Liberal treachery from the cold war to the war on terrorism




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Just a few years ago, the New York Times gave as a crossword puzzle clue "Sen. McCarthy's grp," for which the correct answer was supposed to be "HUAC," standing for the House Un-American Activ­ities Committee. The vigilant observer will note that the H in HUAC stands for House. McCarthy was never in the House. As his title indi­cates, Senator McCarthy was a senator. He hadn't the slightest connec­tion with any of HUAC's investigations, which included probes of American Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, Alger Hiss, and Hollywood. The Times correction a few days later idiotically stated, "Joseph R. McCar­thy was ideologically akin to members of the House Committee, but as a senator he had no direct connection with it"1 (emphasis added; "ideologically akin" meaning "We hate them both").

In May 2000, the New York Times headlined an obituary: "Oscar Shaftel, Fired After Refusing McCarthy, Dies at 88." The bulk of the obituary was dedicated to a tearful retelling of Shaftel's suffering at the hands of the reckless demagogue McCarthy:

He and three other teachers from New York City colleges were called before the investigations subcommittee of the Senate Inter­nal Security Committee headed by Senator Joseph R. McCarthy on Feb. 9 and Feb. 10, 1953. Each witness cited the Fifth Amend­ment protection against self-incrimination in refusing to answer.

"They asked if you were a Communist," Dr. Shaftel said in a 1980 interview. "If you said no, and they had different information, that was perjury. If you said yes, they said, 'Name everyone that you know, all of your friends.' If you forgot any, that was perjury." . . .

After he was fired, Dr. Shaftel and other dismissed academics had to get by in what they spoke of as "the wilderness," taking poor-paying jobs for which they had little experience. In Dr. Shaftel’s case, he became what he called a hack writer. He knocked out profiles of small businessmen for a magazine, wrote a book about house construction, and copyedited other books. He often wrote under a pseudonym.

"It was a very bad time, hard on me, hard on my kids," he said in an interview in 1982. "We have survived, but I don't recom­mend it."2

Shaftel had appeared before only one congressional committee: the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee - a subcommittee of which McCarthy was never even a member. The Times eventually ran a correction admitting this more than three months later3 and then only in response to the relentless demands of two media critics who had protested the Times's mendacity.4

Inasmuch as the Times characterized Shaftel as an innocent victim of anti-Communist hysteria, it might be of passing interest to know: "Was he a Communist?" This is the question it is impolite to ask. In fact, Shaftel had been identified under oath as a Communist operative by an economics professor at Queens College.5 If any other religious cult knew so few basic facts about its own seminal beliefs as the liberal cult does about Joe McCarthy, Janet Reno would gas them.

In an immoderately effusive review of its own bravery, The New Republic claimed in a 1984 article, "Far from succumbing to McCarthyism, TNR fought it every step of the way. In February 1949, it chal­lenged the prosecution of Communist Party members under the Smith Act."6 McCarthy had nothing to do with the Smith Act - which was, however, supported by the Communist Party on the assumption it would be used aggressively against "fascists" and Trotskyites.7 Indeed, contrary to their own self-advertisements, liberals were wildly enthu­siastic about the most egregious civil liberties violations, provided Communists were not disturbed. The national ACLU, for example, approved of rounding up the Japanese in World War II. (The Korematsu case, which challenged the internment, was sponsored by a chapter of the ACLU without approval from the national executive.) The left's lusty enthusiasm for suspending civil liberties during World War II seems inconceivable until you realize liberals were in favor of that war because they saw it as a war to save Stalin.

In any event, the Smith Act was passed in 1940 - six years before McCarthy was even elected to the Senate. The act, which criminalized "teaching and advocating the violent overthrow of the government," was written by a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate; signed into law by a Democrat president, FDR; and enforced by another Democrat president, Harry Truman. This is how The New Republic came face-to-face with "McCarthyism."

Liberals explain this history by the simple expedient of lying.

In a 1998 article in The New Republic, Michael J. Ybarra essentially reverses the positions of the two parties, saying, "Truman and many liberal anti-Communists believed the best answer [to Communist sub­versives] was to let the FBI monitor the party and prosecute its mem­bers if they broke laws against subversion or espionage; conservatives, however, believed that the party needed to be crippled and exposed before Moscow's minions launched a revolution."8 In 2088, The New Republic will explain the parties' different approaches to sexual harass­ment by saying, Clinton and many liberal anti-sexual harassment groups believed the best answer was to wait for several women to step for­ward with credible, corroborated stories of physical touching, groping, or pants-dropping; conservatives, however, believed that potential sexual harassers needed to be stopped on the basis of a single woman's uncor­roborated claim of dirty talk about pubic hairs on a Coke can.

While McCarthy is blamed for things he didn't do by people who know nothing, he is often dismissed by those who do know something as irrelevant to the honorable task of red-hunting. Even the eminent scholar Sam Tanenhaus has said that by 1948, "scarcely any Commu­nists were left in government." Using the words of Senator Ralph Flanders - whose other reasoned judgments of McCarthy included calling him a Hitlerite, a homosexual, and Dennis the Menace - Tanenhaus said, "The best McCarthy could do was dredge up a 'pink' dentist at a military base in New Jersey."9

This is preposterous. As Mary McCarthy said of Lillian Hellman, every word about Joe McCarthy is a lie, including "and" and "the."10 The neurotically repeated claim that McCarthy "did not discover a single communist anywhere"11 - as one massive biography of McCar­thy states - is akin to the claim that Ken Starr never proved a single crime committed by Bill Clinton. Unless a liberal shouts out "I did it!" in a Perry Mason climax, liberals say conservatives have proved nothing.

Among the Soviet operatives who had been in government jobs and named by McCarthy were T. A. Bisson, Mary Jane Keeney, Cedric Belfrage, Solomon Adler, Franz Neumann, Leonard Mins, Gustavo Duran, and William Remington (later killed with a bar of soap in prison by a patriotic inmate). All victims of "McCarthyism." But it's a trap to quibble about the precise number of Soviet spies McCarthy uncovered. That wasn't his point. Only by bowdlerizing McCarthy's message can liberals make it look like he failed. McCarthy wasn't sleuthing for hidden Communists. He wasn't an ex-Communist, like Whittaker Chambers, informing on his former comrades in an underground spy ring. He wasn't J. Edgar Hoover, investigating domes­tic espionage. His primary purpose wasn't even to expose individual Communists.

He didn't invent cold fusion or storm the cliffs at Pont du Hoc, either. McCarthy was simply demanding explanations from the liberal establishment: Why were they sheltering traitors? It was the exact same point Eisenhower was making when he directed Attorney Gen­eral Brownell to inform the public that President Truman had wittingly placed a Soviet spy in a key post at the IMF.

For decades, people who should not have been allowed anywhere near a government job were strolling into sensitive positions with the U.S. government. As Soviet agents wormed their way deep into the U.S. government, loyalty boards were sipping sherry and shuffling papers. McCarthy came in with a blowtorch. As even McCarthy's crit­ics concede, "A host of other right-wing Republicans had sought to dramatize the communism issue, but only McCarthy succeeded. And McCarthy succeeded while the others did not in part because of his thoroughgoing contempt for the rules of political controversy."12 McCarthy forced liberals to make an accounting of themselves in full view of the American people. To defend themselves, liberals made McCarthy the issue. Ever since, he has been judged under a juris­prudence of epithets.

It is often clucked that McCarthy could not distinguish between a Communist Party member and a Soviet spy. This is said by people who can't distinguish between a criminal offense and a fireable offense. The question wasn't simply whether people like William Remington were agents of Stalin. (He was.) The question was whether he should be working for the U.S. government. The "accused" weren't going to be sent to a gulag, only to private practice. It's not that complicated a point. Fifty years of liberal propaganda has accustomed people to thinking of Communist Party members as lovable idealists and the urge to fire them from government jobs as an irrational anachronistic prejudice, much like "Irish need not apply." Allowing card-carrying members of the Communist Party to handle classified material after the Alger Hiss case would be like allowing avowed members of al-Qaeda to carry box cutters on airplanes after 9-11. As J. Edgar Hoover said of McCarthy, "Thank God somebody's doing it."13

A case in point was the "pink dentist," Irving Peress. Even after the scandal of the Rosenberg cell emerging from the Army, the Army was still blithely employing ridiculous security risks. Beginning in early 1953, for one solid year, Army intelligence issued urgent warn­ings about Captain Irving Peress. The reports said that Peress was an active member of the Communist Party, that he was "very disloyal and untrustworthy."14 He was thought to be organizing a Communist cell on the Army base.15 One Army report said, "His very presence creates an uncomfortable feeling."16 His camp commander wanted him dismissed on grounds of national security.17 Needless to say, the scrawny pinko was also a failure as a soldier.18

Despite all this - and well after the Rosenbergs had been caught - the Army did not dismiss Peress, but promoted him to major. When were they going to learn? Thanks to the Army's incompetence in deal­ing with the Rosenbergs, nearly 300 million Americans would spend the second half of the twentieth century under threat of nuclear annihila­tion, to say nothing of the 500 million enslaved by the Soviet Empire. McCarthy exposed the Army's egregious stupidity in dealing with Peress. According to internal Army documents, what finally spurred the Army to get rid of Peress - with an honorable discharge - was their fear of McCarthy finding out about him.19

Senator Ralph Flanders - a Vermont Republican in the full sense of the term - instantly grasped the importance of the Peress case. He attacked McCarthy for his brutal excesses. Peress, Flanders said, was merely a "pink dentist in New Jersey." What does it mean to call Peress a "pink dentist"? He was also a major in the Army. It is true that in his civilian life, Peress had been a dentist. Did that make him any less impressive than the various members of the Rosenbergs' cell? Using Flanders's nomenclature, Harry Gold was a "pink college dropout in Pennsylvania" - and one of the Soviet Union's most prolific industrial and atomic spies. Among his sources for atomic secrets was a "pink soldier in New Mexico" - Ethel Rosenberg's brother, David Greenglass.20

Another example of the fine job the Army was doing routing loy­alty risks from sensitive positions was the case of Annie Lee Moss. Amazingly, the Moss case has gone down in history as one of McCar­thy's most laughable blunders. According to lovingly nurtured liberal mythology, McCarthy recklessly hauled a semiliterate black washwoman before the committee and accused her of being a Communist.

In fact, what the Moss case demonstrates is the hysterical resis­tance McCarthy faced from the press and from his Democratic col­leagues. Moss had been "absolutely" identified as a Communist Party member by a reliable FBI informant.21 She was listed in the Commu­nist Party's records. The party's newspaper, the Daily Worker, was delivered to her home - and mysteriously seemed to follow her wher­ever she lived.22 Annie Lee Moss was also working in the Code Room of the Pentagon.

Moss played the fool when she testified before McCarthy's com­mittee. Democrats, always eager to portray blacks as stupid for their political advantage, enthusiastically egged on Moss's ignorant wash­woman performance. Democrat Senator Stuart Symington spoke to Moss as if she were a child, asking her, "Would you ever do anything to hurt your country?" (No, she would not.) Symington said, "Did you ever hear of Karl Marx?" To gales of laughter from sensitive liberals in the press, Moss said, "Who's that?"23

Still, the evidence against Moss was not insignificant. To claim Moss was not a security risk, the Democrats would need something more persuasive than their ability to laugh at black people. When

Moss innocently mentioned that there were three other people named Annie Lee Moss in the Washington, D.C., phonebook, everyone in the hearing room breathed a sigh of relief. The press accepted this expla­nation and happily returned to calling McCarthy a reckless dema­gogue. In front of the entire hearing room, "Sanctimonious Stu" Symington offered Moss a job if the Pentagon would not take her back. CBS's Edward R. Murrow used the Moss case as critical evidence of McCarthy's reckless cruelty in his "See It Now" broadside against McCarthy.24

One thing hard-nosed reporters like Murrow did not do was open a Washington, D.C., phonebook to see if Moss was telling the truth. If they had, they would have seen there were not three people named "Annie Lee Moss." The poor put-upon washwoman was lying. There was an Anna Lee Moss and an Annie Moss. But there was only one Annie Lee Moss - and she lived at 72 R Street S.W., Washington, D.C.25 That was the precise address where Communist Party records listed their "Annie Lee Moss."26 Indeed, in her testimony before the committee, Moss had specifically given her address as 72 R Street while explaining another wacky coincidence. It seemed that wherever Moss lived, the Daily Worker kept being delivered to her door. First she received it at a rooming house, and then, she explained, we "didn't get this Communist paper anymore until after we had moved south­west, at 72 R St."27 There is no question: McCarthy had the right Annie Lee Moss.

It was a breathtaking security breach. Even after the Rosenberg case, the Army was employing a Communist Party member in the Code Room of the Pentagon. The Army briefly suspended Moss during McCarthy's investigation and then - thanks to great patriots like Edward R. Murrow - the Army soon rehired her. Only because of the ruckus McCarthy had caused, the Army at least did not put Moss back in the Code Room.

The blabocracy portrays the Moss case a little differently. In one of many glorious accounts of how brave liberals stood up to Joe McCar­thy, a Broadway play titled A Question of Loyalty showed the McCarthy character browbeating Moss until - in a triumphant moment - Moss produces a telephone book proving there are three other Annie Lee Mosses. A New York Times theater review called this the "most satisfy­ing moment" of the play.28 So apparently liberals were aware of the looking-in-the-phonebook trick. They just didn't bother using it in the actual Annie Lee Moss case.

One of the most Orwellian lies of the McCarthy myth is that he "named names," as the slogan goes, ruining people's lives with reck­less accusations. Apart from distracting questions of guilt or inno­cence, it is a fact that McCarthy doggedly resisted releasing anyone's name to the public. As is usually the case when liberals are the histo­rians, the truth was just the opposite. Blinded by their own loathing, Democrats literally forced McCarthy to name names.
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