Lileks on McCarthy

We haven’t commented on the recent release of transcripts of hearings chaired by Senator Joseph McCarthy; fellow blogger (sort of) James Lileks fills the void in a column for the Fort Worth Star Telegram: “What McCarthy Messed Up.”
Lileks points out the tendentious purposes to which the McCarthy transcripts have been put by enemies of the Administration’s fight against terrorism; Reuters, as usual, is especially contemptible: “”McCarthy flourished during Cold War anxieties, with some parallels to today’s fear of terrorism.”
Lileks denounces McCarthy, in the end, as an albatross around the neck of anti-Communism, and it’s hard to argue with that conclusion. Still, given what we now know about the magnitude of the Communist menace in the 1950’s and the extent to which Soviet spies infiltrated the American government from the 1930’s on, McCarthy would seem ripe for re-assessment. Those who want to know more can read William Buckley’s The Red-Hunter, a fictional (barely) but quite sympathetic treatment of the Senator. And those who have any doubt about the fact that the anti-anti-Communists put this country into great and growing peril, from the days immediately after World War II until the mid 1980’s, can find a quick primer in Peter Schweitzer’s Reagan’s War.


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