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On McCarthyism

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by SW85, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. SW85

    SW85 Well-Known Member

    Jun 7, 2007
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    I just watched Breach, a movie released earlier this year that details the FBI's efforts to nail Robert Hanssen, one of their own agents who had been selling government secrets, first to the Soviet Union and then to free Russia for 16 years (beginning 1985 and lasting until his arrest in 2001). His efforts caused countless millions of dollars in damages, compromised dozens of American intelligence officers (including two turned KGB agents who were summarily executed when Hanssen tipped off Moscow to their betrayal), and may have indirectly benefitted al-Qaeda, as Russia sold pilfered US intelligence software to Osama bin Laden. (Hanssen was caught, convicted of espionage, and sentenced to life in prison; he now spends 23 hours a day in solitary confinement).

    Overall, it was a great movie, and definitely worth the four- or five-month wait I had to endure between now and the first time I heard about it. The only thing that bothered me about the film was that the producers hawked it as "the story of the worst intelligence breach in American history." I had to chuckle when I heard that, because, at various times, there were Soviet spies advising the President of the United States directly (Lauchlin Currie), leaking information on our nuclear weapons program (Klaus Fuchs, Theodore Hall, the Rosenbergs, and possibly even J. Robert Oppenheimer himself), and, in the case of Harry Dexter White, placed so high in the government that he was almost in the Presidential line of succession. To be sure, Hanssen's betrayal was epic, but it was peanuts compared to some of the miserable bastards that sold out their country during a time of war, handing sensitive military and diplomatic secrets over to the enemy in exchange for money (and sometimes for free).

    Only most people hear about them, because the dominant meme of Cold War historiography is "McCarthyism." (For those who may not be up on American history, Joseph McCarthy was a U.S. Senator in the late 1940's and early 1950's who launched a highly-publicized campaign against the employment of loyalty risks in the federal government and the shoddy government security protocols that allowed them to betray their country without detection, and was roundly criticized by the media, academic, and political establishment for thuggishness). This is ludicrous, because Soviet espionage in the United States pre-dated McCarthy's rise to power, it continued long after he was gone, and in every case it was extensively well-documented -- and yet we are still told that he seized on a fabricated myth of foreign espionage, sharpening people's paranoia (which is, by definition, irrational) and preying on their fears for political gain.

    The decision of historians to focus their writings about Cold War-era espionage more heavily on McCarthy and less on the sorts of people he pursued is a very strange one, and reflects the degree to which the American left successfully whitewashed the treasonous complicity of many of its members with a hostile, violent regime in a time of war. To that end, I think McCarthy has become a bit of a scapegoat. Vilifying him enables leftist professors and historians to paint a picture of history that was both politically favorable for them and yet still consistent with the themes of the time that painted McCarthy as an unacceptable deviation from the American crusade for justice and freedom against Soviet oppression.

    In the interests of enlightening people who have been failed by this politically-motivated revision of American history, I submit the following list of American traitors, who provided aid and comfort to the enemy in a time of war and who, due mainly to the kind of security failures in the government that McCarthy railed so strongly against, have gone largely unnoticed by history. It is not comprehensive; I exclude those who, for reasons of conscious, defected from the Soviet espionage network, as well as those whose guilt is in question. Needless to say, there are possibly hundreds or even thousands more spies who remain unnamed, and at least one to two hundred more whose names I have certainly overlooked.

    • Abraham Brothman
    • Aldrich Ames
    • Aleksandr N. Petroff
    • Alexander Koral
    • Alfred Sarant
    • Alger Hiss
    • Allan Rosenberg
    • Amadeo Sabatini
    • Anatole Volkov
    • Anna Colloms
    • Anne Sidorovich
    • Arthur Adams
    • Arthur Moosen
    • Augustina Stridsberg
    • Bela Gold
    • Bernard Schuster
    • Bernice Levin
    • Boris Morros
    • Burton Perry
    • Cedric Belfrage
    • Charles Flato
    • Charles Irving Velson
    • Charles Kramer
    • Christina Krotkova
    • Clarence Hiskey
    • Daniel Abraham Zaret
    • David Greenglass
    • David Karr
    • Demetrius Dvoichenk-Markov
    • Donald Hiss
    • Donald Wheeler
    • Donald Wheeler
    • Duncan Lee
    • Earl Browder
    • Edmund Stevens
    • Edward J. Fitzgerald
    • Enos Wicher
    • Esther Trebach Rand
    • Eufrosina Dvoichenko-Markov
    • Eugene Dennis
    • Eugene Frank Coleman
    • Eugenie Olkhine
    • Flora Don Wovschin
    • Floyd Cleveland Miller
    • Frank Coe
    • Frank Dziedzik
    • Franz Neumann
    • George Gorchoff
    • George Perazich
    • George Samuel Vucinich
    • George Silverman
    • George Zlatovski
    • Gregory Silvermaster
    • Harold Glasser
    • Harold Ware
    • Harrison George
    • Harry Dexter White
    • Harry Gold
    • Harry Samuel Magdogg
    • Helen Grace Scott Keenan
    • Helen Koral
    • Helen Silvermaster
    • Helen Tenney
    • Henry Collins
    • Herman R. Jacobson
    • Ilya Elliott Wolston
    • Irving Kaplan
    • Isaac Folkoff
    • Jack Fahy
    • Jack Soble
    • Jacob Albam
    • Jacob Golos
    • James Callahan
    • James Walter Miller
    • Jane Foster Zlatovski
    • Jerry Whitworth
    • John Abt
    • John Anthony Walker
    • John Scott
    • Jones Orvin York
    • Josef Peters
    • Joseph Bernstein
    • Joseph Gregg
    • Joseph Katz
    • Judith Coplon
    • Julian Wadleigh
    • Julius Heiman
    • Julius Joseph
    • Julius Rosenberg
    • Kim Philby
    • Kitty Harris
    • Klaus Fuchs
    • Lauchlin Currie
    • Laurence Duggan
    • Lee Pressman
    • Leonard Mins
    • Linn Markley Farish
    • Lona Cohen
    • Louis Adamic
    • Louis Budenz
    • Louis D. Horvitz
    • Maria Wicher
    • Marietta Voge
    • Marion Bachrach
    • Marion Davis
    • Marion Schultz
    • Mark Zborowski
    • Mark Zilbert
    • Martha Dodd Stern
    • Mary Jane Keeney
    • Mary Price
    • Maurice Halperin
    • Michael Burd
    • Michael Greenberg
    • Michael Sidorovich
    • Michael Walker
    • Mikhail Tkach
    • Milton Schwartz
    • Morris Cohen
    • Morton Sobell
    • Myra Soble
    • Nadia Morris Osipovich
    • Nathan Einhorn
    • Nathan Witt
    • Nicholas Dozenberg
    • Nicholas W. Orloff
    • Nicola Napoli
    • Noel Field
    • Norman Bursler
    • Otto Alleman
    • Peter Rhodes
    • Philip Jaffe
    • Philip Keeney
    • Rebecca Getzoff
    • Robert Hanssen
    • Robert Osman
    • Robert Owen Menaker
    • Robert Soblen
    • Robert Switz
    • Robert T. Miller
    • Rosa Isaak
    • Rose Browder
    • Rudy Baker
    • Ruth Greenglass
    • Ruth Wilson
    • Samuel Krafsur
    • Saville Sax
    • Sergey Nikolaevich Kurnakov
    • Sol Leshinsky
    • Solomon Adler
    • Sonia Gold
    • Sonia Gold
    • Stephen Laird
    • Sylvia Callen
    • Theodore Bayer
    • Theodore Hall
    • Thomas Arthur Bissin
    • Thomas Babin
    • Thomas Lessing Black
    • Tsutomu Yano
    • Valentine Burtan
    • Victor Perlo
    • Vladimir Aleksandrovich Pozner
    • William Alfred Plourde
    • William Edward Crane
    • William Gold
    • William Henwood
    • William Mackey
    • William Marias Malisoff
    • William Perl
    • William Pinsly
    • William Taylor
    • William Ullmann
    • William Weisband
    • Winston Burdett
    • Yotoku Miyagi
    • Zalmond David Franklin
  2. vyo476

    vyo476 Well-Known Member

    Apr 10, 2007
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    So not only do you admire McCarthy, you wish to be like him (or you just share his love of lists). That's pretty special.

    Let's get something straight. The interpretation of McCarthy isn't what's politically motivated, it was McCarthy himself who was politically motivated. His position in Washington was threatened so he seized on something everyone was afraid of (communism) and used it to bolster himself - that is, until everyone realized he was a sleaze.

    I mean, sure, he exposed some weaknesses in how the government treats itself and society, but those weaknesses only existed because America wasn't and isn't a police state.
  3. SW85

    SW85 Well-Known Member

    Jun 7, 2007
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    In what way do you assume I "wish to be like him"?

    And in this case, unlike many involving McCarthy, there are actually mountains of empirical evidence stating plainly that these people were not just loyalty risks but actual, honest-to-god spies, who handed over information to the enemy.

    I didn't say McCarthy's aims weren't politically motivated (although he did not, as you say, seize on the issue only when his poll numbers were down -- he ran on the issue during his first Senate bid in 1946, four years before his investigations began in earnest, saying openly that he wanted to "get the communists out of government"). He was a Senator; reelection was a concern for him. It is not a concern for historians; they have no excuse to indulge in such politicking.

    At any rate, insofar as McCarthy was fundamentally right about the degree to which the American government was compromised, I am not interested in the politics of his motives. But his detractors, then and now, are not only motivated by politics, but wrong on top of that. Keep in mind people at the time were not only saying McCarthy's methods were wrong, they were saying there were no spies in government, period. Most people believe that today, too.

    There is absolutely nothing incompatible with freedom and democracy about enforcing basic security procedures in a time of war and in the face of an enemy who has already proven highly adept at compromising government secrets.

    Employment in the government is a privilege, not a right, and the government rightly holds its employees to higher standards of loyalty and behavior than most private companies would (I thought that had been settled during the big civil service debates back in the days of President Arthur). That's why Truman penned the executive order establishing mandatory loyalty screenings. All McCarthy did was hold the government's feet to the fire about enforcing them.
  4. KBunker

    KBunker Guest

    Umm... wrong.

    "I submit the following list of American traitors, who provided aid and comfort to the enemy in a time of war."

    I haven't researched your whole list, but some, and probably most, of the people on don't fit your description. The time period in question for some/most of these people is WWII, and the country for whom some/most of them were agents was the Soviet Union. If you take a little peek at a history book, you'll see that the Soviet Union was an ally of the United States during that little conflict.

    And if some of those on your list were agents after the war, then for your description to fit you have to pretend that the cold war was a "war".

    But I expect pretending is something you spend a lot of time doing -- enjoy it!
  5. Mr. Shaman

    Mr. Shaman Well-Known Member

    Nov 27, 2007
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    ....Even if his motives were all about Politics?? :confused:

    I'd like to think Americans will (eventually) get-over their fondness for tales spun, by the local-drunk, regarding Homeland Security. Yeah, their stories are quit entertaining, but those stories are the artform of delusional-alcoholics, worldwide. What's really scary is when people avoid the inconvenience of a trip to the local-bar, by putting one o' these icons in The Oval Office (so the rantings & ravings are readily-available on cable-T.V.). :rolleyes:

  6. heyjude

    heyjude Well-Known Member

    May 12, 2007
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    Pacific Northwest, on the beach
    Well said. McCarthy was responsible for the deaths of innocent people he falsely accused, who were driven to suicide. And he was, btw, aided and abetted by his friend and spy, Ronald Reagan.
  7. Libsmasher

    Libsmasher Well-Known Member

    Jan 9, 2008
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    I've seen the list from the Venona papers, and you are wrong, they DO fit the descritpion.

    What does that have do to with anything? The US made an alliance of convenience with a dictatorship, the same thing you libs whine about incessantly unless it's a communist dictatorship. Due to lib media pre WWII brainwashing (eg, read up on Walter Duranty from the NYT if you know nothing about this era http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Duranty) the american people didn't recognize the threat posed by the soviet union, but the soviets understood perfectly that the US would be next on their list, and had many american spies working for them. This is no longer disputed by any reputable historian.
  8. Mr. Shaman

    Mr. Shaman Well-Known Member

    Nov 27, 2007
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    Seeing-as-how ReRon Reagan's efforts were mostly self-promotional (in esssence), I'd say Roy Cohn had a lot more, to do, with the more-crude side of McCarthy's alcohol-fueled efforts at relevancy.

  9. Mr. Shaman

    Mr. Shaman Well-Known Member

    Nov 27, 2007
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    Yeah.....right.....Democracy is the dividing-line, between our interests. :rolleyes:

  10. SW85

    SW85 Well-Known Member

    Jun 7, 2007
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    Wow, talk about thread necromancy. Whatever, it's a good thread and I'm happy to participate in the disinterment and continued flogging of its corpse.

    Irrelevant with a capital I. A nominal, short-lived alliance of convenience against a mutual enemy in no way reduces or eliminates the incentives to conduct espionage.

    And are you suggesting that no espionage took place at all? Not even McCarthy's harshest critics say that.

    Worthless pedantry.

    There's a good reason to believe they weren't: case in point, he pursued his goals to the point that it ended his career.

    But again, even if his goals were entirely political and self-interested, he was still right. His opponents, by contrast, were not only motivated by political self-interest, they were wrong on top of that.

    Re: your quotation about Tydings, I don't care. Tydings was a segregationist jackass. His defeat was only marginally relevant to McCarthy (who, as I recall, was still largely unknown in the US at the time).

    Your ability to use real words to say nothing at all astounds me, like some kind of anti-Jabberwocky.

    The only "suicide" I've read about in connection with McCarthy was Ray Kaplan, who was called forward as a friendly witness (not a suspect) and was, in fact, rather eager to testify about some of the VOA's bizarre and inexplicable behaviors. And the method of his suicide was startlingly coincidental with the means by which many enemies of communist government met sudden and otherwise inexplicable deaths. I'm entirely unconvinced this had anything to do with McCarthy. And I don't believe anyone besides the bleating fool William Mandel took it seriously at the time.

    And you know what? McCarthy's methods weren't even new or particularly controversial even by the standards of the time. They'd been used before by Estes Kefauver and again, later, by Bobby Kennedy (a big fan of McCarthy) during his investigations of organized crime.

    As for Cohn, he was the worst thing that McCarthy ever allowed to happen to himself, and its a testament to his routine bad judgments that he stuck up for the kid. (Also a testament to the fact that gay-baiting is perfectly acceptable on the left as long as it's directed towards someone on the right!) Doesn't change the fact that McCarthy was right -- the US government was compromised, heavily, to an extent that cost American lives, and people in the government who knew better did nothing.
  11. Mr. Shaman

    Mr. Shaman Well-Known Member

    Nov 27, 2007
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    Gee.....do you suppose it had something to do with the fact he had nothin'???

    I've gotta wonder why anyone would be so anxious to dig-up McCarthy's legacy.....when we've presently got a burnt-out alcoholic (in The Oval Office) falling-back on the Politics-Of-Fear (in a desperate attempt at relevancy).

    If we're really fortunate, Bush will be the last raging-alcoholic that'll be put in a position-of-power.....you know.....'cause so many people thought it'd be such a delight, sittin'-around and slammin' beers with him. :rolleyes:

  12. SW85

    SW85 Well-Known Member

    Jun 7, 2007
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    I honestly don't know what you're trying to say here, so I can't really comment.

    Four points:

    One, there is actually some basis for asserting either number. Communist infiltration of the U.S. government had been investigated previously by Congress and differing numbers had been reported. As I recall one had stated explicitly that there were 57 people who had been identified as loyalty risks but were still employed (in contravention of the law at the time, signed by Truman, requiring that loyalty risks be fired immediately). Another identified 205 or so people who were still pending loyalty screenings. This may be inaccurate; I'll pick up some books from the library later for citation purposes. Suffice to say he didn't merely pull numbers out of his ass.

    Second, the kerfluffle over whether he said 205 or 57 is vastly overstated. As I recall (again, I will dig up books later to cite for this), the only time he was alleged to have said 205 was at a speech in Wheeling, WV, of which no copy or transcript survives. He insists he said 57 there, as well.

    Third, we know now that either number (57 or 205) is inaccurate because they vastly underestimated the extent of communist infiltration. Go pick up a copy of Haynes' and Klehr's book Venona: the index listing identified Soviet intelligence assets stretches on for nearly 50 pages -- single-spaced, in size 8 font. And this, despite the fact that we identified only a tiny fraction of the total volume of spies.

    And four, I never said McCarthy was right down to every detail (and I defy you to point out where I did). What I said was that he was fundamentally right about communist infiltration, even if he was wrong on specifics -- which is to be expected, since he didn't know half of what we do today. His opponents, by contrast, were not only wrong on specifics but wrong overall. McCarthy's 57 (or 205) was far closer to the real number than Tydings' 0.

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