Tenet. Harry Hopkins, identified by former agent Oleg Gordievsky in "K.G.B." The Inside Story", by Anatoly Akhmerov as a spy of "major significance," held current chief of staff Karl Rove's position.
FDR's Vice-President Henry Wallace said, "America's main enemy was Churchill and the British Empire." Peace would come about "if the United States guaranteed Stalin control of Eastern Europe." Wallace backed Stalin's seizure of Czechoslovakia, the blockade of Berlin, and described the gulags as "a combination TVA and Hudson Bay Company." Wallace was actually a Communist who, had Roosevelt died just a year and a half earlier would have been President, running for four more years as a war time leader in 1944. The Wallace story is about all we really need to know about Communist espionage and the Democrats. It answers the fundamental question. They were tolerated because they represented a political viewpoint that the party endorsed. Coulter compares Wallace to Vice-President Cheney being "starstruck" by Saddam Hussein.
Owen Lattimore was a roving strategist during the Roosevelt years, surrounded by Communist spies. His position would be comparable to Richard Perle surrounding himself with Al Qaeda operatives. Jospeh Davis, FDR's Ambassador to the Soviet Union, told the A.P. in 1946 that, "Russia <note that liberals always called it 'Russia,' as in `Mother Russia,' never the 'Union of Soviet Socialist Republics' or other totalitarian monikers> in self-defense has every moral right to seek atomic bomb information through military espionage if excluded from such information by her former fighting allies." This was Robert Oppenheimer's view. It was carried out by the Rosenberg's with the help of their brother. It can be compared to defense of Saddam's gassing of the Kurds, and frankly might explain why the current Democrats seem to be doing all they can to discredit and make sure we do not find Saddam's nuclear program. Could it be there are too many modern Democrat hands on them?
Harold Ickes, FDR's Interior Secretary (his son was Clinton's Deputy Chief of Staff), was a member of the Stalinist League for Peace and Democracy. Coulter compares him to Gale Norton being a member of the Al Qaeda front, Benevolence International Foundation. Roosevelt calling Stalin "Uncle Joe" would be like Bush referencing "Uncle Osama" or "good ol' Saddam." Truman called Stalinist Russia "our friends," which is like calling Hitler, Mao or Pol Pot a fine man. Stalin had killed 20 million when Truman said what he said, and Truman knew about it. Stalin's reasoning was that, "One death is a tragedy but a million is only a statistic." Hollywood loved that, letting Jon Lithgow say in "Cliffhanger" that "Kill 10 people you're a murderer. Kill a million and you're a conqueror."
The Communists, you see, thought they could not make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. One can only read this stuff and thank a benevolent God that a nation called the United States became extant and powerful enough, despite the traitors in her midst, to end such horrors.
McCarthy identified it as "a conspiracy on a scale so immense as to dwarf any previous venture in the history of man. A conspiracy so black that, when it is finally exposed, its principals shall be forever deserving of the maledictions of honest men." Truman liked "old Joe." Stalin, not McCarthy. McCarthy's "conspiracy" statement has been lambasted for decades. "Conspiracy" theories have since been associated with nutcases. In "Dr. Strangelove", Sterling Hayden's General Jack Ripper goes completely off the deep end, believing the commies have conspired to steal his "essence" through fluoridation. The intent is clear: Make people laugh at the absurdity of militarists and conservatives, and for God's sake remind them of McCarthy. For years I have sat in darkened movie theatres, heard such comparisons, insinuations, outright lies and utter biases, and whispered, often not so quietly, "Bullshit!"
Other top FDR Communists included Laurence Duggan of the Latin desk at State, Frank Coe (IMF representative), Duncan Lee (OSS) and atomic scientist Klaus Fuchs. Hoover constantly sent memos on all of the above-named people. The Prime Minister of Canada warned the Americans. Soviet defectors warned us. Ex-Communists warned us. Only the Republicans listened.
When Ike took over, he had Attorney General Herbert Brownell reveal Truman's appointment of spies to top positions. Truman said he had not seen the FBI report. Hoover produced the copy he had sent Truman. Why is so much of this "news" to you, dear reader? It is not revelation. It has been known for years. But the liberal information founts that tell you what they think you should know have made it necessary for you to be a researcher and an archivist in order to find it out.
By the way, you're welcome.
Lauchlin Currie warned the Soviets that their code had been cracked. Coulter pointed out that despite this they made few changes, attributing this to "Soviet work ethic" and stating that had they had a "profit motive" they might have done a more efficient job. There are times when I am ready to fall in love with Ann Coulter. Currie eventually fled like a rat to Colombia. Coe ended up in Red China. Another Communist, Noel Field, went to Hungary. Duggan committed suicide. White died of stress. Liberal historians and college professors would have you believe McCarthy drove them to their deaths or lives in various "Communist paradises." Eleanor Roosevelt, poet Archibald MacLeish, Drew Pearson (and his protege, Jack Anderson), and Edward R. Murrow were just a few of the "useful idiots" who spent years and a great deal of energy defending these dead, disgraced and defected Communists.
"McCarthyism" is the name attributed to all of this. Even many of the spies were identified long before McCarthy's Wheeling, West Virgina speech. The Rosenberg's, for instance, had nothing to do with McCarthy. They were "cause celebs" among liberal elites, writes Coulter, who also disproves much of the myth about McCarthy and Hollywood. The "horror," the "Gestapo tactics," the "totalitarian atmosphere," the "Nazi police tactics" of McCarthyism can be summed up in Coulter's description of what happened to the tiny number of affected writers:
"You mean he couldn't do screenplays under his own name and had to fire the gardener and clean his pool in Bel Air by himself? No! That is shocking!"
Actor Humphrey Bogart summed up it nicely when he referred to the Hollywood Ten as, "Uniquely untalented," explaining that those whose careers were "ruined" owed it more to bad scripts than bad politics. The liberals, who for some reason are made up of an inordinate number of Jews, took to the Rosenberg case as their own. They wanted to use it to show that the U.S. was "Fascistic" like the country we had just finished sending to the ash heap of history, and that we were bent on executing nice Jewish folks from the Bronx. As Coulter pointed out, the smiling personage of Ike, who had led the "Crusade in Europe," did not allow this image to add up. Mountains of evidence convicted the Rosenbergs then, and in subsequent years reams more corroborated guilt utterly and absolutely without doubt. The Left still protested on their behalf with great fervor.
They were "total Communists or complete idiots," according to Coulter, who demonstrates that they tried to equate Stalinist tyranny with McCarthyism. If you want to count a couple of suicides, then the score on this one is still Stalin 20 million, McCarthy three.
An engineer in the Soviet spy ring, Joel Barr, fled to Russia the day the Rosenbergs were arrested, with all his belongings still in his Paris apartment. Another, Alfred Sarant, left his wife and child (but took his neighbor's wife) just as fast. The Russians put them to work on radar-guided anti-aircraft artillery and SAM missiles, used to shoot down John McCain and his fellow pilots in Vietnam. In 1992, Barr came to the States to collect his Social Security benefits (once a New Dealer always a New Dealer), and Ted Koppel interviewed him on that bastion of fair and balanced news shows, Nightline. Despite the above evidence, Koppel said Barr's espionage was still in question, and that being a Communist was okay during World War II (of course Barr fled during the Korea War against Communism). The Left always tried to equate our "deal with the devil," alliance with Stalin, as endorsement of his ideology. Churchill had advocated "crushing" him in the 1920s. Image how history would have changed had Communism been snuffed out in 1927. Presidents Harding, Coolidge and Hoover refused to recognize Stalin. Roosevelt did. Coulter says that in 50 years Nightline will (unless conservatives have changed the nature of the medium, which they just may) air a special on American Taliban JohnWalker Lindh, shedding doubt on what he did in Afghanistan.
Barr was allowed to vote again. He liked Clinton.
Coulter saves her greatest revelations of Truth to McCarthyism, a term she disparages and compares to grouping the "violence o the Black Panthers, the Weathermen, SDS, and drunk drivers under the name 'Kennedyism.'" The fact that "HUAC" is linked with "McCarthyism" is an example, since HUAC was an organ of the House, but McCarthy was in the Senate.
Oscar Shaftel was a Communist who was fired from his teaching job in New York when people found out he was a Communist. Did he go to jail? No, he just became a journalist like all the other liberals, who in turn wrote the misinformed history of McCarthy for years. His fate was the result of the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, which McCarthy was not associated with, but he is just one example of a man who was called for years a "victim of Joe McCarthy." McCarthy was "associated" with the Smith Act. Communists liked the Smith Act at first because it was used aggressively against Fascists and rounding up Japanese. They disliked it when it was used against them. McCarthy had nothing to do with it, either.
McCarthy did identify and have removed dozens of Soviet operatives working in sensitive government jobs. He also attempted to use discretion in his investigative techniques. But the liberals turned this against him. A case in point was the Democrat foreign policy wonk, Owen Lattimore. McCarthy suspected Lattimore but had not yet gained proof. He chose to keep Lattimore's name confidential until proof, one or the other, could be delivered. Drew Pearson (whose lies about Truman's Secretary of Defense, James Forrestall, had driven the man to suicide) then leaked Lattimore's name as proof that McCarthy was ruining people's reputations. Pearson ended up telling the truth by way of his lie, because eventually Lattimore was found to be Red.
McCarthy chose to refer not to "named Communists," but to "security risk number one" or "case number two" and the like. As early as 1948, Truman was saying it was the Republicans (who had formed HUAC and were being led by Nixon) who were "friendly" to Communists and who were comparable to Fascists. Meanwhile, hundreds of Communists formulated Truman's foreign policy, at a time when he let China go Red and the Soviets went nuclear.
"Anyone with liberals views" was called a Communist, said Helen Silverstein in 1947. Soviet cables proved her liberal views ran to Soviet espionage. Her husband was a spy, too. He was actually awarded a medal by the Soviets while in the employ of the Roosevelt Administration. McCarthy has been vilified for "destroying" people and investigating their "personal lives" by the same poeple who think it just fine that Hillary Clinton and James Carville could go after and attempt to destroy Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers, Kathleen Willey and other women for having the temerity to have been sexually harassed, assaulted and raped by Bill Clinton. Liberals who call the 1950s a "frightening period" have a point only in the way terrorists might refer to the Bush Presidency as a "frightening period." If you were a Communist, you darn well should have been frightened that a real American like McCarthy was finding you out.
Ethel Roenberg's children described being called "commie" by their classmates. The San Francisco Chronicle compared these everyday taunts of schoolkids to American "totalitarianism." What Coulter points out about McCarthyism and its aftermath is that the liberals, knowing that Hiss, Rosenberg and association with 100 million murders, if admitted, documented, and exposed in the kind of thorough manner that Germany and Nazism were associated with the Holocaust, would end the Democrat party. They had to cling to their lies. Over time, conservatives moved on, ceding the matter to them. Not anymore. In the 1990s, Democrats were up against the wall with Bill Clinton in much the same way.
"'Blacklist survivor' Norma Barzman described her 'exile' in Paris thus," writes Coulter. "'We had dinner with Picasso every Tuesday night when we were at our country house in Provence. Yves Montand and Simone Signoret, Jacques Prevert were all friends. Plus we got to work with all the amazing European directors including Vittorio De Sica and Constantin Costa-Gavras. It was hard, but it was also the time of my life.'
"Meanwhile, back in the country they preferred people were being whisked off to Soviet gulags in the dead of night…
"10 Hollywood scribblers who subscribed to an ideology responsible for murder by the million refused to admit their membership in the Communist Party to a House Committee. All they had to do was 'fes up. But they felt they had the right not to tell the truth, so they were briefly jailed for contempt. This created a slight setback in their dinners with Picasso. The horror."
I could not have said it better myself.
The "Blacklist" of the 1950s is in no possible way comparable to the current blacklist. Elia Kazan, who named Communists and is one of the greatest directors of all time, is on the outs because of it. Openly conservative Republican screenwriters, directors and even actors are faced with de facto "Conservatives need not apply" signs up and down Sunset Boulevard. "Guilty By Suspicion" (1991), starring Robert De Niro, was the closest Hollywood film to telling the truth about the Blacklist. It involved a real director named Robert Merrill who had attended Communist meetings in the 1930s. The film naturally takes the position that even though he attended, and his friends attended, none of them were actually Communists. Their motivation was to feed starving Russians.
Eventually, the director was named. The studios asked him to cooperate and name the others who had attended the meetings. The director refused to "rat" on his friends and colleagues. His career dried up for a few years. It assumes that he was talented and in enough demand to maintain a position as an A-list director in a business that chews people up and spits them out regardless of political ideology. "Guilty By Suspicion" at least does not paint Merrill's case as being the direct result of Joe McCarthy's investigation, since his and almost all Hollywood people dealt with HUAC, not McCarthy, prior to Wheeling anyway. It addresses the legitimate question of whether it was fair to ask suspected Communists to name other suspected Communists. HUAC and others did lay a heavy hand on some of these people by taking the position of forcing them to choose between themselves and their colleagues, although it is a common police tactic used long before and since then. What the Communist apologizers fail to understand, however, is the urgency and importance of national security. Call me cold-hearted, but it is my personal belief that after the fall of Eastern Europe, the loss of China, the atomic explosion in Russia, American boys fighting in Korea, Communist expansion in Latin America, what we knew about Communist espionage in the West, and what the few who knew about Venona further knew at that time, asking people to cooperate in an effort to secure American safety and way of life was not unreasonable. As Coulter further points out, being a Communist was not illegal. Being identified as one just hurt careers in Hollywood, just as murdering ones' wife, getting caught masturbating in a theatre, or molesting kids would.
"They could still go to Paris or sell real estate…" writes Coulter. "They just couldn't work in the movies <for a few years>. That was the only price they paid for shilling for a mass murderer."
In all the years since World War II, there has never been a real film depicting Communist atrocities. Films and TV shows about the Holocaust abound. There have been depictions of Stalin and others, but they have always focused on the war, the strategy, and usually the suffering of the hardy Russian people. Nothing memorializes the 100 million dead, however. Not even Solzhenitzyn's "Gulag Archipelago" was made into a movie.
I was hired to write a screenplay about Josyp Terelya, who had been held in the gulags for years, but survived because of his strong Christian faith. Terelya described 20 years in the Soviet prison system in a book called "Witness" (the same name as Chambers' autobiography). The horrors of his captivity match anything that happened at Auschwitz. The difference is that Terelya was not held in this hellhole for three or four years, like most Jews, but for two decades. Hollywood never bought it.
Later, evidence surfaced that the decision by many Communists to take the Fifth was an order from Stalin, since they did more value to the "cause" as martyrs. On the home front, Owen Lattimore said that Stalin's show trials might be excessive to those on trial, but that it was okay because it encouraged others to tell the truth.
The mythmakers say that McCarthy caused people to commit suicides. It is not true. Dustin Hoffman's father in "Marathon Man" was supposed to have been driven to such an end, although to William Goldman's credit he does not directly attribute the death to McCarthy. A man named Ray Kaplan supposedly committed suicide before testifying after he said he was happy to do so. It had nothing to with McCarthy accusing him of Communism, but on the Senate floor a VOA employee stood up and shouted at McCarthy, "You murdered Ray Kaplan." The liberal press ran with it and turned it into "fact." McCarthy suspected Communists murdered Kaplan because he was going to expose their ring and its plans regarding the VOA. McCarthy biographer David Oshinsky was just one of many who built on the "driven to suicide" notion attributed to McCarthy.
"It would be as if Linda Tripp had turned up dead during the investigation of Bill Clinton, and liberals decided to blame Ken Starr," wrote Coulter.
McCarthy was not after Hollywood or "little guys." He suspected what all of us have suspected, that in the elite salons of the liberal establishment, "sedition always held a strange attraction for Ivy League types," wrote Coulter. Coulter veers from me in her association of George C. Marshall and even Dwight Eisenhower as part of an establishment that tolerated this sedition. My view is that a chairborn, striped-pants State Department desk chief, or a pampered Hollywood playboy, does not deserve the benefit of the doubt that I attribute to the likes of Marshall and Eisenhower. Marshall's supposed lack of vision regarding his own Marshall Plan and various accusations regarding Marshall's WASP standoffishness being the reason he failed to stop China from going to the Communists do not measure up to the sterling words of praise that every world leader had for his steadfast performance during World War II. While he may have allowed himself to "go establishment" after years surrounded by the Democrats, I will not berate General Marshall in these pages.
Ike was, and I repeat, the greatest single man this world has produced other than Christ. He and Marshall were attacked by McCarthy, which was stupid on McCarthy's part. McCarthy was feeling intense pressure by then from his liberal enemies. He had begun to drink heavily, and he made mistakes. Failing to respect Marshall and Eisenhower were his two biggest ones. Ike called him on the carpet and reamed him out up one side and down the other, the way only military men can do. There is an almost regal splendor to their use of swear words as cutting edges. Ike did so not because McCarthy was going after Communists. He spoke to Hoover and knew about Venona. But as titular head of the Republican party, facing re-election in 1956, trying to hold the fragile Republican majority that existed for those short years together, he saw McCarthy as hurting the cause. McCarthy's purpose was valid, but his methods had swayed from their original course.
In determining who "lost" China, Marshall is not the one to blame. Owen Lattimore, on the other hand, swayed Truman's policy away from Chiang Kai-Shek in favor of Mao Tse-Tung. When McCarthy went after him for it, he coined the phrase "McCarthyism." When called before McCarthy, Lattimore said he did not work at the State Department even though he took phone calls there, had an office there, and answered mail sent to him there. He regularly gave a State Department extension as the place to reach him. It was as if the liar James Carville or the infamous Thomason's said they "never worked at the White House."
Lattimore's lies resulted in perjury convictions. The New York Times consistently lies and says he was acquitted, when in fact they were later dropped on technicalities. Lattimore was a political gadfly, never assigned specific duties under FDR but used as a special advisor on foreign affairs. His hands were all over China. His own numerous writings are rife with apologist Stalinist propaganda. His own lack of official status with the White House was precisely what allowed him to work so closely with Communist spies. Whether FDR actually knew what he was and encouraged it is not really known. Perhaps FDR felt it was of value to have a "fellow traveler" working with Communists, who felt they could trust him. Maybe it started that way and became a dedication to the Soviet way. Maybe, and this may be a fair assessment of some (maybe not a lot) of the American Communists, they "loved" America but wanted her to change to socialism. They knew it would never happen Democratically. Since they felt they were the elites who were charged with thinking for the rest of us, they decided to take it upon themselves to do the "brave " work of letting the Communists into our world, for our own good, of course. Maybe they did not want the Soviets blowing us up with atomic bombs or attacking our cities, and they trusted "Uncle Joe" not to do that. The fact that they were "useful idiots" and worse, and Stalin would have bombed us to the Stone Age if he could have gotten away with it, is what makes them such historically dangerous figures.
To this day, however, liberals say that Lattimore resisted a "reign of terror" that in their minds is worse than the guillotines of 1790s Paris. All who believe in freedom are in Lattimore's debt, according to the Left. In reality millions who died under Mao should on their graves have the words, "Owen Lattimore sold me out."
Graduate students who attempt to research the truth about McCarthyism find themselves facing academic blacklists. I.F. Stone had advocated suppressing Fascist speech. Certainly anything opposing civil rights uttered by a white man was worthy of being made illegal, according to Stone. McCarthyism caused him to, uh, change his mind regarding free speech. Stone was a darling of the joined-at-the-world elite academia and journalism. He backed every Communist from Henry Wallace to Ho Chi Minh. In 1992 declassified Soviet cables identified Stone as a paid agent. A few years later, more Soviet archives confirmed it. He had an NKVD handler. Victor Navasky wrote, "if you accept the Venona documents, then you have to accept that I.F. Stone…was a Communist agent."
Stone's Communism raised the greatest firestorm among liberal reviewers of Coulter's book, which is interesting. Stone's identity was discovered and made public 11 years prior to "Treason's" publication, and re-confirmed nine years prior. Coulter's fairly short treatment of Stone was not new or revelatory. It rehashed known facts. Yet it has been used by more than any to discredit the book as "lies." Two things are striking about this. The first is that calling known facts lies is as credible as stating, "California is not a state in the American Union," or "There is no such thing as the Pacific Ocean." More telling, however, is the emphasis on Stone, who was not as big a name as Walter Cronkite or Edward R. Murrow. Stone was hailed as a "giant figure," but he really was only a giant figure among a small group of liberal elites. His treatment by reviewers shows that the reviewers are all liberals, and that Coulter stepped on some sensitive toes.
It is, sometimes, an uphill struggle, but a worthy one.
Just as the Left protects Stone's place in history with particular vigor, so to is David Horowitz vilified. Horowitz outrages liberals in the manner that Clarence Thomas outrages the black lobby. Because unlike Ann Coulter, a Connecticut WASP blonde who effects the airs of the upper crust, she is therefore "easy" to hate. But Horowitz is a New York Jew raised by Communists. He was weaned on Communism, spoonfed it, and knows it because he grew up with it, the way Bill Clinton was raised in the underworld of Arkansas' political Mafia. Horowitz knew where all the bodies were buried, who was on the take, the role of unions in the C.P., and how New York Jews used their identity in the post-war years to raise a moral front in the face of McCarthyism.
Horowitz's parents were fired from their job as New York City schoolteachers because they were Communists. In the subsequent years, these kinds of firings have been dredged up and reported as the worst kind violent, forceful hatred inflicted by the right on the Left.
"What actually happened to my father and American Communists in general bears little resemblance to these lurid images," Horowitz says, and in telling the truth he is called the worst kind of traitor to his "people." If "his people" are Jews, then it stretches credulity that a system that killed millions of Jews because they were Jews, particularly when Stalin initiated a specific anti-Semitic plan in the early 1950s (for reasons that are not clear), could be condoned by Jews.
Horowitz woke up to the radicalism all around him before it was too late. He had been part of the horrid world of Noam Chomsky and Gore Vidal. The hatred these two vipers of the Left spew for Horowitz today leaves many with the feeling that, if they could do it without leaving evidence, they would kill Horowitz after torturing him. Is this surprising since they shill for a system that did just that to so many?
Even though we now know that over 300 Soviet spies worked for the U.S. government (which is probably a very low figure), and McCarthy was going after them, he was beaten up beyond comprehension. Every insinuation and innuendo was made against him. His top investigator, Roy Cohn, was homosexual, but it is by far not confirmed whether his aide, David Schine, was. McCarthy was a bachelor until relatively late in late, but he dated women (including one of the Kennedy sisters), and married an attractive woman in the 1950s. The Communist playwright Lillian Hellman, who was portrayed lovingly by Jane Fonda, called Cohn, Schine and McCarthy "Bonnie, Bonnie, and Clyde." The Las Vegas Sun called McCarthy a "disreputable pervert." These attacks were very hurtful. The Left learned from them, using the "gay smear" campaign against J. Edgar Hoover's memory.
The amount and vociferousness of the lies against McCarthy piled up beyond comprehension. I have chosen not to detail all of it here. It is worthy of an entire book. I heartily recommend getting more on this in Ann Coulter's "Treason". Drew Pearson, who Coulter called the "Larry Flynt of his day," threatened blackmail on McCarthy's supporters. The New York Post ran a 17-page series of untrue charges. McCarthy began to sue the papers and won libel damages and apologies. McCarthy was accused of having the postman spy on the mail of a fellow Senator, exposing personal peccadilloes of opponents (alcoholism, adultery, homosexuality), and various other charges. Despite the allegations of criminal activity, slander and libel against McCarthy, nobody ever succeeded in proving anything in court, despite every possible advantage in gathering such facts if they had in fact been facts. McCarthy never paid a dime in defamation charges.
James Reston, the Washington bureau chief of the New York Times, despised McCarthy and assigned a reporter who had once been a member of the C.P. to cover him. Reston refused to concede that the reporter was biased.
McCarthy's war record had indeed been glorified somewhat beyond what it really was. This was completely normal among the post-war political class, but the press attempted to paint his Marine flying career as a total lie. They never went after Lyndon Johnson, who never actually joined the Navy but flew some junkets to the war, orchestrated paperwork that made him look like he was in the Navy, and then awarded himself the Silver Star. Later, Johnson manipulated FCC rules in order to assure himself of millions in radio stations in Texas, but the press let him slide on this, too. Meanwhile, McCarthy flew combat missions.
"…He took enemy fire from savage Oriental beasts and fired back as a tail gunner," wrote Coulter. Those Oriental beasts would have tortured him savagely if the plane had crashed and he had been taken as a POW.
The most lasting memory of McCarthyism is a bow-tied attorney named Joseph Welch berating him during the Army-McCarthy hearings with the famous utterance, "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"
The Chicago Sun-Times declared Welch's speech was in reference to McCarthy's "investigations into phantom Communists in the Army." Two such "phantoms" included Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Julius was an Army engineer. Ethel's brother was in the Army Signal Corps and worked with them on obtaining the secrets they gave to the Communists. It was precisely because of them and hundreds of other real and actual "phantoms" that McCarthy had gone after the Army. Cells had been discovered in the Army.
Ike and Marshall were both sensitive to these charges, for obvious reasons. McCarthy's mistake was in going after the Army, and even after them, in a blatant, public manner. He should have taken the matter to Eisenhower, presented the President with the evidence he had, and a smart decision on how best to handle it should have been made. I seriously doubt Ike would have told McCarthy to "Go fuck yourself," as FDR did when presented with evidence of Hiss's espionage.
Further inflaming the situation was Schine's special treatment after he was drafted, ostensibly so he could finish his work with the committee while going through basic training. Cohn had a crush on Schine, and the matter was largely his fault, not McCarthy's. Cohn was convinced, probably correctly, that Schine had been drafted specifically as "payback" for their investigation of the Army. It has been assumed that Schine was Cohn's gay lover, but most of the evidence actually points the other way - towards Schine being something of a ladies man.
Drew Pearson was apparently responsible for Schine being drafted, but Schine had a slipped disk that normally would have exempted him. Pearson maintained the pressure. Schine entered training, and the press hounded every step of the process. McCarthy was loyal to Cohn, who he believed was indispensable to his work. When the media went into overdrive, McCarthy began to drink heavily. Democrats "behaved like animals - sneering, interrupting, and catcalling…" during hearings, writes Coulter. Welch was the attorney for the Army. In a two-hour harangue of Cohn he portrayed the McCarthy-Cohn-Schine team as homosexual lunatics. Liberals, the great champions of gay rights, love to demonstrate the perversions of gays if it can be applied to Republicans. Welch went on and on, speaking in sing-song. He asked Cohn detailed questions that would have required him to refer to notes and documents. If Cohn did not have the answer at his fingertips, Welch patronized him, laughed at him, and made fun of the very notion that any Communists existed in America.
Cohn held firm, answered, "Yes, sir," or "no, sir," or "I will try, sir," and attempted to use common sense. The Democrats who lined the gallery were laughing at him. It was a "show trial," a "kangaroo court." Welch kept returning to a familiar theme, which was, "Where are the Communists?", "Who are the Communists," "name me some Communists," and the like. Cohn gave some names but was never allowed to finish his sentences. Welch asked about some suspected Communists, insinuating that Cohn had made false accusations without facts. Cohn attempted to explain that some people under surveillance by the FBI or under committee investigation were not proven to be Communists - yet - but that was the purpose of the investigation, to determine one way or another if they were, and what kind of security risk they might be. Cohn tried to reasonably point out the difference between a Communist and a Communist spy, and why a Communist in a sensitive government position was more dangerous than an average citizen who happened to be a member of the C.P.
This was the heart of the truth about McCarthy. He had not gone after Hollywood, because they were not government employees. HUAC and others had indeed gone after Hollywood because they had influence over society through the power of their medium. But McCarthy's concerns were not with Communists, but with Communist spies and saboteurs who were in a position to do real damage. These explanations were met by jeers and sing-song interruptions by Welch. However, in asking Cohn to name Communists, he walked right into it.
McCarthy interrupted at this point and said that in Welch's own law firm was a "Mr. Fisher," who was still an employee at that time. Fisher's name was known by McCarthy. McCarthy had not identified Fisher publicly, along with numerous other suspects, because the investigation was not complete and he wanted to name only true Communists, not shed suspicion on those who might be innocent. But Fisher's status was rock solid: He was a Red. He had been identified as one not by McCarthy or Cohn, but by Eisenhower's Attorney General. Fisher was a member of an organization that the U.S. government had determined was the "legal bulwark of the Communist Party."
"I have hesitated bringing that up, but I have been rather bored with your phony requests to Mr. Cohn here that he personally get every Communist out of government before sundown," McCarthy told the flabbergasted Welch. "Therefore, we will give you information about the young man in your own organization."
Welch had asked for Communists, and now he was being granted his request. They were in his law firm. McCarthy, knowing such a bombshell was best exploded in private, where the facts could be absorbed and pride did not have to be ruffled out in the open, had wanted to keep the information out of the discussion. Welch's badgering had gotten the best of him. Now Welch was placed in the position of having all that he stood and argued for fall apart in his face. Red with embarrassment, at that point Welch's response was really quite normal. He had been taken apart in front of God and everybody by a man he loathed and did not think had what it took to best him intellectually (this has always been the "secret weapon" of conservatives). Welch needed to, as the Japanese say, "save face." Admitting then and there that McCarthy was right on was not an option.
Fisher had been a big problem for Welch, who thought he had taken care of the matter the "liberal way." Welch said McCarthy was "cruel" and "reckless," and explained that Fisher had gone to Harvard Law School, which in Welch's view made him innocent of all wrongdoing, but told the commonsensical that the chances he was a Communist were greater due to his schooling.
Welch had indeed found out that Fisher was a Communist, who had worked for the National Lawyers Guild, the C.P. "legal bulwark" in question. Welch's method of "fixing" the situation was indeed telling. He had gone to the New York Times and told them about it. In return the Times had written a sympathetic story "explaining" that Fisher had been a member of the Guild. Officially, Welch had named Fisher, but the blow had been softened by a liberal story that for all practical purposes forgave Fisher for his indiscretion and painted him as a fine American. Of course, in the Times' world, being a Communist was the best example of being a fine American.
McCarthy and Cohn had not jumped on the Fisher case. They did not have all the facts and chose to wait until the case, like all the cases they investigated, were locked up tight. Now McCarthy was "naming" a man who Welch had already named. Welch was calling McCarthy cruel for naming him the man he named! Naturally, the New York Times excoriated McCarthy for naming Fisher after the Times had named him first.
"Little did I dream you could be so reckless and cruel as to do injury to that lad," Welch said to McCarthy. Apparently, stating that Fisher was a Communist (true) was cruel. Telling the New York Times that Fisher was a Communist but (wink, wink) we all know that make him a good fellow was not cruel.
Welch went on to say that he could not forgive McCarthy for providing the information that Welch provided. McCarthy pointed out that Welch had named Fisher first, and that Welch had "baited" Cohn. Realizing that McCarthy had logic on his side, suddenly Welch said, "I mean you no injury, sir," and "let's move on." Liberals always want to move on after their lies have been identified and exposed. The Clinton's way of doing it was to explain that they had to "move on so I can get back to work for the American people."
Welch looked at McCarthy and said, "Let us <us, he said, as in both of us, as in me, he should have said> not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You have done enough. Have you no decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"
I am a historian, and all my life I did not know the details of this exchange until I read "Treason" by Ann Coulter. Reporters, who had seen the exchange as it has been explained herein, but who were rooting for Welch, began to applaud. They built upon their own applause to create an imaginary victory for Welch; a desperate re-structuring of the truth, a denial of what they had just seen. McCarthy's identification of a tried-and-true Communist had answered Welch's question. Welch had defended this Communist, which was no different than defending a Nazi. The climate of liberalism had pervaded the media and the Democrats in the post-Hiss years. It was hateful and unpatriotic. It was so desperate to score points against McCarthy, the Republicans and conservatism that it had lost all honor or sense of truth. The question Welch asked McCarthy was blatantly applicable to their own sad state of affairs. Communism was better (to them) than being on the losing side of history, especially when the winners were the likes of Richard Nixon, Joe McCarthy and Roy Cohn. In a way, it is understandable. A psychologist could surely name a syndrome that describes the mindset. But the Hiss/McCarthy era was the dividing line of American politics. Since then, the Left has reserved so much hatred for the right that they have never been able or willing to own up to their own perfidy. The Kennedys came along and provided illusions of grandeur. Vietnam and the counter-culture actually made them think they had won, or at least were winning. Tet had changed the dynamic in a lasting manner. Nixon took 49 states, but Watergate - surely, Watergate - was the final nail in the Republican coffin. But the G.O.P. was like a football team that keeps falling behind, and led by brilliant quarterbacks (think Roger Staubach winning the Heisman at Navy and the Super Bowl for Dallas), refuses to quit and, through sheer force of excellence, continues to surge forward with touchdown after touchdown. At this point, it is a runaway. Guess who is winning.
Reporters are supposed to be professional. In sports, very often an announcement will be heard or posted on the wall in press boxes, "No rooting." In 1975, the Boston media broke this rule when Carlton Fisk hit his "body English" home run to win game six of the World Series against Cincinnati. That day in 1954, they did the same thing, rooting for Welch with cheers, boos, catcalls, hissing at McCarthy in a shameless display.
Welch had put on the performance of a lifetime. He cried and sobbed for the victim Fred Fisher, then as soon as the cameras were off of him perked up and asked an assistant, "Well, how did it go?"
Bill Clinton must have seen this act, because years later at Ron Brown's funeral he came in laughing and telling a dirty joke. When he saw that the cameras were pointed at him his face went somber and he wiped an imaginary tear from his eye.
The New York Times then went into high gear to rehabilitate Fisher. The National Lawyers Guild became, in their subsequent articles, an organization that worked with unions and civil rights organizations. Attorney General Herbert Brownell had identified them as the C.P.'s law firm, much like "The Firm" that Tom Cruise worked for in John Grisham's novel/movie was the mob's law firm (that film could be used to explain how Southern pols like Bill Clinton who get away with what they get away with). Brownell did not say that the Guild "might" be Communist, or was "thought to be" Communist. The investigative powers of the United States Justice Department had conducted their investigation, done the analysis, and reached the conclusion that they were Red. The Times still called them allegedly subversive, which was like saying that the New York Giants, who won that year's World Series in four straight over Cleveland, were allegedly the World Champions.
The victim Fisher, the target of McCarthy's "assassination," one of those whose lives were "ruined" by the witch hunts, was made partner at a prestigious Boston firm, became president of the Massachusetts Bar Association, and made a ton of dough. Only in America.
McCarthy had revealed the truth. He had stumped Welch in open court, surprising him with a witty, think-on-his-feet riposte, the secret weapon of so many underestimated conservative minds. But in winning the battle he had lost the war. It was as if the New York Times told the Giants, after beating the Indians, that their official scorer ruled it for Cleveland.
If ever the O'Reilly Factor was needed it was then.
"What did I do?" asked McCarthy of his aides. They had no answer. The press played Welch's soliloquy, leaving out all the context of McCarthy's answers and remarks. Television portrayals forever after showed only Welch "shaming" McCarthy without the Fisher revelation. Certainly nobody ever pointed out that it was Welch, not McCarthy, who out named Fisher.
Coulter wrote that in the 1950s there was "no Internet, no Fox News Channel, no Rush Limbaugh. Nothing but Nina Burleigh gushing to the Washington Post: I'd be happy to give Joe Welch oral sex just to thank him for attacking McCarthy. (Actual July 1998 quote about Bill Clinton from former Time magazine reporter Nina Burleigh: 'I'd be happy to give <oral sex> just to thank him for keeping abortion legal.")
It seems odd that Nina is so concerned with abortion since she cannot get pregnant by swallowing what Sterling Hayden referred to as "my vital bodily fluids" in "Dr. Strangelove". Hayden's General Ripper seemed to have the contraceptive plan down pat.
"I deny them <women> my essence, Mandrake," he tells Peter Sellers.
The McCarthy myth became one of good (liberals) triumphing over evil (conservatives). It has given birth to a million (and that figure might actually not be an exaggeration) stories in every conceivable form of media depicting liberalism as the better idea, and conservatism as the dark underbelly of human existence. Despite this going on for decades, a huge number of honest, hard working, tax-paying, play-by-the-rules, non-racist citizens have chosen conservatism in a free society. This fact drives the Left batty.
One of the first films to paint McCarthy with the brush of liberal treatment was "The Sweet Smell of Success", starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis. It is a classic, like so many of them, and like many, conservatives must grit their teeth through its politics while enjoying it anyway.
Lancaster plays a heavyweight New York gossip columnist based on Walter Winchell. Winchell was the staccato-voice of "The Untouchables", a friend of J. Edgar Hoover, and a staunch anti-Communist. He wrote about Reds and they did not like it. Supposedly the film was based on the true story of Winchell and his sister. The implication, hinted at on screen but more than hinted at among the liberal press, was that Winchell had an incestuous relationship with her. When she falls for a musician, Lancaster plants a false story that he is a dope-smoking Red. The film does not directly depict McCarthy or his Senate hearings, but the idea conveyed was that innocent "musicians, artists and poets" were unfairly victimized by accusations of Communism. Even though most of the beat-poets and Communist sympathizers among the Greenwich Village crowd looked like Alan Ginsburg in those days, in "Sweet Smell of Success" the musician is player by Martin Milner. Remember him? Blonde-haired, blue-eyed, clean-cut, he was the embodiment of All-Americanism, cast perfectly as the veteran L.A.P.D. cop in the 1960s hit TV series, "Adam 12".
As for the real Winchell, the Left drove him out of New York. He moved to Hollywood, where his gossip columns single-handedly turned a journeyman left-handed pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels, Bo Belinsky, into the biggest playboy in baseball history.
McCarthy's drinking became acute during the Army-McCarthy hearings. In another encounter with Welch, a similar demand was made of him, to produce the name of a government whistle blower who had outlined Communist infiltration at Fort Monmouth. McCarthy had promised the source anonymity. He explained to Welch that sources would dry up if they were automatically exposed. McCarthy told Welch he was careful not to expose the names of suspected Reds until the investigation was conclusive, but Welch hounded him unmercifully.
McCarthy clashed with Eisenhower when he tried to hale the President into the Senate for questioning. Ike replied that he and the Army had conducted their own screening methods to keep Communists out of the Army, and invoked "executive privilege." Used against McCarthy it was brilliant. Used 20 years later by Dick Nixon it was devious. Going against Dwight Eisenhower was a bad tactic. McCarthy should have worked with the President behind closed doors, but it is entirely true that he was a publicity hound. Now his public style had gone too far.
"McCarthy's real threat to American Democracy <was> the fact that he has immobilized the liberal movement," Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey said. In John Frankenheimer's "The Manchurian Candidate", a Senator who is shot and killed bore some resemblance to Humphrey. He stated in the film that while the anti-Communist accusations by the McCarthy character may have led some to believe he was a "buffoon," he himself felt that if he were a "paid Soviet agent" he could not have done more damage to America. The Humphrey and movie quotes are telling, and prescient.
In a way both of them are right on, although neither would know nor understand why. Humphrey was right because hate for McCarthy did indeed wake up a sleeping giant. The New Deal was considered archaic by the 1950s. Macho Republicans and their patriot, flag-waving militarism were the order of the day. Truman was disgraced and the most popular man on Earth led the G.O.P., which for a brief period held both the House and Senate. Then along came McCarthy. The Left banded together in a way they never have since. They created a culture of media hatred that has hung over this beautiful nation like a nuclear Winter. The movie Senator was correct, and Ike knew it in his way. McCarthy may have been right, but in becoming the lightning rod for criticism all the focus of Communism was shifted away from espionage, sabotage, the Sino-Soviet pact, military expansion into Latin America, Cuba, and Eastern Europe. If McCarthyism had not occurred, perhaps a unified country would have been better prepared for Vietnam. This is just a theory and must be stated in accordance with the understanding that John Kennedy was a staunch anti-Communist. But the liberals may have been emboldened to go beyond the usual dirty tricks in stealing the 1960 election (again, however, the Joseph Kennedy influence is over and above all the usual complaints against Democrats).
Eisenhower was furious at McCarthy for his handling of the situation, and he viewed him as having led himself and the country down a dangerous path that, circuitously, had done damage that a "paid Soviet agent" could not have done. The point of this, however, is the damage done to America went hand in hand with liberal treachery, revenge and a desire to inflict more pain on the right than on Communism. Eisenhower knew the nature of these Democrats. He was a moderate and he knew how to work with them. After McCarthy even his prestige could not contain them.
The Left turned Communists who had been investigated by McCarthy into national heroes. Edward Murrow ran a brutal CBS special on McCarthy. The Senate voted to censure him. Interestingly, McCarthy had originally been a Democrat, but he was exposed to their corrupt machine. He also opposed segregation, which was entirely prosecuted by Democrat minions, so he chose the G.O.P. His politics were considered rather moderate.
"Only later, when it became clear that McCarthy strongly opposed a regime that sought the total destruction of the United States, was he reclassified a 'conservative,'" wrote Coulter. He was accused of being homosexual despite the fact that the woman he eventually married was described as a "ravishing beauty" who had been a bridesmaid of President Truman's daughter, Margaret. He employed women, gays and Jews when such a diverse staff was unheard of, and was popular with black voters. The segregationist Arkansas Senator William Fulbright, Bill Clinton's mentor a decade later, attacked him relentlessly. McCarthy called him "Senator Halfbright."
The nation turned on McCarthy, and it affected him brutally. This is a telling fact. McCarthy drank himself to death. Richard Nixon became deathly ill in 1974, had to be hospitalized and was thought to be near death while muttering incoherently how "insane" it was that he could be hated so much after having done so much to help make the world safer. Nixon recovered and gained a measure of revenge as an elder statesman, but these two Republicans, broken by their Leftist critics, were men of conscience. Their hearts never mended. They were consumed by questions of guilt, wondering where they had gone wrong and whether they indeed had deserved their fates.
Bill Clinton, on the other hand, never showed a sign of wear and tear. He just bluffed his way through, grinning and joking as if he had not a care in the world. The possibility remains that Clinton was able to handle the heat precisely because he (and his wife) have no moral conscience to burden them whatsoever. Or worse.
"They're murdering me, they're killing me!" McCarthy said weeks before his death. The successful anti-McCarthy playbook became the blueprint for numerous character assassinations, most recently launched against Linda Tripp, Newt Gingrich, Ken Starr, and led by Hillary and Carville, against all the women groped, assaulted and raped by Bill. The difference between McCarthy, Nixon and most conservatives accused of wrongdoing is that they get "caught" and punished. The Clintons just get away with it!
After McCarthyism, as Humphrey aptly pointed out, the Left became emboldened. The Sulzberger family, longtime publishers of the New York Times, were the boldest of the print media (Hollywood took the cake, both in terms of on-screen content and off-screen remarks). The current publisher of the Times is Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger. In the early 1970s, like Bill Clinton he evaded the draft and protested the Vietnam War. His father asked him point blank who Pinch would rather see shot and killed in a face-to-face confrontation, an American soldier or a North Vietnamese regular.
"I would want to see the American guy get shot," said Pinch. "It's the other guy's country." Of course Pinch would want the American boy to be killed. He would not have been one of his fraternity brothers. Calling it the "other guy's country" is, of course, a lie. The U.S. did not take the fight into North Vietnam. They were defending South Vietnam, where the Communist was invading "the other guy's country," or Cambodia, where they were running and hiding and using "the other guy's country."
Technically, Pinch did not commit treason when he said what he said, and even expressing such views in years of scathing Left wing editorials may not be treason. Ann Coulter was attacked by liberal reviewers and interviewers who tried to pin her into a corner, narrowing the definition of treason to its tiniest parameters. But Pinch's words, while not enough to land him in Ft. Leavenworth Prison, are treasonous. They are beyond contempt.
Despite popular misconceptions about the 1960s, Americans under the age of 35 supported the Vietnam War. At the time of U.S. withdrawal, only 20 percent of the country opposed the war. But the media ignored the Silent Majority and portrayed - to the world, particularly to the Communists in Moscow, Beijing and Hanoi - a nation bitterly opposed to the effort. It was a lie, and this lie cost thousands of American lives and, eventually, millions of Vietnamese and Cambodian lives. Technically, these misrepresentations on the part of the New York Times, the Washington Post, Dan Rather, Morley Safer, Walter Cronkite, Peter Arnett, and CBS News, were not acts of treason. They had the right to express their opinion. But to those who paid the price for their perfidy, it was treacherous, and with deadly results.
In Oliver Stone's "Nixon", there is a scene on the Presidential yacht Sequoia, which Nixon liked to take out on the Potomac River. In this scene, the subject is Vietnam, and the question is whether the U.S. can win. Nixon, and one or two other voices shoot back, in the fastest possible response, "No," then go into a discussion of the "Kissinger plan" of linking Soviet and Chinese détente with an honorable withdrawal from Vietnam.
First of all, the part of the conversation in which Nixon instantly said "no" to the possibility of winning in Vietnam never happened. The larger point is that by the time he took over the White House, the popular press had changed the paradigm in Southeast Asia, convincing millions it was in fact unwinnable. Nixon might have been able to aggressively win in 1962, but by 1969-70 he had to undo the mess created by Johnson. He and Kissinger did the best they could with what was left, and managed to turn lemons into lemonade though triangulated global diplomacy. For his efforts, Stone shows Nixon's steak during the Sequoia dinner scene dripping with blood, as if to suggest that Nixon was Pontius Pilate.
The concept that the country was entirely against stopping Communism in Vietnam simply does not hold with the most accurate polls of all, the elections of 1960, 1962 1964, 1966, 1968 and 1972. In 1960, JFK took an aggressive stance on the Indochina question to avoid the "soft on Communism" label. Nixon had served under a President who had prided himself on keeping the country out of conflicts. Both candidates, however, were popular because of, not despite, their anti-Communist credentials.
In 1962 the Democrats made gains after having stood up to Communism in Cuba, and Kennedy's creation of the Green Berets was a popular, even romantic, vision of America taking the fight to Communists.
In 1964, Johnson was elected after having started the war at the Gulf of Tonkin. The revisionists would have you believe he was elected as a peacenik while Barry Goldwater's "extreme" military policies were rejected. Actually, Johnson had portrayed Goldwater as an Arizona version of Dr. Strangelove, but conventionally defeating Communism was still highly popular.
In 1966, the Republicans, led by Nixon's tireless campaigning, won huge off-year electoral victories not opposing the war, but offering a better plan to defeat Communism than the one Johnson had, which was already showing cracks. In 1968, Johnson announced he would not run during the Primaries. Johnson's decision was not based entirely on an overwhelming mandate by the Democrats to pull out of Vietnam. While the Eugene McCarthy and later Robert Kennedy factions of the party indeed were made up of a large anti-war constituency, the party was divided. Many Democrats continued to support the war, which was the nexus for the Chicago riots. Nixon (and Wallace's popularity) in the '68 general election certainly shows that the U.S. was not one big anti-war rally. In 1972, Nixon won big. The country was convinced that peace, not a Bull Run-style withdrawal but an honorable result that saved South Vietnam from the ravages of the Reds, was at hand, and it was. The 1972 Democrats were divided because many of them had honor and disagreed with George McGovern's withdrawal policy.
All of this occurred despite the best efforts of the slanted media to convince the country that we were losing in Vietnam, had no hope of winning, and that "everybody" agreed that this was the scenario.
One cannot watch documentaries about the "killing fields" without rehashing the words of Pinch's dad, Punch Sulzberger's, who said in 1964, "I am not sure that what we offer the Vietnamese peasant…is any better than what the Communists offer."
Tell that to the thousands of boat people who went through every possible kind of hell to come to our shores during and after the Democrats turned the Nixon-Kissinger victory into genocide.
President Eisenhower had said he could not "conceive of a greater tragedy for America than to get heavily involved" in Vietnam, but events of the early 1960s most likely would have forced his hand. Nixon was aggressive. Goldwater's words speak for themselves.
"I would have said to the North Vietnamese, by dropping leaflets out of B-52s, 'You quit the war in three days or the next time these babies come over they're going to drop some big bombs on you.' And I'd make a swamp out of North Vietnam…I'd rather kill a hell of a lot of North Vietnamese than one American and we've lost enough of them."
This rhetoric is considered the essence of right wing militarism, but in light of short, completely successful Republican wars in Grenada, the Persian Gulf and Iraq, is it so inconceivable that a massive strike early could have cut the war off before it escalated? Opinion on this matter is divided, but the opinion of the New York Times, CBS and even the estimable David Halberstam is not what I would consider the final, expert analysis on the subject.
The Vietnam experience was described as a "quagmire," a word the liberals fell in love with. They trot it out every time this country goes into conflict, but it never sticks. In Iraq and Afghanistan, they call the difficult administration of these nations a "quagmire," but forget that the circumstances have no comparison with Vietnam. In both situations, we have invaded countries, defeated armies and occupy capitals. In Vietnam we never invaded the north or occupied Hanoi. Today, we face no prospect of Communist monoliths from Russia and China joining the fight, which was a big part of the Vietnam equation. The more I read about Vietnam and compare the 1991 and 2003 wars, the more I am convinced we should have bombed, invaded and occupied Hanoi, then dictated winning terms, and that we should have done it early on.
When America swept aside the Taliban in about five minutes in 2001, Maureen Dowd of the New York Times wrote, "Many who came of age during the Vietnam War, wincing at America's overweening military stance in the world, are now surprised to find themselves lustily rooting for the overwhelming display of force against the Taliban."
First of all, the only people who "winced" over American militarism were liberals. The victory in Afghanistan surprised nobody on the conservative side of the aisle. Dowd and her cohorts were rooting against us, but jumped on the bandwagon in time for the parade.
J.W. Apple of the New York Times admitted that George Bush's prosecution of American forces on the side of good made him realize Vietnam could have been won, too. The Gulf War had been rife with images of civilian casualties and Red Cross buildings shot by American ordnance, but even in a country whose propaganda was controlled by Saddam, post-war analysis determined light civilian casualties and damage. All the editorials that warn of overarching American military might seem to be preceded by dire warnings about our "humiliating withdrawal from Vietnam," which is something like Neville Chamberlain's ancestors referring to "Winston Churchill's humiliating entrance into World War II."
Prior to the Afghan conflict that followed 9/11, a Berkeley professor named Mark Danner predicted an American defeat in the style of the British and the Soviets. His reasoning was based on certain events that, upon analysis, state all we really need to know about who is better at handling defense of this country. He cited the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, the Iranian hostage crisis, the Beirut bombings, and Mogadishu. Maybe Danner thought he had a bi-partisan list because he included Beirut in 1983, which was a terrorist act, not a war. The other events had little in common with each other, except they were all Democrat follies, and could be added to other wars that started badly because of Democrats. This included the Civil War (Democrats-turned-Confederates); World War I (the Germans waited nine years until the U.S. Republicans were out of office to attack); World War II (Roosevelt left the U.S. dangerously unprepared then let thousands die at Pearl so we could enter the war, instead of just showing leadership in the first place and joining with Churchill from a position of strength); and Korea (Truman's loss of China gave away much of what we had gained and encouraged Communist adventurism).
Danner went on to say that "defeating Al Qaeda would "require much greater power than America has shown itself to posses." It is a good thing Bush disagreed with Danner's now-shown-to-be-faulty-assessment. But was Danner's analysis faulty, or something worse? Was their treachery in his dire predictions?
Ann Coulter may be criticized for suggesting as much, and while technically Danner did not "commit the act of treason," he and many like him abet the shadowy hope of it in their continual barkings, their open antagonism of foreign policy that not only is in America's best interests, but frees thousands, sometimes millions of people from slavery.
Afghanistan was nothing compared to Iraq, however. Jimmy Carter and his crew came out of the woodwork to criticize the prospect of removing the worst despot on the face of the Earth from the Middle East, and giving freedom a chance to reign where only darkness heretofore had fallen. Carter's expert analysis on the Middle East was based on the Iranian hostage crisis (which some college historians had recently blamed not on him, but Eisenhower) and naming Andrew Young as Ambassador to the U.N. Young said of the Ayatollah Khomeini that he would "eventually be hailed as a saint." We are still waiting on word from the Vatican. In the mean time, Khomeini's grandson, a respected Muslim cleric, came to Iraq to praise the United States, pledging to coalesce moderate forces, work with us, and create a Democratic country.
American victories in the Middle East could be traced to Richard Nixon, who according to Henry Kissinger in "Diplomacy" had presented a "direct moral challenge" to the Soviet Union. Reagan had abandoned the "gradualism" of the Cold War and presented a "why not victory?" approach that carried over to three Middle East victories that form the backbone of the New World Order in this century.
When Reagan hard-lined Gorbachev over SDI at Reykjavik, the Left was shown to be quite clueless. Flora Lewis of the New York Times was astonished that Gorby had "concentrated practically all its propaganda on space defense," and that he "must have his own reasons." Time's cover story read, "Sunk by Star Wars." Countless liberal editorials and analyses referred to Reagan's mistakes, fumbles, errors, debacles and the general conviction that the greatest peace treaty since Appommatox had been lost because of a "colossal failure of leadership." These opinions, while not "treachery" in and of themselves, nevertheless reflected direct opposition to the stated aim and goals of the elected government of this nation. Given that a mere two year later those goals were shown to be the winning formula in one of the greatest victories ever achieved, an analysis of these analysts concludes that they were clueless, unpatriotic, or both.
When the Soviet archives broke open, along with the Venona cables demonstrating spies in the Communist wing of the Democrat party, reams and reams of confirmation came from the top Russian political, military and intelligence people answering Flora Lewis' question about Gorby's "own reasons" for letting SDI dominate his policy. The Soviets knew it could work, and Reagan used it to press our advantage all the way to the end.
Liberals who assess that Gorbachev won the Cold War for us are making an argument that makes about as much sense as saying that Robert E. Lee won the Civil War for the North. Ex-Communists and resistance fighters know better.
Reagan "is one of the most important figures of the 20th Century," said Ladislav Jakl, the founder of the Czech Society for Ronald Reagan. "My life in the last 10 years in a free country, it's mainly due to the work of Mr. President Reagan."
The film "MacArthur", starring Gregory Peck in the title role, begins with text that states that over 1 billion people were affected by MacArthur, his policies, leadership and military victories. In the song "Abraham, Martin and John", a liberal anthem of the 1960s, Abe Lincoln, Martin Luther King and John Kennedy are credited with "freeing a lot of people." Lincoln and King certainly freed their share. How many JFK freed is debatable. But Ronald Reagan deserves songs and movies about him, because he is responsible for the freedom of millions, too. Whittaker Chambers had predicted that Communism would triumph because Americans could not match their passion, but his analysis was wrong, too.
Communist "passions" ran amok during the Cultural Revolution and in the "killing fields," just to name a few. Its faults were too exposed to too many to be excused. Reagan and the conservatives matched the passion of the Left with an abiding love for freedom, and were convinced that they were doing God's work in defeating Communism. When Reagan began to talk about God, morality and the absolutes of good and evil, reporters wanted him to "clarify" his remarks. He came at a time in which the Soviets had been led to believe, by the liberal media, that the kind of "cowboy jingoism" of Reagan, which was precisely what was needed to defeat them, had died with Watergate. Just as the Democrats were surprised time after time by the Silent Majority, so too were the Communists.
Chambers was prescient in his statement that if America could prevail, it would not be through war, but through a belief in God. This is utterly anathema to liberals, and as long as they choose not to invest some faith in the prospect, they will never get it and they will keep losing.
Eleanor Clift of Newsweek was one of those liberals. She said the Cold War as some kind of CIA cover-up, implying that the Soviets were on the verge of losing all along. Langley had propped them up because we needed an enemy, concealing the facts from the doddering Reagan until the appropriate time (apparently when ex-CIA Director Bush was in the White House). She also said that a child was better off in Cuba than in the United States. Shortly thereafter, she shipped her own children to school in Havana. Not.
It was the liberals who were wrong. They had been propping up the Soviets through their loving tributes for years.
"The Soviet Union is going to remain a stable state, with very stable, conservative <italics added>, immobile government…" stated 35 Sovietologists assembled for a 1983 Harvard/Columbia/Cornell study. "We don't see any collapse or weakening of the Soviet system."
Meanwhile, in a bar in Los Angeles, California, I told my then-roommate, an undergraduate student-athlete at USC named Terry Marks, that I was not sure we could ever "defeat" Communism without going to war.
"Not so," said Terry, ordering another pitcher of beer. "We'll just outspend 'em and they’ll collapse." Terry was a tough Irish Catholic kid from a family of 12 in upstate New York. He was weaned on common sense.
We drank beer, Reagan outspent 'em, and the Soviets collapsed. Terry went on to become the Godfather of my daughter, Elizabeth, and is sure to be the next president of Coca-Cola International.
But liberals like Walter Laqueur, chairman of the International Research Council at the Center for Strategic and International Studies at Georgetown said there was "no real solution" to the East/West "dilemma." Reagan infuriated these people by veering from their prescriptions both on the domestic and foreign policy fronts. He made a speech denouncing "Keynesian economics," which made the Left gasp, then moved beyond George Kennan's containment policies, which made them roar. Guys like Keynes and Kennan win the Nobel Peace Prize. Guys like Reagan won the Cold War.
When the Contras became a force in Central America, the Nicaraguan Sandinistas suddenly found new allies: American liberals. In an act that really and actually comes close to being worthy of a prison term for treason, Mike Farrell and his Hollywood pals hosted Sandinista Marxist leader Daniel Ortega at a star-studded Beverly Hills fund-raiser. They were willing to overlook his tirades against Zionists.
"I don't consider them a threat to my way of life, or the United States," commented Mrs. George Slaff, the wife of Beverly Hills' mayor. Of course not. Brave Americans had long ago died to secure America for Mrs. Slaff, but Communism was just fine for the "little brown brothers," as Ann Coulter wrote in "Treason". The usual Hollywood suspects at the Communist fund-raiser were praised for putting their careers on the line, when in fact the industry had gotten so Left wing that their actions could be interpreted as helpful to their careers. It was opposing Communism that put one in jeopardy by the 1980s.
The Sandinista-Contra conflict of the 1980s framed the beginnings of the Leftist statement, oft-repeated, that to oppose a Republican President is "not unpatriotic." They have been repeating this over and over for 20 years. To paraphrase Shakespeare, "The Democrats doth protest too much!"
The former Ku Klux Klansman, Senator Robert Byrd (D.-West Virginia), would go on to become the most powerful Democrat in the U.S. Senate. He did so on the basis of hate speech directed against Reagan and his efforts at fighting Central American Communism. Byrd is a typical example of how a filthy human being rises to great heights in the Democrat party, while actions that are not one-50th as bad will sink a Republican by virtue of strict G.O.P. self-policing.
Mary McGrory, who surely has no love for the KKK, could find nothing bad to say about Byrd, but when conservative commentator Pat Buchanan weighed in favor of the Contras she denounced his "ugly" tactics, such as urging that an ideology that killed 100 million be stopped. The Democrats just accused the right of "Red baiting," which is the same as "Nazi baiting" or "racist baiting." Telling the truth about liberal pet projects is "baiting."
The Reagan Administration's brilliant Iran-Contra operation bedeviled the Left. It ranked up there with Hiss, McCarthy, and Nixon - popular events that the American public supported but had to be destroyed by the Left. This time, the Left came close, and again inflicted some real damage to American foreign policy and prestige, but Reagan was too far along. He was winning and not even the liberals could beat him.
Liberals used Iran-Contra to denounce all of Reagan's anti-Communist policy. It was as if the mishandling of Chiang Kai-Shek in China in 1942 was just cause for dropping out of the entire Pacific war. Flora Lewis attacked U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick for stating in 1984 that, until Reagan, the Communists had major major expansions.
"Where?" Lewis asked.
Answer: South Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Yemen, Libya, Syria, Aden, Congo, Madagascar, the Seychelles, Nicaragua and Grenada. Somehow these people labor under the myth that conservatives do not acquire facts, or more likely, that their dominant position in the media will overshadow said facts.
Surely all the millions of people who lived in these countries "chose" Communism. Of course, nobody ever "invited" Communist takeover, no Communist government had ever been Democratically elected, and wherever Communism gained a foothold it created their number one export, refugees to non-Communist countries. Walter Mondale said fighting Communism had "undermined our moral authority." Liberal protesters referred to Reagan as "Ronald Ray-gun," and made the point that "Russians love their children, too." They always called them the Russians, not the Soviets, especially when referring to all those children trapped inside their evil system.
Anthony Lewis of the New York Times thought Reagan was unable to handle "complex" issues, despised his "religiosity" and his "black-and-white characterizations." Would Lewis have despised Patton's "black-and-white" strategy of stopping the Nazis, at any cost, at Bastogne in December of 1944? Somehow, the answer to that question is not as simple as it might seem. If a Republican were President under modern political circumstances, Lewis might well have found criticism of it. The point is that Lewis and others like him, in voicing these un-American platitudes, may not have been committing treason, but they were providing cover for it. History has exposed them on this.
Lewis hated the fact that we outspent the Soviets and built up an enormous arsenal. Simply having it, in his view, was as bad as using it. He had no grasp of the "peace through strength" concept. Reagan's plan worked and nobody was killed, but that does not matter to Lewis. It would be like criticizing a student for studying too much for a test that demonstrated the person to be the best student in the class, because it was embarrassing to the rest of the class.
Reagan won the Cold War by ignoring decades of liberal advice and strategy. He did it, as Frank Sinatra would say, "his way." Liberals never wanted to win the Cold War in the first place. It might prove embarrassing to the Communists. Norman Mailer came out and said that in 1984, while researching "Harlot's Ghost", he traveled to Moscow and roamed freely, extolling the churches and the "inexpensive working economy" he saw during his stay. He stated that he saw no evidence of a police state, and used his short stay as evidence that Reagan's "evil empire" speech was mere propaganda. A guy as smart as Mailer would seemingly have realized that he was an international figure, known by the Soviets to be a liberal and at the time writing a book about the CIA that they hoped might be embarrassing to The Company (it really was not). Mailer walked around downtown Moscow, a tourist haven which was hardly representative of the gulag archipelago. He could not say he was not tailed and spied on, or that what he saw was not orchestrated for his benefit. Either way, a few days as a Moscow tourist did not make him Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
The Nobel Peace Price went not to Reagan, but Gorbachev. Not winning the Nobel has become a badge of honor among conservatives. Apparently an American President would have to lose a war and get a ton of people killed in order to be eligible for one.
Coulter wants to know if Democrat non-support for the 2003 Iraq War was unpatriotic. It certainly was political. Congress authorized Bush to use the military in Iraq in October of 2002, and plenty of Democrats voted with the Republicans. But once the November elections were over (and they were soundly beaten), the Democrats became the "loyal opposition." There were exceptions, like Joe Lieberman, but the lead-up, the actual war, and its aftermath seemed to usher a new era of spin and deception on their part.
The 1991 Persian Gulf War and the 2001-02 Afghan action were splendid successes, and nobody could deny them. The Democrats who opposed these actions faded into the woodwork, and many tried to jump on the bandwagon during the victory parade. But Iraq was different. The best explanation is that George W. Bush and the Republicans had strung together so many popular, successful accomplishments that the Left simply could not take it anymore. It was like the Hiss and Clinton affairs. If they admitted they were wrong (or at least that the Republicans were right) on this one, it would be the proverbial "final nail" in their coffin. It would hand one too many political victories to Bush. It would make him impregnable. It would make them irrelevant.
So the Democrats, as if the October Congressional resolution did not exist, refused to come on board. The ones who had voted for the war, unlike the 1991 Gulf War aftermath, tried to deny Bush (and America) its victory even after it had won its victory. It was as if the Commissioner of Football refused to hand the Super Bowl Trophy to an owner he was feuding with. The directive, written or not, was that the war had to be opposed even in its wake, because the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" theory only strengthened the Republicans (and America).
The Democrat strategy points to a fundamental aspect of what their party has become. This truth has existed for decades, but it is more pronounced now than ever. The party only benefits when America fails. The Democrats oppose victory in battle, which furthers U.S. interests, because it does not further Democrat interests. The Democrats oppose a good economy, which furthers U.S. interests, because it does not further Democrat interests. Defeat of Communism, which furthers U.S. (and the world's) interests, is opposed by the Democrats because it does not further Democrat interests.
Is this treachery? Is this unpatriotic? In a free country people have a lot of leeway. Calling it treason or unpatriotic is not helpful. Just pointing to it and saying res ipsa loquiter is more instructive, and gets the point across more thoroughly. It is a losing philosophy used by a losing political party. They have been losing lately, and in 2004 they will ride this philosophy to the most complete political defeat in American electoral history.
The Left pointed to European countries, namely Germany, France and Russia, who opposed military action, and to the U.N., who of course opposed it, and sided with them. They ignored the fact that these countries had sold arms and armaments of WMD to Iraq, that they had supplied Iraq with technical and political espionage, and that their opposition to the war was about protecting these secrets and continuing to make money doing business with Saddam.
"They have good reason to hate us," former President Clinton said of Muslim terrorists. "After all, we sent the Crusaders to try and conquer them." For a smart historian, this was one heck of a stupid remark. First, it fails to address the reality of the Crusades, which was ended in 1290 after "a bunch of Europeans responded aggressively to the sack of Jerusalem by a mob of Muslim savages," who "spent the prior several hundred years grabbing a lot of territory that wasn't theirs," wrote Coulter.
Furthermore, the Crusades had nothing to do with the U.S., and the U.S. was not "imposing" Christianity on them. Finally, what ever happened to the "rule," which George H.W. Bush adhered to in deference to Clinton, that former Presidents abstain from political criticism of their successors. Clinton and Carter obviously decided it does not apply to Democrats speaking ill of Republicans. Res ipsa loquiter.
Al Gore fell in love with the tired old terrorist-domino theory while ignoring the other "rule" which keeps losing Presidential candidates from criticizing the winners.
"What we represent to the world is empire," said Gore, and he is partly right. But Gore referred to the "old" empire of Britain and Rome, not to the spread of freedom, Democracy and market opportunity that is inherent in the New World Order. Gore said that in responding to terrorism aggressively, we were only making more enemies, and that we were inviting more terror as backlash. This ignores the fact that the U.S. under Clinton had done little to thwart terror. Bush certainly seemed to have more of a domestic agenda on the table than a big anti-terror military campaign planned. But Gore and the liberals seem to think that we were supposed to have shut it down after the 9/11 funerals, ride the sympathy of Europe, and let the guilty roam free. He seems to think that letting Osama bin Laden skate, and to tell Saddam that he could build his weapons and orchestrate with terrorists with impunity, would not have resulted in further attacks against us because we would have been seen as nice guys. The most hypocritical side of the liberal argument, however, is that if Bush had not responded as he did, the Democrats would have been on him even worse than they are now. At least under those circumstances the Left would have been in the right, which this historian would identify as some truly groundbreaking history!
When Bush linked Iran, Iraq and North Korea as the "axis of evil," a brilliant move inspired by Reagan's "evil empire" speech, his critics complained that the three countries had little in common with each other. This made as much sense as saying that the Axis Powers of World War II, Germany, Japan and Italy, were not threats because they had little in common with each other. Or that only two of the Central Powers of World War I, Germany and Austria, but not Turkey, had much in common. When the question of war in Iraq came to a head, the Left then said that if we were to attack Iraq, then we should attack North Korea. When it suited their purposes, they found something "in common" between Saddam and Kim Jong-Il.
The liberals made fools out of themselves, essentially saying that, "Saddam has no weapons of mass destruction and if we attack him he'll use his weapons of mass destruction." In the war's victorious aftermath, they chose to give Saddam the benefit of the doubt on WMD over Bush. In this they come very close to treason, and very definitely exhibit lack of patriotism. A great American victory is hateful to these people.
They never give any credence to the numerous possibilities that still exist regarding WMD in Iraq, choosing instead to brand Bush a liar and hope the issue stays alive until 2004. Saddam knew if he used WMD the Americans would still defeat him and he would lose his edge with his Leftist allies. He hid them, first from inspectors, then from American troops, in places that will take a long while to find them. He could have destroyed them, but that is not likely. What he definitely wanted to do was embarrass George Bush, knowing Western liberalism would not let him down, and they have not. Treason? Maybe yes, maybe not.
Either way, it is not a very impressive liberal performance, and the voting public is watching. Robert Scheer, who is not just liberal and unpatriotic, but has genuinely favored North Korea over the United States since the 1970s, has been their biggest defender. Clinton and Carter offered absolutely no helpful advice, and continually offered their hopes and dreams, which any thinking strategist could quickly identify as not being in the best interests of the nation they once took oaths to "protect and defend." Teddy Kennedy said we should concentrate not on Iraq but North Korea, but once Bush took care of Iraq Kennedy no longer wanted to take care of North Korea. Their political lies are breathtaking.
Woody Harrelson once backed weekend traffic up on the Golden Gate Bridge for hours so he could demonstrate the value of pot smoking. He glorified hardcore pornography as the most important of Constitutional freedoms. His brother is a murderer (which gives he and Jesse Jackson something to talk about). He came out and said he was "tired of lies," as if there was some kind of alternate Universe in which things he said were not lies. He claimed that the attack on Iraq was part of a conservative conspiracy to wipe out "non-white" nations. Keep smokin', Woodrow.
Harrelson described Christopher Columbus as the spreader of white genocide, racism and the spread of European diseases (giving no credit for spreading the greatest religious and philosophical ideas in the history of the world) and said Americans were "stupid" for being so mad about 9/11. Yellow ribbons and flags were a "scourge" on the countryside.
My former editor at the San Francisco Examiner said after 9/11 he put a flag up, as if that made up for a lifetime of liberalism. I told him putting a flag up was never a bad thing, but he just thinks his right to tell me what to think (a free press) is more important than my right to vote.
Actress Jessica Lange denounced it as "un-Constitutional, immoral and illegal" war. Whether it was immoral or not could fall under the rubric of "opinion," but the fact that it was Constitutional and legal simply falls within…the facts.
"I hate Bush, I despise him and his entire administration," said Lange.
Susan Sarandon predicted that "thousands" would die, but that did not happen. She questioned what the plan was, and said we were going in "blind." The plan was highly, precisely and to quintessential effect that with which actually happened: "Shock and awe" followed by a quick, decisive victory, the overthrow of Saddam, the liberation of Iraq, and the very hard work of turning Iraq into a secure, Democratic country that the Middle East can look at and say, "Maybe there is another way" other than terrorism and anarchy. This part of the plan can be summed up as the administration of the country, the re-building of the infrastructure, clean-up operations against terrorists and rogue fighters, the capture of remaining Saddam cronies and family, and the creation of a government with the aim toward free elections. This perfectly describes exactly what has and continues to happen in Iraq, a place that is still dangerous and difficult, but is going according to plan. It would be nice if people would support the tough job we have endeavored to undertake instead of undermining it. Treachery? Probably not. Unpatriotic? It is just my opinion, I am conservative and take it with a grain of salt, but, hey, c'mon, it is.
Janeane Garofalo said, "Dropping bombs on the Iraqis is not going to disarm Saddam." It sure did not do him any good. Later she said Afghanistan was a "failure" (apparently other than freeing Kabul, sending Osama on the run, plus all the other good things). She said there was no reason to go after terrorism (other than 9/11, the USS Cole, the Khobar Barracks, and other acts). She said there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction (other than the evidence which takes up many pages earlier in this book). Is it possible to take her seriously?
Singer Sheryl Crow said war is not the answer (other than, as Ann Coulter points out, "ending slavery, Fascism, Soviet totalitarianism, but other than that it has a limited repertoire.")
The "best way to solve problems is to not have enemies," Crow announced.
Sean Penn's ad in the Washington Post begged Bush to "help save America before yours is a legacy of shame and horror." After the war was won in record time with minimal casualties, Penn was not heard from. Bush may win 50 states in 2004. Penn recounted the "bitter experience" of his father dealing with McCarthyism, which ravaged his career and family so much that he went on to a brilliant directorial career ("Bonnie and Clyde") and raised his sons, Sean and Chris, in the exclusive Communist enclave of Malibu.
Various celebrities like Madonna spoke of karma and "cycles of violence," as if the 9/11 hijackers had nothing to do with cycles of violence. George Clooney claimed to have inside CIA information. What a surprise, it was not favorable to Bush. Richard Gere asked why their was so much "personal enmity" between Bush and Saddam (other than Saddam's attempt to assassinate his father in Kuwait in 1993). Dustin Hoffman was one of those guys who got it kind of right without realizing it when he said the war, aside from being "reprehensible," was about "hegemony, money, power and oil."
In reality, the answer to that is, "You say that like it is a bad thing." Of course it was, along with many other good reasons. The Iraq War was very much about American hegemony, which is the only good kind in the world today. We must be powerful, influential and have prestige in a part of the world where, if we are not, it can explode and have terrible ramifications in every corner of the globe. To say that oil is anything less than highly important is completely insane. Hoffman's statement is the crux of liberalism. He recognizes the truth. He just does not like it. Liberals do not want America to be powerful and in control, but offer no alternative. If the U.S. were to lose its power and prestige at this point, many of the victories of the 20th Century would be lost. The Left simply fails to see things from the standpoint of global realism. Viewed from that lens, the world is a dangerous, radically disordered place. The United States has emerged as the single country best able to maintain stability. Furthermore, and this point cannot be made more plainly, America wields its power more wisely and with greater judiciousness than any power ever has.
Michael Moore could only say that the U.S. has orphaned thousands of children with "taxpayer-funded terrorism." Moore does not seem to want or is able to see that America has done more for orphaned, poor, starving kids than any country ever has. He simply is not able to, or is unwilling to (although he is not actually stupid) understand the context in which many kids have been orphaned by American bombs. He would view the "Christmas bombing" of 1972, for instance, as a wholly terrorist act. He is unable to view something like in light of the need to keep Communism from spreading to South Vietnam. He places no blame on the mass murderers of history, saying only that they did what they did, and apparently were justified in doing so, because America "made them do it."
Many conservatives who dismiss them as "idiots" or, of course, "useful idiots", put down Moore and his mindset. The former term does not apply. The latter does. The Hollywood Senator in "The Manchurian Candidate" says Johnny Iselin (the McCarthy character) is not a buffoon, but rather a dangerous person. I look at Moore and those who think like him, and I am perplexed. How dangerous he is, I am not sure. There is no evidence that people who think like him are close to getting power. Jimmy Carter, in his later years, expressed views that were not far from Moore's, but he was unable to act on these instincts as President.
This is an important point. Power and the practical necessities of governmental politics make Moore's style of liberalism all-but impossible to practice in an official capacity. That is the good news. Carter had people like Andrew Young, who were "fellow travelers" of Moore six days of the week and twice on Sunday, but Young had to be fired. When liberals govern, they quickly learn that all the things they hated about the Establishment are essential. That is why conservatives govern better. They come in with open eyes and are not pre-disposed to hate but they now are in control of.
Conservatives also govern better because, in America, they view history as a beautiful story. What perplexes me is how liberals can see the same story and react with such disdain. We are near the end of a long history book that has attempted to come to grips with such questions. The study of anarchism, as embodied by Rousseau, Thoreau and Emma Goldman, is a powerful strain that will always run through society. Why it is powerful is beyond me. I can understand Nazism and Communism. They were pure ideologies carried to extremes. Their messages were aimed at populations that wanted to be told that they were better, were not to blame, the enemy had been identified and would be punished, and that government would solve all their problems. Hitler and Stalin believed that man would give up freedom for security. They both offered that.
But anarchism offers no practical solutions. Goldman thought a government run by anarchists would consist of volunteers who would do good deeds because human nature was inherently good. In some respects, this is part of the liberal mystique, and in a way it is sweet. It is dangerous, however, because it allows for such gullibility, and within the framework of politics and the two-party system, the liberals, frustrated and marginalized, have felt the need to create an enemy. Their enemy is conservatism. Seeing that the world is not and apparently never will be one big Peace Corps, they are now embittered anarchists, and hell hath no fury like an embittered anarchist scorned.
My efforts at dissecting liberalism are not meant to put liberalism down. I look at the overweight Moore, dispensing his vitriol at all that is dear to me, and I must reach down and find my Christian center to feel something other than hate for him. In the end, I can see that at some level he means well. There is no value in demonizing him. I suppose in trying to "understand" him I am involving myself in the moral relativism that I have tried to break down throughout history. But Moore is not a terrorist, and I cannot help but think about something former baseball manager Leo Durocher once said: "I might disagree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death you're right to say it."
The problem is that a lot of good Americans have died to defend Moore's right to speak, and he seems not to understand or appreciate it. When good Americans die for the right of foreigners to be free, Moore sees only darkness and deceit. He hides behind the Constitution. The Constitution may have been written just for that purpose, but I find it distasteful nevertheless.
When Moore laughed at people on the hi-jacked 9/11 planes and called them cowards for not fighting back, expressing horror that the terrorists had killed Democrats (the majority in New York) instead of, say, Republicans at the Mutual of Omaha building in Nebraska, he crossed the line. The author of "Stupid White Men" had become his title. For somebody to write a book with that title in a world kept safe precisely because white men are smart enough to create the technology that makes us powerful and safe is ridiculous.
Norman Mailer has become a pen pal of mine. He knows what a conservative I am but respects my honesty. I have been in communication with him about turning "Harlot's Ghost" into a screenplay. Mailer told me my desire for "empire" would take America on a terrible path, and that my theory that God has charged us with the task is "vanity." I replied that my view of empire is not the same as the British. My view that God has given us the mission is not vanity but responsibility, to be fused with humility and a hope to accomplish the task within "term limits" that do not leave the task open-ended.
I have found Mailer to be introspective and honest, too. He gets in trouble shooting from the hip, but I respect him. He said during the Iraq War that the destroyed World Trade Center was "more beautiful than the building was," that we were the "most hated nation on Earth," and that we fought the war because white males needed to win something after years of seeing blacks and Latinos dominate sports. When questioned on these comments, he demonstrated that he was being satirical. Mailer said Bush planned to make "China the Greece to our Rome." Not a bad idea, Norman.
Washington's Democrat Senator Patty Murray said that Osama bin Laden was popular because he built schools, roads, day care, infrastructure, and "made their lives better. We have not done that." Is there anything to say to that?
Harry Belafonte was such a victim of McCarthyism that he went on to become a multi-millionaire. He has used that status to rant against the right for years. He was shilling for terrorists and dictators as much in 2003 as he had been for Communists in the "good old days."
Ann Coulter described a psychiatrist's evaluation of the anarchist Ezra Pound, the anti-war protestor of World War II: "What is unquestionably the most outstanding feature of his personality is his profound, incredible, over-weaning narcissism." This seems to be a very simple explanation, yet the evaluation of Pound is so easily transferred to these Hollywood stars.
As the country prepared for war, celebrities described how their voices of dissent were being stifled. They described this on Entertainment Tonight, Sean Hannity's program, Leno and Letterman, and in any and all other forums of free expression. When the American Legion did not throw them a parade they acted as if being worshipped was their Constitutional right. They determined that sensible people disagreeing with them was tantamount to accusations on un-Americanism. Tim Robbins congratulated himself on his courage. Was Sean Penn allowing himself to be used by Saddam as a photo/op treason? Was Woody Harreslon talking about "American lies" unpatriotic?
The bad news is that unpatriotic liberals dominate the dominant media culture and all aspects of the education system. The good news is that this is changing. As Satchel Paige used to say, "Don’t look back, somethin' might be gainin' on ya." Well, conservatives are making their moves in the media, and there is no stopping us. Maybe, just maybe, God is on our side.
Causes Steven Travers Supports
Conservative, Christian, USC, American patriotism