July 23, 2003

The Current NSC Staff

Recent press reports have led many people to ask, "What kind of people staff the National Security Council these days?" Well, here is NSC director Elliott Abrams on Tail-Gunner Joe (McCarthy, that is):

In his review (Elliott Abrams (1996), "McCarthyism Reconsidered," National Review February 26, pp. 57-60. [A review of the reissue of William F. Buckley and L. Brent Bozell, McCarthy and His Enemies (Regnery).]) of the reissue of Buckley and Bozell's infamous McCarthy and His Enemies, Abrams advances on his own--or approves Buckley and Bozell's advocacy of--five theses:

  1. The key issue in assessing Joe McCarthy--the bar he has to pass--is not whether his charges were accurate or backed by evidence, but whether the State Department was running its security policy poorly. Senator McCarthy did not need to show that individual State Department employees were spies or even that there were spies in the State Department. Instead, all he needed to do was to show that there was some evidence the State Department had overlooked that an employee was a security or loyalty risk.
  2. In most of his cases McCarthy did adduce persuasive evidence; the State Department's efforts stood condemned; and the screams of 'Red Scare' were efforts to occlude the truth.
  3. That in spite of some blunders--for example, the accusation that George Marshall was a Maoist traitor--McCarthy's record for truthfulness was, given his metier, extremely good. After all, McCarthy was not in physics but in politics, a business that permitted a certain latitude.
  4. Buckley and Bozell's McCarthy and His Enemies deserves special praise for standing up to the liberal anti-McCarthyist hysteria of the 1950s. It challenged the liberals' claim to the moral high ground. Buckley and Bozell were right to reject the argument that McCarthyism was in its very essence evil because it was an effort at censorship and thought control. Instead the essence of McCarthyism was to defend liberty from Communism.
  5. McCarthy fell not because he was a bad man working for a bad cause but because he was smeared by the iron triangle of liberal journalists, liberal bureaucrats, and liberal politicians. To quote Abrams: "As [Whittaker] Chambers had predicted, [Joseph] McCarthy's blunders became capital crimes for which his cause would be punished. His opponents' capital crimes became blunders that were not newsworthy. Thus the many hearings about McCarthy focused not on whether State Department procedures really were adequate, but first on whether McCarthy had offered legally persuasive proof that Mr. X and Mrs. Y were indeed espionage agents, and then on whether McCarthy was behaving himself. What neither McCarthy, nor Buckley and Bozell, could have known in 1954 was that this new pattern would take hold in our public life.... [I]t was in the McCarthy era that the iron triangle of liberal bureaucrats, a liberal press, and liberal Democrats in control of Congress was first evident.... But from the early 1950s on, the pattern unveiled in the McCarthy era reigned supreme, reaching its apotheosis in the Watergate and Iran/Contra hearings."

Posted by DeLong at July 23, 2003 06:20 PM | TrackBack

Comments

I guess if you are not trustworthy enough to practice law, you can still be trustworthy enough to be a presidential advisor?

In re Elliot Abrams 689 A.2d 6 (D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, February 1997).

The Board of Professional Responsibility of the D.C. Bar recommended that former Assistant Secretary of State Eliot Abrams be suspended from law practice for one year, asserting that Abrams had engaged in "dishonesty, deceit or misrepresentation" by giving false (but unsworn) testimony to three Congressional committees regarding the role of the United States government in what has become known as the Iran-Contra Affair.

Following Abrams' conviction, upon a plea of guilty, of criminal charges arising out of his Congressional testimony, President Bush granted him a full and unconditional pardon. Although Abrams conceded before the Board that the pardon did not preclude Bar Counsel from maintaining this disciplinary proceeding, he contended that the President's action blotted out not only his convictions but also the underlying conduct, and that Bar Counsel's charges should be dismissed.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that "although the presidential pardon set aside Abrams' convictions, as well as the consequences which the law attaches to those convictions, it could not and did not require the court to close its eyes to the fact that Abrams did what he did. "Whatever the theory of the law may be as to the effect of a pardon, it cannot work such moral changes as to warrant the assertion that a pardoned convict is just as reliable as one who has constantly maintained the character of a good citizen." .[In particular], the pardon could not "reinvest [Abrams] with those qualities which are absolutely essential for an attorney at law to possess or rehabilitate him in the trust and confidence of the court." Accordingly, we hold that this court's authority to impose professional discipline was not nullified by the presidential pardon.

Posted by: bakho on July 23, 2003 07:57 PM

Last I heard, McCarthy was brought down by bipartisan repugnance, after taking on the US Army (for the second time; the first time was over Malmedy). So a least one point of Abrams' argument is simply false.

The part about accuracy of charges being unimportant is standard GOP rhetoric, of course.

Posted by: Barry on July 24, 2003 04:13 AM

So, calling Elliot Abrams an al Qaeda agent would be a legitimate way of highlighting deficiencies in the administration's security proceedures? Apparently, given Mr. Abrams position on McCarthy . . .

Posted by: rea on July 24, 2003 04:59 AM

Of course not. However, calling N unidentified people in the administration Al Quaeda agents would be legitimate. But only if N varied from speech to speech, and the person making these accusations never proved anything about the people on their list.


Come to think about it, has the GOP ever really abaondoned this technique?

Posted by: Barry on July 24, 2003 06:00 AM

http://www.cjr.org/year/03/4/vest.asp

just saw this on stephen cambone:

"Nominated to fill the position of undersecretary of defense for Intelligence, Stephen A. Cambone ó a Rumsfeld loyalist rising rapidly through the Defense Departmentís senior ranks ó didnít even merit the undivided attention of his overseers, but was wedged in with nominees for subcabinent positions in the Energy and Army departments.

"That was more than a little troubling. The gist of Camboneís brief turn before the committee essentially boiled down to this: Trust me. Just because Iím going to be the first person to have direct control over every defense intelligence agency ó NSA, NRO, NIMA, DIA, etc. ó and their budgets; even though I work for a secretary with a well-documented history of Machiavellian power plays; even though Iím part of a clique with a reputation for seeking the intelligence analysis that meshes with its ideological goals ó I certainly wonít be a competitor to the director of Central Intelligence."

Posted by: kenny on July 24, 2003 06:36 AM

" the accusation that George Marshall was a Maoist traitor--"

Which is an accusation not made by McCarthy. However, Marshall's policies could hardly have worked better to Mao's advantage had they been designed to do so. At a time when the Truman Admin was reading and re-reading Kennan's "Long Telegram" that pointed out clearly the sources of Stalin's behavior (i.e. he retreats in the face of resolve, but exploits perceived weakness), Marshall was advocating withdrawing financial support from the Nationalists. The theory being that Russia wouldn't rush in to support Mao because we weren't seen as threatening!

Marshall got his way. China got Maoism.

Ann Coulter is correct, "McCarthyism" is a great myth, and a few nights ago on Bill O'Reilly, she got a great example of it. It went something like this:

O'Reilly: "How can you support McCarthy, he ruined innocent peoples' lives."

Coulter: "Name one."

O'Reilly: (pause) "Dalton Trumbo."

Coulter: (suppressing laughter) "McCarthy had nothing to do with Dalton Trumbo."

O'Reilly: "HUAC."

Coulter: "Bill, SENATOR McCarthy served in the SENATE. HUAC stands for House Un-American Activities Committee. McCarthy had nothing to do with HUAC.

O'Reilly: "I don't want to debate you about McCarthy."

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 24, 2003 07:25 AM

Just because O'Reilly needs a history lesson does not make Ms Coulter correct. I for one am glad that she is campaigning to rehabilite McCarthy. It shows how out of touch the right wing of the GOP is with American values.

Posted by: bakho on July 24, 2003 07:57 AM

It is interesting to find ads for Ann Coulter's new screed on the website. The right wing is a product of mass marketing.

For a speech about true American values click here:

http://www.counterpunch.com/bond07192003.html

Posted by: bakho on July 24, 2003 08:01 AM

Bill O'Reilly does not understand the difference between HUAC and the McCarthy hearings, ergo McCarthyism is just a myth.

Ah yes, the logic of Patrick Sullivan.

Posted by: achilles on July 24, 2003 08:02 AM

Casualties since May 1:

American soldiers 99
British soldiers 11
---
110 After May 1

American soldiers 238
British soldiers 44
---
282 Complete Totals

Note: American forces have risen to 148,000
British forces have been cut from 10,000 to 5,000

Posted by: lise on July 24, 2003 08:14 AM

Where is Joe Tail-Gunner McCarthy when we need him? Exactly how many commies are there in this Administration? Oops.

Posted by: bill on July 24, 2003 08:21 AM

Sullivan, both of 'em, want to bring back McCarthyism. We'll call it Sullivanism.

Patrick, you and your government want to go after me with anti-American slurs. Be sure to bring a gun.

O'Reilly interviewing Coulter: Slime TV.

Posted by: John Thullen on July 24, 2003 08:35 AM

" Bill O'Reilly does not understand the difference between HUAC and the McCarthy hearings, ergo McCarthyism is just a myth.

" Ah yes, the logic of Patrick Sullivan."

Don't understand what an "example" is?

Here's another, from Coulter's "Treason", the NY Times crossword puzzle a few years ago gave as a clue, "Sen. McCarthy's group". The answer to which was HUAC. They resisted correcting that, and when they finally did, they claimed that the two were "ideologically akin". As Coulter drolly noted, that means, "We hate them both.".

Had O'Reilly read her book, he wouldn't have made such a blunder.

BTW, can you name one innocent person whose life McCarthy ruined?

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 24, 2003 08:48 AM

Me love Joe.
Me love Joe.
Me love Joe.

Sing the right radical fruitcakes.

Posted by: emma on July 24, 2003 08:53 AM

Could Joe Boy come up with the right number of American soldiers who have been killed in Iraq since May 1? Much of the press appears to have no ability to count. Time for some respect for such sacrifice. Not 30 some or 40 some, but 99.

Posted by: lise on July 24, 2003 09:02 AM

Patrick Sullivan says McCarthy did *not* call Marshall a traitor. Here's McCarthy:

"How can we account for our present situation unless we believe that men high in this Government are concerting to deliver us to disaster? This must be the product of a great conspiracy, a conspiracy on a scale so immense as to dwarf any previous such venture in the history of man. A conspiracy of infamy so black that, when it is finally exposed, its principals shall be forever deserving of the maledictions of all honest men.

"What can be made of this unbroken series of decisions and acts contributing to the strategy of defeat? They cannot be attributed to incompetence. If Marshall were merely stupid, the laws of probability would dictate that part of his decisions would serve this country's interest.

"What is the objective of the great conspiracy? I think it is clear from what has occurred and is now occurring: to diminish the United States in world affairs, to weaken us militarily, to confuse our spirit with talk of surrender in the Far East and to impair our will to resist evil. To what end? To the end that we shall be contained, frustrated and finally fall victim to Soviet intrigue from within and Russian military might from without. . . ."

How can we account for Patrick's refusal to see the obvious? Can it be attributed to incompetence?...

Posted by: Jeffrey Kramer on July 24, 2003 09:06 AM

Like several other neo-cons, Elliott Abrams is a lying scumbag who should be in prison for his role in supporting, training and defending the reign of terror in Central American during the 1980s. Organized torture and murder, repression and fascist terror worthy of the Nazis--but with scum like Abrams overseeing it all. What must it be like to be a war criminal with a career built on real corpses?

My hope is that he meets justice in this life--but regardless, there's no doubt he will burn in hell along with many of the other neo-cons and the dictators they invariably supported.

It's no surprise he is welcome among the other jackals in the Bush gang.

Posted by: remember the dead on July 24, 2003 09:19 AM

"BTW, can you name one innocent person whose life McCarthy ruined?"

Ooh, let me guess, let me guess: if we go down this path you are going to trot out your own definitions of the words "innocent", "life" and "ruined", right? Sorry, boyo, even my time is not that cheap.

I do like to say that it would be easier to play this game, if McCarthy was able to identify one guilty persons through his efforts instead of throwing around blanket insinuations.

BTW, I am sure the people who were dragged before McCarthy's hearings have their own opinions about "innocence", "life" and "ruin" that they would be willing to share with you.

Posted by: achilles on July 24, 2003 09:19 AM

Like several other neo-cons, Elliott Abrams is a lying scumbag who should be in prison for his role in supporting, training and defending the reign of terror in Central American during the 1980s. Organized torture and murder, repression and fascist terror worthy of the Nazis--but with scum like Abrams overseeing it all. What must it be like to be a war criminal with a career built on real corpses?

My hope is that he meets justice in this life--but regardless, there's no doubt he will burn in hell along with many of the other neo-cons and the dictators they invariably supported.

It's no surprise he is welcome among the other jackals in the Bush gang.

Posted by: remember the dead on July 24, 2003 09:24 AM

[There should have been ellipses separating the paragraphs in the McCarthy quote above; i.e., the quote was not in fact continuous. It doesn't change anything though.]

Posted by: Jeffrey Kramer on July 24, 2003 09:45 AM

Like several other neo-cons, Elliott Abrams is a lying scumbag who should be in prison for his role in supporting, training and defending the reign of terror in Central American during the 1980s. Organized torture and murder, repression and fascist terror worthy of the Nazis--but with scum like Abrams overseeing it all. What must it be like to be a war criminal with a career built on real corpses?

My hope is that he meets justice in this life--but regardless, there's no doubt he will burn in hell along with many of the other neo-cons and the dictators they so ably supported.

It's no surprise he is welcome among the other jackals in the Bush gang. National Security Council my ass.

Posted by: remember the dead on July 24, 2003 10:02 AM

Since I know PS is a radical right miserable loon, it never occurs to me to read a things PS posts. Just sneer or spit and move along to the decent and sane.

Posted by: Moen on July 24, 2003 10:31 AM

May I suggest a change of, or upgrade to, the blogging software? Very strange error. Hit the post button once, got a "failed to connect" error from Explorer, and then hit post agan after minor revision. Somehow that results in three posts. Sorry if the error is mine.

And BTW people who defend Joe McCarthy need to get a clue about what the principles of due process and public trust are all about and figure out if they really stand for slander, demagoguery and abuse of office. If you think McCarthy was a hero, I feel sorry for you.

Posted by: remember the dead on July 24, 2003 10:33 AM

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/editorandpublisher/headlines/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1935586

JULY 17, 2003

Media Underplays U.S. Death Toll in Iraq
By Greg Mitchell

According to official military records, the number of U.S. soldiers who have died in Iraq since May 2 is actually 85. This includes a staggering number of non-combat deaths. Even if killed in a non-hostile action, these soldiers are no less dead, their families no less aggrieved....

Nevertheless, the media continues to report the much lower figure of 33 as if those are the only deaths that count....

Posted by: lise on July 24, 2003 11:32 AM

July 21, 2003

PBS News Hour

38 American soldiers and marines have been killed in action since major fighting was declared over May 1.

No! The number of American soldiers killed in Iraq since May 1 was sadly 94. While the number now is 99.

Posted by: lise on July 24, 2003 12:07 PM

Hey Patrick,

A secret source just emailed me a list of 57 names of innocent people whose lives were ruined by McCarthy. I could post the list here in public for all to see but I think I'd rather keep it to myself for now. I am however willing to swap for the McCarthy lists, so drop me an email if you wanna swap names.

Achilles

Posted by: achilles on July 24, 2003 12:12 PM

These radical righters are more and more bizarre. Joe McCarthy was an absolute scoundrel. An absolute thug. A shame for this country!

Posted by: emma on July 24, 2003 12:44 PM

May I suggest a change of, or upgrade to, the blogging software? Very strange error. Hit the post button once, got a "failed to connect" error from Explorer, and then hit post agan after minor revision. Somehow that results in three posts. Sorry if the error is mine.

And BTW people who defend Joe McCarthy need to get a clue about what the principles of due process and public trust are all about and figure out if they really stand for slander, demagoguery and abuse of office. If you think McCarthy was a hero, I feel sorry for you.

Posted by: remember the dead on July 24, 2003 01:10 PM

May I suggest a change of, or upgrade to, the blogging software? Very strange error. Hit the post button once, got a "failed to connect" error from Explorer, and then hit post agan after minor revision. Somehow that results in three posts. Sorry if the error is mine.

And BTW people who defend Joe McCarthy need to get a clue about what the principles of due process and public trust are all about and figure out if they really stand for slander, demagoguery and abuse of office. If you think McCarthy was a hero, I feel sorry for you.

Posted by: remember the dead on July 24, 2003 01:15 PM

I guess no one can answer with a specific example of McCarthy ruining an innocent person's life. All I'm getting here is validation of Ann Coulter's argument.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 24, 2003 01:28 PM

Well I can't remember their names but what about those democrats McCarthy named as Communists in his speech to the Senate.

Anyway I guess he didn't ruin Dean Acheson's life, no one cares about anything nowadays unless they get "ruined".

Anyway here's some liberal propaganda:
http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/05/09/findlaw.analysis.dean.mccarthy/

http://history.acusd.edu/gen/20th/1950s/mccarthy.html

its the feb 20 speech I'm thinking of, for some reason I thought he named specific democrats in that one but I can't find anything so maybe my memory is bad. Interesting how many names he goes around naming in this list hey? Also the assault, not that I myself have anything against violence but I know it's generally considered a bad thing in the leaders of a democracy.

Posted by: bryan on July 24, 2003 02:01 PM

Just what are you playing with Patrick? Are you making a technical argument such as what the meaning of is is? Did McCarthy, personally as an individual ruin an innocent person's life? Did the activities and investigations that McCarthy engaged in and sponsored result in ruining careers? These are two different questions, but is there nothing more than a technical difference between personally ruining someone's life and promoting a process that ruins the lives of many people? If you hire an assassin to kill someone, are you responsible for that person's murder? By your reasoning, Osama bin Laden was not guilty of crashing planes into the WTC because he was not flying one of those planes. Your reasoning is FAULTY. So is McCarthy innocent if he promoted a process that hurt a lot of innocent people, even if he did not personally fire them from their job or blacklist them from work?

Joe McCarthy was Anti-democratic. There are Anti-democratic forces at work today in the US that would like to silence any criticism of the government and Republican policies. This is antidemocratic. How can we improve our policies if we cannot discuss them openly? We end up with a process like the one that led to the quagmire that is post war Iraq and apocalypse that is post war Afghanistan.

A small secretive group grabs power and dismisses all criticism, all contrary ideas, all contrary intelligence and forges ahead with a half baked scheme based on faulty intelligence a lack of planning a lack of contingencies and sends a large military force into harms way in Iraq with no exit strategy, insufficient numbers of personnel, insufficient personnel to maintain infrastructure, insufficient planning to maintain infrastructure, insufficient forces to maintain security. And we are wondering why every day another 19 year old kid gets shot and killed or sent home in a wheel chair. Anti democratic elements hijacked the planning for post war Iraq and demonstrated that they lacked the competence necessary to address the contingencies that we experienced. Our soldiers are paying the price for their arrogance and hubris. Ours soldiers are stuck defending the mistakes of a group that would tolerate no criticism or accept no advice even friendly advice. They dismissed criticism from the CIA and State. They refused to share their post war planning with Congress. Our soldiers are dying because of their arrrogance. We should hold them accountable.

We don't need a new Joe McCarthy to cover up for their sorry ass mistakes by conducting a witch hunt of innocent people. Make no mistake, McCarthy did not go after the real causes of the Soviets getting the bomb, or the division of Europe or the rise of Mao. McCarthy engaged in the worst kind of scape goating, blaming innocent people for events that were not in their control. The threats to our democracy from demagogues like McCarthy is greater than from foreign terrorists. McCarthy was an enemy of democracy. People who are trying to rehabilitate McCarthy and his insidious methods are enemies of democracy. People that would try to force their own ideology on America at the expense of democracy are enemies of democracy. You cannot both love democracy and condone the tactics of Joe McCarthy.

Posted by: bakho on July 24, 2003 02:13 PM

" Just what are you playing with Patrick? Are you making a technical argument such as what the meaning of is is?"

What I'm doing is the opposite of what you are doing, bakho. I'm trying to get people to get control of their emotions, and consider the facts. You are hell bent on self-congratulatory demonizing of people you oppose as, "Anti-democratic", wanting to "silence any criticism".

This weblog is supposedly open to scholarly discussion, but you and the other usual suspects haven't a clue what that means. When someone makes a serious charge against another person, such as:

" McCarthy engaged in the worst kind of scape goating, blaming innocent people for events that were not in their control."

I expect the accuser to be able to back that up with specific instances of such innocent people, and specific events, and why these events "were not in their control". Until you can do that, I'll continue to consider you no better than a blowhard.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 24, 2003 04:08 PM

Hey Patrick,

I am sure I am not the only one who has noticed the irony that a defender of McCarthy is accusing others of being blowhards and of being accusers being able to back things up.

By the way, what happened to all those people who McCarthy claimed he had the names of? Did he ever give us their names? So was McCarthy a blowhard? an unjust accuser without proof? or just a closet communist traitor who held on to those hundreds of names until he went to his grave just so to enable his lord and master the USSR to continue to employ those State department spies for decades to come?

Perhaps Ann Coulter should do some exploring of that. Who knows McCarthy may have been a card carrying liberal in which case that would explain everything.

By the way, just how many spies did McCarthy uncover anyway? I know Coulter (and probably you) think it is a real pity he was unjustly forced out before he could expose JFK for the treasonous KGB mole that he was. Good thing, JFK double crossed the KGB and they sent Lee Harvey Oswald after him before he could do some real damage to the country.

Hope you'll email that list to me ;)

P.S.

By the way, I almost choked on the irony of someone posting cites from Ann Coulter and then claiming this is a blog for "scholarly discussions". You are a funny man ;)

Posted by: achilles on July 24, 2003 05:25 PM

" I know Coulter (and probably you) think it is a real pity he was unjustly forced out before he could expose JFK for the treasonous KGB mole that he was. Good thing, JFK double crossed the KGB and they sent Lee Harvey Oswald after him before he could do some real damage to the country."

Another high quality post, achilles. Had you bothered to actually read Coulter you would know that the Kennedy family admired Joe McCarthy. Bobby worked for him.

And you would know that he also did produce 110 specific cases for the Tydings Committee. McCarthy himself objected to making these names public since he didn't want those who might come out of the investigations with, "a clean bill of health", to suffer public embarrassment. However, the Democrats insisted in having them named, and since they were the majority they prevailed.

You're really well informed on this.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 24, 2003 06:25 PM

Wow, so McCarthy was the good guy who was unwilling to give names for fear of sullying their reputations. It was all the Democrats fault. Thanks, Patrick, I think revisionism is now officially complete.

By the way, you still have not told us how many of the people that McCarthy named were found guilty? How many spies did McCarthy uncover through his valiant efforts? I think that info will really clarify who the blowhard was. As the informed party here, you could really help us out.

Also, what did Coulter say (or more accurately had a hard time saying) about JFK in her ionterview with Chris Matthews? Do you think McCarthy would have approved of her thouhgts about the Kennedy's, Patrick? How are you ever going to pick between these two idols of yours??

Posted by: achilles on July 24, 2003 07:34 PM

Change the subject Sullivan? Don't want to admit that the actions of Senator McCarthy contributed to a process that ruined people's lives? So you change the subject? What facts do you want to talk about? That McCarthy blamed Marshall for losing China, Eastern Europe, etc? What do you think McCarthy did? It is clear that McCarthy use tactics that were anti-democratic. If you disagree, maybe you can explain why his tactics were not anti-democratic.

McCarthy abused the power of government to attack his political opponents. But that is not so far from what we went through in the 90s with the GOP and Ken Starr abusing the judicial system to attack a political opponent. Maybe you think it is OK to abuse the system to attack opponents and shut down debate?

Democratic society means free and open debate and allowing people to make reasoned arguments, not demonized for making them. People like McCarthy and Coulter who demonize political opponents for merely expressing differing views are anti-democratic and make having a reasoned public discourse impossible. Every society has its cranks like Coulter. What is pathetic is those that would promote her ilk to make a buck and further their own self serving agenda.

Posted by: bakho on July 24, 2003 07:53 PM

Since Patrick is interested only in truth, justice, and objectivity, he will have no difficulty confessing that he was wrong and Brad was right about McCarthy calling Marshall a traitor.

Patrick's story about McCarthy reluctantly producing names is also hogwash. McCarthy was handed, by a political ally, an outdated list of State Department employees who had been investigated for one reason or another, and proceded to recite a series of NUMBERS, along with (often distorted) summaries of the results of those investigations. It went something like 'Number 27 is known to have several close friends who are Communists' (when the investigation had simply concluded that #27 knew some people who were on the left).

In short, McCarthy started with the lie that the State Department was knowingly harboring pro-Communists, was called on the lie, and tried to bluff his way through it.

You don't even need to know the details of McCarthy's testimony to know that Patrick's apologetics for McCarthy are fraudulent: just consider the logic. McCarthy declares that he knows for a fact that there are evil people in office who are deliberately betraying our country, and this Democrat administration knows it too, but still refuses to throw them out. And why doesn't Joe produce the names of those he knows to be evil traitors? Why, because Joe is so fair-minded he doesn't want to rush to judgment on them, they might actually be fine fellows and he wouldn't want to damage their reputations.

Posted by: Jeffrey Kramer on July 24, 2003 08:04 PM

Correction: I was relying on memory when I posted at 8:04, and I conflated two different McCarthy performances. It was before the Senate as a whole that McCarthy played the numbers game. His appearance before Tydings came two weeks later, and there he did accuse several people by name of being Communist sympathizers. Several of those names had been provided to him only days beforehand by sympathetic right-wingers; i.e., McCarthy had no idea of their existence when he made his original charges in Wheeling. McCarthy's case against the new batch rested on evidence such as: one of them was the brother-in-law of the owner of The New Republic; another had sponsored a dinner for an organization later named as a Communist front; a third had once worked under Alger Hiss. (In fact, she hadn't. See David Oshinsky, A Conspiracy So Immense, pp. 108-124.)

Posted by: Jeffrey Kramer on July 25, 2003 07:17 AM

When McCarthy was asked point blank, "Did you accuse Marshall of being a traitor," his answer was: "No".

And one year after the famous 60,000 word speech, he wrote: "If he...made mistakes, that is no disgrace. Only those who do nothing make no mistakes. To prove that Marshall made mistakes does not indict Marshall of being either incompetent or of following the Communist cause."

" Patrick's story about McCarthy reluctantly producing names is also hogwash."

Not true, McCarthy wanted to discuss names only in executive session, but the Democrats on the Tydings Committee overruled him.

In the Senate speech which occasioned the Tydings Committee, he clearly said he was only going to refer to each case as a number, because: "It is possible that some of these persons will get a clean bill of health. I know that some of them will not."

In response to that, a handful of Democrats kept interrupting him to badger him into actually naming names. Majority Leader Scott Lucas himself, 60 times. That attitude carried over to the Tydings Committee.

All this is in McCarthy and His Enemies, the book under discussion in this thread. So there is no excuse for the ignorant assertions about McCarthy being made.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 25, 2003 07:32 AM

From the Self-Awareness Free Zone:

" Change the subject Sullivan? Don't want to admit that the actions of Senator McCarthy contributed to a process that ruined people's lives?"

Oh, so you finally get it. McCarthy didn't ruin people's lives, but you are sure someone did. Wouldn't this "be guilt by association"?

bakho, you're a "McCarthyite".

BTW, McCarthy is the quintessence of democracy. The present day senator whos he most resembles (stylistically) being Teddy Kennedy.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 25, 2003 07:41 AM

"Also, what did Coulter say (or more accurately had a hard time saying) about JFK in her ionterview with Chris Matthews? Do you think McCarthy would have approved of her thouhgts about the Kennedy's, Patrick? "

She said to the ridiculously poorly informed Matthews just what she said in her book. JFK defended McCarthy as a great man, and Bobby worked for McCarthy. So, yes, I guess McCarthy would have agreed with Ann Coulter about his friends John and Bobby Kennedy.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 25, 2003 07:45 AM

" In short, McCarthy started with the lie that the State Department was knowingly harboring pro-Communists...."

Alger Hiss, John Stewart Service, Owen Lattimore, John Carter Vincent, Edward Posniak, Haldore Hanson, all "pro-Communist", all in the State Dept.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 25, 2003 08:04 AM

Me Patti Sulli. Me wuv lunacy and meanness. Me typical mean looney rightee.

As another post notes, see Patti Sulli sneer and spit and move on.

Posted by: moen on July 25, 2003 08:37 AM

Wonderful, Patrick. McCarthy *says* he didn't accuse Marshall of being a traitor, therefore -- because it's self-evidently true that McCarthy would never deceive us about his own conduct --McCarthy *didn't* accuse Marshall of being a traitor.

Is this autowhitewashing privilege available to all politicians, or only to those you like? If it's available to all, then presumably there's still time for Clinton to say "I never denied having sex with Monica Lewinsky." Won't all the right-wingers feel foolish then, faced with such a devastating rebuttal to their pathetically ignorant, anti-historical canard!

Really, you have to be as blinkered to swallow Joe's actual lie denying what he said as you would be to swallow Bill's hypothetical one denying his. McCarthy says that Marshall is one of the leaders of "A conspiracy of infamy so black that, when it is finally exposed, its principals shall be forever deserving of the maledictions of all honest men." He says the aim of that conspiracy is to make us "fall victim to Soviet intrigue from within and Russian military might from without." He says there is no chance that Marshall's decisions, which are thus delivering us to the Soviets, could be the result of incompetence: they must be designed.

Anybody who can read, can read that this is an accusation of treason against Marshall, an accusation that Marshall is deliberately conspiring to deliver the United States to its enemies. The fact that McCarthy was too much of a weasel to stand by his original slander matters not at all.

And Patrick stands by his defense of McCarthy's good-faith conduct, which -- again -- implies that McCarthy first declared that he knew for a fact the names of dozens (perhaps hundreds; the story varied) of evil people in office who were deliberately betraying our country, but was reluctant to name them because maybe they were innocent.

Oshinsky's alternate explanation -- that McCarthy didn't produce names at first because he didn't know what the hell he was talking about, and only came up with them after a cram course provided by helpful right-wingers -- makes more sense than that. Anything halfway rational makes more sense than the foolishness Patrick is trying to peddle.


Posted by: Jeffrey Kramer on July 25, 2003 08:37 AM


"McCarthy is the quintessence of democracy."

Ha ha ha ha ha. Can I play too? How about

"George W. Bush is the quintessence of eloquence"
or
"Bill Clinton is the quintessence of chastity"
or
"Ann Coulter is the quintessential intellectual"

Well I think this moves you into the same category with DT and Mike as being quintissential jokers who it is a waste of time to take seriously.

Posted by: achilles on July 25, 2003 08:38 AM

Does Sullivan believe that no one was hurt as a result of the witch hunts that took place in the McCarthy era? Is there no connection between McCarthy and the investigations? Did people who refused to testify not get blacklisted, lose jobs or have careers ruined? Is it guilt by association or guilt by collaboration? Do we think OBL is guilty of 911 terrorism because of association or collaboration? If the point is that McCarthy is often demonized for the actions of a number of people that share the responsibility, then I can accept that argument. However, to hold McCarthy blameless or consider him to be disconnected from the events that ruined people's lives is overlooking the big picture. There will always be demagogues and their supporters. We need to be mindful of them and not let them detract from reasoned discussions of policies that affect the future of our country.

Posted by: bakho on July 25, 2003 09:10 AM

"I guess no one can answer with a specific example of McCarthy ruining an innocent person's life."

Here's one for you: John Paton Davies, Jr., a talented colleague of George Kennan's. He went through loyalty hearings nine times between 1948 and 1954; he was cleared each time. He was then fired by John Foster Dulles. He ended up making furniture in Peru. Here's his Washington Post obituary.
http://mlloyd.org/gen/davies/text/jpdjr.htm

For other examples, see David Oshinsky's biography of McCarthy, "A Conspiracy So Immense."

Patrick, you never responded to my last couple of comments on the Dark Star thread, particularly the one I posted at 11:35 am on July 15.
http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/2003_archives/001715.html

I'm somewhat disappointed, since I took the time to read Coulter and Oshinsky.

"At a time when the Truman Admin was reading and re-reading Kennan's "Long Telegram" that pointed out clearly the sources of Stalin's behavior (i.e. he retreats in the face of resolve, but exploits perceived weakness), Marshall was advocating withdrawing financial support from the Nationalists."

Kennan agreed with Marshall. See PPS/23.
http://www.geocities.com/rwvong/future/kennan/pps23.html

In Kennan's view, the vital areas of the world for US national security were the five major military-industrial centers: the US, Britain, Germany and central Europe, the Soviet Union, and Japan. In Asia, Japan was much more crucial than China.

Posted by: Russil Wvong on July 25, 2003 10:03 AM

Does bakho think no one was hurt by the actions of the traitors we know for certain? How about the hundreds of millions of Chinese who were doomed to live under Mao and his Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution? The East Germans, Poles, Hungarians, Czechs, Rumanians, Bulgarians...? The American GIs who died in Korea and Vietnam?

The difference between me and all the rest of you is that I can actually name victims. Specific victims. All the you can do is whine and rant.

And none of you comprehends what democracy is either. McCarthy got elected and re-elected. He had high approval ratings. That's what democracy is. It gives us Kennedies, Byrds, Helmses, Longs, Clintons, Faubuses, Daleys, and Sharptons right along with the Lincolns and Washingtons.

It works through deception and misdirection, through legalized bribery, greed and extortion. And occasionally statesmanship. It's deeply flawed as a decision making tool. It is not what you hopeless romatics think it is.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 25, 2003 03:01 PM

Is it hopelessly roma[n]tic to wonder when and where Al Sharpton was elected to office?

Posted by: achilles on July 25, 2003 04:35 PM

So sorry to have missed your post on the Alan Furst thread, Russil. I've been rather busy on other threads, so prolific is Prof. DeLong in providing us with food for thought. I'll see if I can get to it this weekend.

However, I have to chuckle at your criticism of Ann Coulter for minor errors that weren't caught by her publisher's fact checker when you appear to have misunderstood the obituary you provided for us on John Paton Davies:

" Here's one for you: John Paton Davies, Jr., a talented colleague of George Kennan's. He went through loyalty hearings nine times between 1948 and 1954; he was cleared each time. He was then fired by John Foster Dulles. He ended up making furniture in Peru. Here's his Washington Post obituary."
http://mlloyd.org/gen/davies/text/jpdjr.htm

Since he did not, "end...up making furniture in Peru" (he, for a time, was an award winning designer of furniture, which would seem to be a funny way of having one's life ruined) as the article clearly establishes:

" After his dismissal from State, Mr. Davies stayed in Peru for a decade, moving out of diplomatic quarters to more ascetic surroundings. With no formal training, he took up furniture design with his wife and ran a design business called Estilo. In 1962, a coffee table and a wood-and-leather chair, both with Asian and Peruvian design influences, each won the American Institute of Interior Designers' International Design Award.

" By the time he moved back to Washington in 1964, Mr. Davies had completed his first book, about how the United States became involved in Vietnam, "Foreign and Other Affairs" (1964, W.W. Norton & Co.). He spent the next eight years on his second and final volume, "Dragon by the Tail: American, British, Japanese, and Russian Encounters With China and One Another" (1972, Norton).

" He settled in Spain in the 1970s, writing newspaper articles and lecturing. Columnists such as Marquis Childs quoted him for his prescient views on Far East policy."

And Oshinsky barely mentions Davies in his book, so I guess he disagrees with you. Anyway, Davies was one of the China hands who were responsible for the policies that eventually led to the loss of China to Communism. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of his abilities.

He was eventually fired by John Foster Dulles for testifying untruthfully about his personnel recommendations for the CIA. Regarding prior Communist affiliations of the people in question.

As to his being cleared several times, before the McCarran Committee caught up to him, this was McCarthy's major point. These procedures were amazingly inept. John Service was also cleared several times, AFTER he had been arrested for passing top secret documents to a known Communist in the Amerasia case.

Service got bailed out by none other than Tommy the Cork Corcoran, and his prosecution was dropped, much to the consternation of the FBI. Perjury was rife in this affair. Yet Service was restored to his job. Read all about it in Klehr and Radosh's "the amerasia spy case"

As for the paper from George Kennan, it's a 1948 paper. Marshall and friends were withdrawing support from Chiang in 1945-46, at the time, as I said, when The Long Telegram was being passed around the Truman Admin. By '48 things had changed drastically.

Anyway Kennan and Marshall's arguments were different. Kennan is saying, China is lost to Soviet influence, it's too late. Marshall was saying that weakness of support to Chiang would be taken by Stalin as a sign that he needn't worry about the U.S. in Asia, so he'd leave China to its own devices. Poor prediction, wouldn't you say?

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 25, 2003 05:40 PM

" Is it hopelessly roma[n]tic to wonder when and where Al Sharpton was elected to office?"

Where did I say he was elected? And are you trying to ignore him at all these presidential candidate debates?

Since Russil has brought up the Oshinsky book, let's have some more about JFK and Joe McCarthy:

" On one level Kennedy seemed to accept McCarthy for what he was, a family friend and a popular man in Massachusetts....a friend described the following incident...at Harvard...One of the guests...'said he was glad that Harvard had never produced an Alger Hiss, although the law school had, and doubly glad that neither had the college...produced a Joe McCarthy.' Kennedy exploded. He yelled, 'How dare you couple the name of a great American patriot with that of a traitor' "

You can read that in Coulter's book too.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 25, 2003 05:52 PM

Have you not noticed that virtually no one, not even in the far right, takes Ann Coulter seriously?

Circus freak is the best characterization I have of her, and the opinion from the other side of the political aisle certainly does not seem to differ too much from mine - see Andrew Sullivan, Eugene Volokh, David Horowitz (of course, I don't discount the possibility that Donald Luskin admires her ;) )

Yet you seem to not only take her political opinion writings seriously, you seem to think that she is an accomplished historian who is uncovering nuggets of truth that everyone else missed. Perhaps the most extreme example is where someone claimed that in order for her claims to be true Ann Coulter would have to know more about Truman than his own biographer did!

When challenged on such patently ridiculous claims you come up with the incredibly lame act of laying the blame on her publisher's fact checkers or on the "uninformed" interviewers calling her out.

I hereby withdraw any comparison of you to DT and Mike. You have found your own lunatic fringe, in which you revise history. You like Coulter are nothing more than a caricature who exists to provide amusement to others.

If you were blonde with long legs you may have been ubiquitous beyond the blog world as well ;)

Posted by: achilles on July 25, 2003 07:19 PM

I want to commend achilles for yet another post without a scintilla of substance. I think it beyond question he is incapable of making a coherent argument where Ann Coulter is concerned. He certainly is incapable of admitting he was wrong about JFK.

Anyway, Russil I have put up some comments on the Alan Furst thread, and hope to conclude tomorrow.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 25, 2003 09:07 PM

Uh, once again with the reaading comprehension problems. I asked you what Coulter thought about JFK and how he fit into her, ummm.., thesis, that all Democrats were treasonous. Your response to this was to quote that McCarthy was a close family friend of JFKs. Does this mean that McCarthy thought highly of JFK? If so, what does COulter think of McCarthy, given her own low opinion of JFK? No answer. Yep, that sounds like the Patrick I know.

As for being substance free, well I again marvel at the irony of anyone who 'loves' Ann Coulter throwing around that term. Why don't you put some weight behind your arguments and write up a few hundred words of your own outlining why exactly Joe MCCarthy was a great man - don't hide behind Coulter, let your own true feelings come gushing out, man.

At the very least it will provide entertainment for me, and who knows there may be one other person posting on this blog who actually thinks McCarthy was a great man, although they have not revealed themselves yet.

Posted by: achilles on July 25, 2003 09:55 PM

"So sorry to have missed your post on the Alan Furst thread, Russil. I've been rather busy on other threads, so prolific is Prof. DeLong in providing us with food for thought. I'll see if I can get to it this weekend."

No problem. I'm going away this weekend, so it'll be a few days before I can post a response.)

Posted by: Russil Wvong on July 26, 2003 08:32 AM

What is it with you, achilles? Masochism, or terminal laziness? Had you bothered to get a copy of Treason you could find on p. 11:

"There were, admittedly, a few rare and striking exceptions to the left's overall obtuseness to Communist totalalitarianism. The Democratic Party was certainly more patriotic then than it has become. Throughout the sixties, the Democrats could still produce the occasional Scoop Jackson Democrat. John F. Kennedy's pronouncements on Communism could have been spoken by Joe McCarthy....For all his flaws, President Harry Truman was a completely diferent breed from today's Democrats: He unquestionably loved his country."

It would be fun to ask Kathleen Kennedy Townsend what she thinks of her godfather, Joe McCarthy, too.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 26, 2003 10:39 AM

If there were only enough hours in a day to track the shifting 'logic' of Patrick Sullivan.

So I guess that passage you quoted is supposed to convey the idea that Ann Coulter definitely believed that JFK was a 'good' Democrat, i.e. in Coulter's words one who was not selling the country out to the Soviets.

But then consider the following exchange:

"Chris Matthews: Was Jack Kennedy a traitor?
Ann Coulter: No, he was not a traitor.
Chris Matthews: Was he guilty of treason?
Ann Coulter: His heart was in the right place but he was surrounded by bad policymakers and he harm[ed] the country and its national security."

Oops afetr a nice bit of tap dancing around teh question there by Ms. Coulter, the answer is suddenly not so clear. I guess JFK was one of those Democrats that was not treasonous at heart, but implicitly treasonous through his actions. Wow, there's a ringing endorsement.

By the way we are still waiting to hear YOUR articulation of why McCarthy was such a great man.

'Tailgunner Joe: the quintessential American Hero' by Pat Sullivan. I can't hardly wait ;)

Posted by: achilles on July 26, 2003 12:18 PM

You were complaining about whose reading comprehension?

Coulter plainly tells the ignorant Matthews, Kennedy was not a traitor. Then criticizes him, AS SHE DID IN HER BOOK, for inept performance in office. There is nothing inconsistent in Coulter's remarks. And you are a pathetic idiot for claiming there is.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 26, 2003 04:07 PM

Yawn.

JFK harmed national security, Truman was a Stalin enabler, McCarthy was an all-American hero, Nixon was not an egomaniac but a focused leader, George Marshall was a Mao enabler. African-Americans should thank slave traders for making their lives happier, killing doctors who perform abortions should not count as murder...

Given that track record of perception, I'd say being called an idiot is a compliment ;)

Au revoir. I am sorry we won't have such a 'scholarly' discussion about McCarthy again.

Posted by: achilles on July 26, 2003 05:09 PM

Patrick, it seems to me that the list of names you supplied is good evidence. For example, McCarthy called Owen Lattimore the chief Soviet agent in the USA, but somehow he forgot to appear in the intercepted Venona decrypts even once. When he was indicted for perjury, the bill of particulars was so vague and meaningless the judge threw it out before trial.

J. Robert Oppenheimer would be another good example. (I know the assistant government prosecutor in that case. He's recanted.)

Basically, Patrick, in many of these cases McCarthy succeeded in having the officials fired. You can't then point to this as justification for McCarthy: not ONE of his claims has been justified by later scholarship (including Venona), and NOT ONE led to a criminal conviction in a court of law where the accused could defend himself. [Hiss doesn't count: he precedes McCarthy.] Don't believe me? GIVE US YOUR NAMES.

Yeah, I know you can find columnists dredging up all sorts of perjured evidence against these people. You know what? There are still lots of right-wing French people passing around the (forged) evidence that Dreyfus was guilty.

Oh, and your ultra-right wing sources are wrong on one other count. McCarthy didn't like to mention names outside the Capitol, probably because he wouldn't then have senatorial immunity from slander laws.

Posted by: Andrew Lazarus on July 27, 2003 09:36 AM

And off into the sunset goes achilles, declaring victory--and, apparently, that my mother wears army boots. Entirely in character, unable to make even one substantive point. But, ala Rosalyn Carter, very comfortable with his prejudices.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on July 27, 2003 01:02 PM
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