The Corner

McCarthy Then and Now

I’ve got some great email in response to yesterday’s What’s Your Problem? on McCarthyism. I found this one particularly interesting:

Jonah:

 

Not mentioned in your spirited debate today was the Army McCarthy hearings that led to the senator’s downfall and ultimate censure.  The Army charged that McCarthy had exerted pressure to obtain special treatment for a former McCarthy aide, G. David Schine who was then serving in the Army.  McCarthy said the charges were in retaliation for his committee’s investigation of security risks within the Army.

 

As a college student at the time, I watched these hearings with fascination, and cheered when counsel for the Army Joseph Welch skewered McCarthy with his “At long last, have you no decency, sir?” response to McCarthy’s accusation of a young member of Welch’s law firm. 

 

Shortly thereafter, I entered the Army and became an agent in the Army’s Counter Intelligence Corps.  To my surprise, I found that the Army — just as McCarthy had charged — had been seriously penetrated not only by more or less passive Communists but by active Soviet agents.  During my short three-year career in the CIC, I participated in investigations of Army officers and enlisted men who were actually working for the Soviet Union and performing espionage, sabotage, undermining troop morale and even kidnapping and murder.

 

McCarthy did paint with far too broad a brush and he was obnoxious to boot. But he was, in large part, absolutely correct in his concern about Communist penetration at high levels of government and in the military.  The greatest damage done by his excesses, however, was not to the few who might have been unfairly accused of being Communists, but to the whole idea of “anti-Communism” itself.  “Witch hunt” and “McCarthyism” became the favorite pejoratives of the left in discrediting anyone who pursued the Red Menace.  In this way, McCarthy played into the  hands of those he was trying to destroy.

Most Popular

Education

Ivy-League Schools Wither

A  number of liberal bastions are daily being hammered — especially the elite university and Silicon Valley. A Yale and a Stanford, or Facebook and Google, assume — for the most part rightly — that each is so loudly progressive that the public, federal and state regulators, and politicians would of ... Read More
Elections

Weirdo O’Rourke

Friends of the young Bill Clinton and Barack Obama spoke of the special glow of promise they had about them, even back in their early twenties. Angels sat on their shoulders. History gave them a wink and said, “Hey, good lookin’, I’ll be back to pick you up later.” Robert O’Rourke? Not so much. He ... Read More
Elections

One More Profile of Beto, Because America Needs It

Somewhere in Texas, filed on the fly by a glossy-magazine correspondent, and totally not as a parody written by Jim Geraghty -- “It’s all about vision,” Beto O’Rourke tells me, standing tall upon the Texas prairie, or brush, or whatever this high hilltop area is supposed to be called. We’re watching the ... Read More