Thursday, November 27, 2008

McCarthy by Kathryn Sall

Below Is a speech my daughter Kathryn gave to her high school. As you will note it contradicts conventional liberal wisdom. None the less it is accurate. The sources used are unimpeachable. Interestingly, a few teachers approached her privately after the speech and expressed how wonderful it was to hear what she said. However, those feelings could never be expressed publicly in an academic environment, lest the speaker risk a career catastrophe. So much for the assembly of differing ideas. That is what academics say..not what they do..

"Like Hitler, [Joseph] McCarthy was a screamer, a political thug, a master of the mob, an exploiter of popular fears… He was a master of the scabrous and scatological; his talk was laced with obscenity. He was a vulgarian by method as well as by instinct. He made little pretense to religiosity or to any species of moral rectitude. He sought to manipulate only the most barbaric symbols of America—the slippery elm club, the knee in the groin, and the brass knuckles. He was a prince of hate".

This statement by Richard Rovere is typical of most descriptions of former Senator Joseph McCarthy, Republican from Wisconsin. Almost everyone you will meet would agree with him. There is only one small problem. Every word is a lie. Statements like these were commonplace and still are. Half of the Congressional leaders and every mainstream media outlet, today and in the past, on front and editorial pages, have made similar statements. Our generation's ideas have been shaped by these falsehoods, and therefore most of you probably share a similar opinion. In telling various people about my assembly topic I was met with raised eyebrows, followed by an incredulous, "you're defending Joe McCarthy?!" My advice for them and everyone is believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.

For some reason most people assume that the printed word is accurate, as if the mere fact that something is published authenticates it. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Nothing can be assumed to be impartial or factual simply because it is in print. Historical inaccuracies and lies are as common as the lies we listen to every day. While I could give you a long list of examples, time constraints allow me to focus on only one.

Good morning. My name is Kathryn Sall and I am here to set the story straight about this heroic Senator, Joseph McCarthy, whose very name has become a malediction.

The United States allied itself with the Soviet Union to defeat the fascists in World War II. During that time the communist threat both abroad and domestically grew exponentially, but was largely ignored because of the war. Communists had infiltrated all branches of our government. Imagine if today, Al Qaeda operatives were advising president Bush while taking orders from Bin Laden (Coulter). Communist ambitions were to take over the world, and we, the capitalists, were their main target.

As one example of the level of infiltration, President Franklin Roosevelt had a member of the Communist party and a Communist spy, Alger Hiss, advising him at the peace conference at Yalta. Is it any wonder that the Allies gave away most of Eastern Europe and left the people imprisoned by the Soviet Union for the next fifty years? Throughout the forties a few Senators and Congressmen addressed the growing threat, but little action was taken. At best this was benign neglect by the Roosevelt and Truman administrations.

Joe McCarthy took up the cause of getting the Communists out of the government. For this he was attacked relentlessly by both the media and the opposing party. As historian M. Stanton Evans points out, the oft repeated charge by his opponents that these were "stale, warmed over charges" (he was making) did not make them "false, irrelevant, obsolete, and unimportant," as McCarthy's critics claimed. To the contrary, the communist threat remained very menacing. In fact we now know that most of the charges were true, and most of the suspected spies and sympathizers were exactly what they were thought to be. They were throughout government, working to undermine this great democracy. (Evans)

In the United States it has always been legal to be a communist. But it has always been illegal to be a communist spy. Today it would be legal to philosophically support Al Qaeda, but quite illegal to spy for Al Qaeda. Legal or not, I doubt anyone would want active al Qaeda members working in our government. But many communists in the post war government of the 40s and 50s were working in government, literally hundreds of them.

It is commonly believed that Senator McCarthy was a member of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, then charged with investigating the Communist threat. In fact he was never even in the House of Representatives, his only national elected office was to the US Senate. McCarthy's detractors claim he made reckless charges, ruining innocent people's lives with unsubstantiated evidence or no evidence at all. To the contrary, the congressional record shows that during the investigation he fought to not release any names, pointing out these people were not yet guilty of anything and could be unfairly hurt if the were innocent. He chose to speak on the Senate floor using code names like case #1 and case #2 (Coulter). But his opponents seem to have thought it in their best political interests to demand that the names be made public. During one exchange, Democratic senator Scott W. Lucas of Illinois interrupted him 60 times stating, "I want him [McCarthy] to name those communists" (Evans). McCarthy offered instead to go into a closed committee hearing so only the senators would know the names, but his offer was denied, and some innocent people were unfairly tarred. But who used that "knee in the groin?" Who was barbaric, McCarthy or his opponents, those same people for whom history has now been rewritten?

When McCarthy was elected America was in complete denial of this threat. Supposed cold war expert David Caute said, "There is no documentation in the public record of a direct connection between the American Communist Party and espionage during the entire postwar period" (Coulter). Like many of the supposed certainties on this subject, he couldn't have been more wrong.

Whittaker Chambers was a disillusioned former Soviet Spy who admitted his guilt, and named Alger Hiss, an assistant Secretary of State under FDR, as a co-conspirator, a spy with whom he had worked. This caused a heated debate, and as you might expect, the complete trashing of Chambers and his reputation. Although there was a wealth of evidence pointing to Hiss's guilt, the government only convicted him of perjury for lying about his relationship with Chambers. Little did anyone know at the time, incontrovertible proof of his treason did exist. and would come to light in the form of the Venona papers.

Venona was a project undertaken in the 1940s to try to decipher a code used in secret transmissions by the Soviet Union. The code was cracked, but for fear of leaks the FBI did not share the information with other branches of government. The transcripts were finally released after the fall of the Soviet Union. They showed that the White House, the State Department, the War Department (today's Department of Defense), the Office of Strategic Services (the forerunner of the CIA), and the Treasury Department, were completely infiltrated by communists taking direct orders from the Kremlin (Coulter). We know for certain there were over 300 soviet spies that were in government. If anything, the Venona Papers prove that McCarthy underestimated the communist problem, rather than the common belief today that he had vastly overstated it.

It has become fashionable in certain circles to argue the innocence of the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, spies executed for transferring nuclear secrets to the Soviets. Two cohorts from their inner circle fled the country when they were arrested. Ethel Rosenberg's brother in law testified to their guilt, there were other eyewitness accounts, and there was the jury's verdict, but nothing is enough to convince some people. As Ann Coulter, leading political writer puts it, they had "spied on their own country and turned over atomic secrets to a grisly totalitarian regime that would threaten American citizens for the next 50 years." Nikita Khrushchev wrote in his memoirs that the Rosenbergs gave "very significant help in accelerating the production of [The USSR's] atomic bomb." The Venona papers combined with several Soviet archives that were also released after the fall of the Soviet Union, proved that not only were Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs spies, but Harry Dexter White, assistant secretary of the treasury under FDR, Lauchlin Currie, administrative assistant to FDR, Duncan Lee, the equivalent today's CIA chief of staff under FDR, Harry Hopkins, FDR adviser, Owen Lattimore, senior State Department official, and Joseph Davies, US ambassador to the USSR were also Soviet spies. (Evans) Davies once declared that "Russia… [had] every moral right to seek atomic bomb information through military espionage" (Evans). Think about that. That came from a man with vast powers as a representative of the United States government. He was saying that our sworn enemy had the right to steal our plans and develop weapons meant for our destruction.

Everything uncovered in the last 50 years is consistent with most of what McCarthy said. In addition to Chambers, ex-communist spies Elizabeth Bentley and Louis Budenz came forward to confirm what the Venona papers recorded.. One Soviet spy, Judith Coplon, a Foreign Agents Registration government worker with regular access to counter-intelligence information, was apprehended in the act of handing a US counter-intelligence file over to a KGB officer (Coulter). The list goes on and on.

One of the most famous quotes from McCarthy's hearings was that of the army special counsel Joseph Welch, who ended a heated exchange with McCarthy by saying, "Have you left no sense of decency?" (Schulz). He was attacking McCarthy for exposing communist front organization member Frederick Fisher, with Welch claiming Fisher was simply a young family man and lawyer trying build a career. However, what is conveniently left out of textbooks today, is that Welch himself fired Fisher from his law firm six weeks earlier because Fisher was a member of the very Communist front organization McCarthy had referred to. (Schulz). Obviously, his attack on McCarthy was pure theatrics. Unfortunately, this same play is oft repeated today as if it were factual.

There was a real threat facing America, and Joe McCarthy came forth to fight it, at the expense of his good name and career. Although he proved right in almost every instance, if you listen to any account given today, you would understandably believe that he was some depraved individual trying to advance his career by attacking innocent, law abiding citizens. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Most books about McCarthy repeat the same story of his villainous, rabid rampages. But in all these books the sources are key. Look at them. The footnotes all cite academics, who cite other academics, which all trace back to anti-McCarthy press who positively loathed him (Coulter). Few actually cite primary sources like the congressional record, eyewitness testimony, or even contemporaneous notes. That is until now. For the past 8 years historian M. Stanton Evans has been rifling through "hundreds of thousands of pages of records, reports, transcripts, and other documents" (Schulz) and has finally released the first accurate account of this period, Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and his Fight Against America's Enemies. I have not even scratched the surface of the falsehoods accepted as fact in this matter. For the whole truth I encourage you to read this book and see for yourselves. Evans cites primary sources and footnotes everything. You be the judge. He concludes with, "In the end, [McCarthy] perished, politically and otherwise, in the rubble he pulled down around him. Yet when the final chapter in the conflict with Moscow was written, amid yet another pile of rubble, he was not without his triumph" (Evans).

It is important to give McCarthy the credit he deserves in his defense of America and the treason he exposed. But the most important point I have tried to make is that history can be and is re-written with relative ease. McCarthy had a great deal of support at the time, certainly within his own party, but also a majority of the public. Still, after his generation passed and the witnesses had died, people were free to rewrite history as they chose. If someone were not born at the time, and was told one version, any version repeatedly, it would become their truth.. The next time you hear the word McCarthyism, or are told of this dark period of persecution and denial of individual rights by our government, think about what I told you today…We will all be better for it..
Thank you.


Drew said...

Cheers Kathryn and to you as well Mr. Sall for making more people aware of the truth. For many it is hard to see and yet no one in the media is willing to venture out and show what is there in front of all us for all to see. This is no longer a Republican/Democrat issue, as many in each party are persuaded solely by monetary desires and special interests. It is amazing how such a young mind has been able to see this and shed light on an issue that is incredibly important. Kathryn, good luck with your future studies and hopefully a liberal college agenda will not shape such a mind. I was shaped by such an agenda, even though my upbringing suggested a much different course, but was able to "see the light" once living in the "real" world. It amazes me the extent to which professors and media elites will go to shape those who are willing to accept what is fed to them for a solid grade. Great speech and good hopefully more people out there can "see the light" as well.

Will said...

Kathryn -
I give you credit for taking so publicly what is certainly an unpopular position.
I argue, however, that it is unpopular for a reason, and that you've been fooled by the political ideologues from whom you are getting your misinformation. You've mostly cribbed from Ann Coulter, and despite her many attributes, she is certainly no historian. Neither, I dare say, is your father, regardless of how well-intentioned he may be. M. Stanton Evans is a columnist, a political commentator, and a member of the American Conservative Union's board of directors. A rigorous historian he is not.
The bottom line is that Senator McCarthy's accusations never produced a single, actionable piece of evidence leading to a conviction, or even an official criminal charge of spying for the communists. He did, however, manage to destroy the lives and careers of many good American patriots.
In 1950 he accused more than 200 members of the U.S. State Department of spying for the USSR, all of whom were exonerated after an extremely thorough and lengthy investigation.
In 1953, on live television, he questioned dozens of staff from the Voice of America radio service, directly challenging them as communists, ruining many of their lives quite publicly. Once again, none of the accusations were proved true.
Later that year he accused several members of the United States Army Signal Corps of working for the Soviets, including a decorated World War II veteran. Once again, no convictions came from the lengthy investigations he initiated, and no actionable intelligence was discovered.
As far as I can tell, Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs deserved to be hung from the highest tree. But Senator McCarthy had exactly nothing to do with either case.
In some circles it is now in vogue to revisit the McCarthy era, and indeed, our impression of history does sometimes become less accurate with the passing of time and the changing political fashion. But you are incorrect when you claim that McCarthy had the support of his own party and his generation. Nothing could be further from the truth. At no point in his political career did McCarthy enjoy more than 50 percent of public support. In most years, only one-in-three members of "his generation" supported his methods. You can find the Gallup polling numbers archived online. As for his own party, McCarthy was even less popular. In 1953 Senate Majority Leader Robert Taft reassigned McCarthy to a less significant committee where he hoped McCarthy couldn't, "do any harm."
McCarthy was unpopular then, as he is now, and for very good reason, despite the current curious attempts by modern political ideologues to rehabilitate his legacy.

michael Sall said...

Will.. Trivializing Coulter and Evans personally is not an argument. They footnoted everything they represented as fact. The congressional record speaks for itself. McCarthy DID try to keep the names out of the public. His detractors insisted the hearings be open. The reason the many comissions exonerated everyone is there WAS no proof, and I would bet they were all liberal. Until the Venona papers the left was claiming Hiss and the Rosenbergs were innocent. Many still do today, even though they were demonstrably guilty without any papers. The Venona papers and Soviet archives DO provide ABSOLUTE proof about them and literally hundreds more, many in the highest echelons of government. Not everyone interviewed was a Communist, much less a spy, but many were. I have heard many academics who disagree with Evans' conclusions debate him..but not one time did they contest the facts he represented. You are welcome to your conclusions/ opinions..not your facts.

One example: Tito, backed by the US, rose to power in Yugoslovia during a complex civil war. Our State Department people on the ground (it might have been the OSS, I can't remember) were advising the State Department that Tito was pro American. After he gained power, he went with the Soviets. Only because of the Venona papers did we find out that the advisors were Soviet spys and we backed the pro Soviet faction.

I can't remember what source Ann used when she said that a vast majority of Americans supported McCarthy, but for purposes of this discussion I will use the 50% you mention, or 40%, or 30%. Given the main stream media's abhorence of him, I'd argue even those are healthy numbers. Ask 100 Americans who have heard of Joe McCarthy what they think of him, and the number approving would be zero. What the liberals failed to do during his life time, they succeeded in doing after his death. I challenge you to read "Blacklisted by History" and show me any false representation.

David said...

To Kathryn Sall:

Kudos to you for taking a bold stand for the truth, your willingness to overcome ignorance by speaking out and a wonderfully-written and truly brilliant speech. My daughter is not quite two, so you might beat her to becoming the first woman elected to President of the US, but perhaps by that time she will be old enough for you to have her as your VP on the first all-woman ticket!

I reject the criticism that was offered in one of the comments regarding from where you "culled your material." Some people choose to discredit raw data simply because it was dispersed through a channel of which they do not approve.

It is obvious that you have evaluated and absorbed the data and not merely approached this in an effort to bolster your own ideology. I can also tell that these are your words, spoken with conviction. No man (or woman) is perfect, and Joe McCarthy is certainly no exception. However, as the saying goes, facts are stubborn things, and the facts speak well for Mr. McCarthy.

Likewise, this work speaks well for you, and I will look ahead to big things from you in the not-too-distant future.

God bless you.

David said...

To Will:

Your "bottom line" reveals not only your ideology, but its resulting ignorance. You are truly among the indoctrinated.

This is a typical straw man argument liberals use in an effort to discredit McCarthy. However, even in your attempt to confuse the issue, your claim is false.

First, it was not McCarthy's duty to obtain convictions, nor even to obtain evidence that would lead to convictions. This conviction argument is a common liberal tactic used to confuse and confound the issue.

The scope of McCarthy's efforts was to find people with misplaced loyalties working in sensitive positions within the US government. McCarthy had no power to obtain convictions, and it was not his job to do so.

McCarthy submitted people for review to the committee that appointed him; they were to decide whether to undertake an investigation. McCarthy had no say in the outcome. His role was to relay the information/evidence he had obtained that led to his recommendation. Investigation was at the discretion of the committee.

If the committee deemed the person to be inappropriate for the position they held, they could have the person reassigned or terminated. McCarthy had no say in this either.

A great example is the case of Annie Lee Moss, a cleaning lady who worked in the Code Room at the Pentagon. She subscribed to a known Communist newspaper, the Daily Worker, and she was listed in the Communist Party's records. She had been identified as a member of the Communist Party by an FBI informant.

The Democrats successfully made this seem like a McCarthy blunder, portraying her as a harmless and half-bright black woman (Democrats tend to show their true colors regarding race when it suits their purposes), so it ended up being a public victory for them. But the fact remains that McCarthy had done his job - there was a member of the Communist Party working in the Code Room of the Pentagon, and after McCarthy had her brought up for investigation, she no longer held that position.

Your bottom line statement is true in a very Clintonian fashion. To minimize the effect of McCarthy's work in the war on Communist infiltration based upon this "conviction standard" invented by liberals would be similar to a critic of the New England Patriots making the claim that Tom Brady is not a good football player because he hasn't made many tackles.

With that said, I do know of at least one person who was tried and convicted for espionage, and who was also proven by the Venona Project to be a Soviet spy - William Remington of the Commerce Department. This disproves your claim of "no convictions."

Regardless of whether the conviction was a direct or indirect result of McCarthy's work, the fact remains that Remington was a person named by McCarthy as a potential liability, and McCarthy's recommendation was later bolstered by Remington's conviction as well as the evidence gathered in Venona, proving conclusively that Remington was a Soviet spy.

It was not even McCarthy's role to root out spies. The fact that so many of the people he turned over for investigation turned out to be confirmed by Venona as spies is a testimony to the thorough manner with which he carried out his assignment.

In fact, McCarthy recommended 81 people for investigation. As it turns out, he was only scratching the surface. Venona revealed that there were well over 300 Soviet agents throughout a myriad of agencies and levels, up to and possibly including Vice President (Henry Wallace).

The true bottom line is that McCarthy performed an invaluable service to this country, which he truly loved. Without Joe McCarthy, there is no question America would be much further along the path to Communism than we already are, and the Soviet advance of Communism throughout the world would have been greatly aided in the absence of his work.

Anonymous said...

Excellent Kathryn. A fine job. Please challenge you professors in college at every turn. Even in the non-liberal arts classes where the groupthink meme effects the entire faculty's thinking.
I recommend to all the book, 'The Forsaken' by Tim Tzouliadis. It chronicles a vast sympathy of the FDR administration, State Dept and American press toward Stalinist USSR. This sympathetic cover up benefited the USSR as thousands of immigrating Americans died or were sentenced to gulags and who had only went there for a better "egalitarian" life.
Also the book: Un-American Activities: The Trials of William Remington
by Gary May. If I am not mistaken, Ann Coulter's father was an investigator of Remington.
Good Luck.