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Friday, September 22, 2006

McCain Sells Out on Torture

John McCain has no principles.

That's the only conclusion that anyone can come to reading the news that the White House and a three GOP Senators have reached an agreement on the treatment of detainees. The President is delighted:

I had a single test for the pending legislation, and that's this: Would the CIA operators tell me whether they could go forward with the program, that is a program to question detainees to be able to get information to protect the American people. I'm pleased to say that this agreement preserves the most single -- most potent tool we have in protecting America and foiling terrorist attacks, and that is the CIA program to question the world's most dangerous terrorists and to get their secrets.


Just laying on the BS, isn't he? You'd almost believe that it used to be illegal to question detainees. What he really means is that the CIA will be allowed to torture suspects.

Glenn Greenwald writes at Salon:

Despite all the legalistic obscurities surrounding the torture "compromise" between President Bush and Republican senators there is one critical fact of overarching significance that is now crystal clear. This entire controversy arose because the U.S. has been using "interrogation techniques" -- such as induced hypothermia, "long standing," threats directed at detainees' families and waterboarding -- that are widely considered to be torture, and therefore in violation of the Geneva Conventions. The only thing the president wanted was to ensure that the CIA could continue to use these techniques, and that, unquestionably, is precisely the outcome of this "compromise."

If anything, these torture techniques will enjoy greater legal protection under the "compromise" legislation reached by the leaders of America's ruling party because a) authorization of these interrogation techniques will now be grounded in a statutory scheme duly enacted by Congress (rather than in the shadowy, secretive "interpretations" of the Geneva Conventions promulgated by the executive branch) and b) judicial review of any type (i.e., the ability to have courts adjudicate the compatibility of these practices with the mandates of the Conventions) will be barred entirely.


I'm not so sure of the constitutionality of point b -- barring oversight from the judicial branch -- but when has the Bush administration and the republicans ever worried about that? I've said it before; the Constitution was written with a pre-9/11 mindset. So screw it.

And why do I say McCain has no principles? First, he flat out lied about what the deal means. "We got what we wanted, and that is the preservation of the Geneva Conventions," McCain told NBC's Today Show, "There will be no more torture. There will be no more mistreatment of prisoners that would violate standards of conduct we would expect of people who work for the United States of America."

Second, McCain was held at the infamous Hanoi Hilton during the Vietnam war and was tortured himself. Having experienced torture firsthand, he still thinks that this is something americans should do. Lying and saying they won't torture doesn't change a damned thing.

And make no mistake, americans will be doing this. Worse, since the US is a democracy (although that distinction is becoming mostly nominal), we are all responsible for what our government does and, when the government commits crimes, we are all guilty.

Wednesday, I wrote that those who support torture are cowards. It was one of the most popular posts I've ever written and I didn't get a lot of people disagreeing with me. The vast majority of emails and comments have been positive.

It turns out that the citizenry is way out in front of their 'leadership' on this issue. In another Salon article, Glenn Greenwald wrote yesterday:

If you ask Americans whether the use of torture is ever justifiable, a clear majority will say that it is not. In the newly released New York Times/CBS poll (PDF), for instance, 56 percent said torture is never justifiable, even "to get information from a suspected terrorist" (question No. 54). Even more striking, 63 percent say that "when it comes to the treatment of prisoners of war," the U.S. "should follow the international agreements that it and other countries have agreed to," rather than "do what it thinks is right, even if other countries disagree" (question No. 67).


56% is way too low for me, but I'll take a majority. Clearly, We the People don't want this. That same People the Constitution -- the document from which all our law comes -- speaks for.

I'll say it again, you cannot give up freedom to protect it. You can't trust people like Sen. John McCain, who looked into an NBC camera this morning and lied directly to America, to give those rights back when it's 'safe' for you to have them again. Despite what we're told, we are not facing the greatest threat to the US we've ever faced.

That would've been the Soviet Union. The USSR had enough nukes to destroy us and the rest of the world. What rights did we give up in support of the cold war? What freedoms was it necessary for us to forfeit in order to keep russian agents from stealing them?

Not that it wasn't tried. And then, as now, the greatest threat to our freedom wasn't from outside forces, but from within. And then, as now, that threat came from the fearmongering right. Sen. Joe McCarthy, a grasping, soulless opportunist and Wisconsin's shame, threatened to dismantle the first amendment and drag the country down in a witch hunt.

It wasn't the government that finally brought McCarthy down -- it was the people and the press. You can only frighten people for so long.

This isn't a done deal, people. Most people oppose this. Write letters to the editor, write and call your Senators and Representatives. And not just those you think may be for this or on the fence. Anti-torture elected officials need to be able to prove that the people are behind them. They need to be able to say, "Look, I've got a stack of letters the size of my garage back at the office and my phone won't stop ringing."

And, even if it goes through, it's not done. There's no law government can write that can't be undone.

It's your country, not theirs. Don't let them make you a criminal.

--Wisco


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16 comments:

bonnie said...

GREAT post! I would have loved to have been a fly in that room - I wonder what the trade off was for McCain to sell out. He was all over the TV earlier this week touting the importance of the Geneva Conventions.

Anonymous said...

Probably the promise of endorsement as republican candidate of choice for 2008

I am disappointed in JM I felt he was the last vestige of true conservatives, but he seems to be as corruptable as the rest.

Em said...

I wrote a related post in my own Blog.

And maybe they can get away with this now, but let's never forget the people who either performed these acts or allowed them to occur. And then maybe one day we can round them all up and stuff 'em into prison where they can't interact with the general population.

This is horrific and unacceptable, and the fact that "we're right and have to protect our freedoms" makes no difference at all.

Anonymous said...

Strange - I thought the Geneva convention only applied to soldiers of opposing nations IN UNIFORM? That is, those who openly declare their opposition to you, and then you capture them, or they surrender, etc..

AFAIK, it says nothing about terrorists who try to kill you behind your back..

Anonymous said...

Can't wait until we can torture everyone legally, including idiotic bloggers.

Wisco said...

"Strange - I thought the Geneva convention only applied to soldiers of opposing nations IN UNIFORM?"

That's why it was so heroic of the Gestapo to torture french resistance fighters, right?

The White House and Pentagon say detainees are covered by Geneva

SCOTUS: Detainee Hamdan protected by Geneva

UN Human Rights Council says draft detainee legislation in violation of Geneva

On the other hand, there's some anonymous commenter who's probably repeating something he heard from Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly.

I wonder who has the better case?

BenMerc said...

Someone predicted this...gee, are we all surprised yet! (I think it was everyone with a blog east or west of the big muddy...)

Anonymous said...

"Strange - I thought the Geneva convention only applied to soldiers of opposing nations IN UNIFORM? That is, those who openly declare their opposition to you, and then you capture them, or they surrender, etc.."

Thats right - they're going after the general public next. You're either with us or against us ;(

Anonymous said...

"I am disappointed in JM I felt he was the last vestige of true conservatives, but he seems to be as corruptable as the rest."

He only lasted 60 seconds underwater. Either that or they threatened his family...

BenMerc said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
BenMerc said...

annon sez: "Strange - I thought the Geneva convention only applied to soldiers of opposing nations IN UNIFORM?"


Personally I have never mentioned the Geneva rules when I have discussed this issue (and I have not said much about it on this blog to start with) Next, I am not that concerned with international rules, as they have been followed by all for the past 50 years+, encompassing conflict across the globe, and seemingly working out for the most part O.K. As far as I can tell, it is right-wing projectionists that keep dragging faux conflict into the picture about nuance and the Geneva rules, all this from those that despise nuance. People are people...torture is torture, cut the crap, it is about what we do, not them.

I did not know this is the first insurgency or terrorist effort we have come in conflict with. I guess the news paper articles about Palestinian terror groups that hijacked planes and threatened the west back when I was in HIGH school, and NIXON was still president was a figment of my imagination.

Bush is a story teller, excuse maker and a deal maker, you can bet your ass I would not follow that chump anywhere. This nation was built by people that risked their lives to be here, get here and then help make and apply the liberties that they found or thought were possible to achieve. Of course you had to fight for them at times, and the justice that was possible, you had to work hard for it to surface at times ( and sometimes you were let down). Nevertheless, all this work, and sacrifice was to advance themselves, families and communities, to create a better life for ALL.

America has always been one of the nations at the forefront of progressive civil society, we have not been perfect, we have our dark spots, but for the most part we have harbored many reformist movements that have helped shape our society and beyond, many times we were the lighthouse for the world. In eight short years we have seen erosion of civil liberty and values that has not been matched by any other time in our history. All of this brought on by a theocratic corporatist style movement of unprecedented effort, directed by a handful of extremists.

Bush and his associates try to act like we are in the fight of our life, yes we are, but not by the threats they seem to propagandize. If you want to believe this subversion, be my guest, it is your right ...but if these oligarchs keep getting their way, you will not have a legal foot left to stand on, as a foreign national or as a citizen, and will be at the mercy of the state as never before.

Until we approach the problems of terrorist movements in a studied, objective, uncomplicated and truthful manner, we will get nowhere. As long as greedy corrupt, convoluted arms dealing and nation building on hypocritical foundations continue in our foreign policy efforts, this problem will never go away. It is all of the domestic and global leaders involved, this debased leadership that seem to strive for perpetual war. We need to ferret them out and remove them from power, in a global effort. Let's end this diatribe with words from one of the true Founding Fathers:


"Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies. From these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, debts and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.".... James Madison

So anonymous, Go right ahead, you follow Bush... As I will follow Madison.

R.P. McCosker said...

Wisco was on to something, but he lost me with his gratuitous snipes at Joseph McCarthy. McCarthy's reputation has long gotten a raw deal from the political and intellectual establishments, and Wisco appears to be seizing on that as if to further the case against McCain. I guess it was either that or call McCain a Nazi!

Whatever his sins -- the worst, really, being a naive fool -- McCarthy hardly dismantled the First Amendment or "witch-hunted." He made charges of, and, as a Senate committee chairman, led investigations into Communist infiltration of the State Department and the military. Sometimes he was dead on and at other times wreckless, but he made the fatal mistake of stepping on too many toes, especially Republican ones.

The matter of Soviet infiltration into the federal government had nothing to do with "free speech." (Was Wisco thinking of the Hollywood Ten or something? McCarthy hadn't a whit to to with that.)

Of course, as McCarthy's contemporary, the writer Frank Chodorov noted, Communist infiltration of the federal government wouldn't've been much of a problem if the federal government had only kept to the size that the Constitution and common sense dictated.

There were those who sought to outlaw the Communist Party, as did successfully Senator Hubert Humphrey (D-MN) -- after McCarthy had died.

Moreover, it's sheer demagoguery to speak of "witch hunts" when Communist infiltration was a very real thing. (It plays on the modern understanding that witches with supernatural powers aren't real, hence those persecuted as witches in earlier times couldn't possibly have been guilty.) Doubtless some federal employees were falsely accused of Communist connections -- just as modern prosecutors sometimes inaccurately charge innocent people with various crimes. There's no evidence that McCarthy, for one, ever consciously falsely accused any federal employee with being an agent of the Communist Party or the Soviets. (BTW, McCarthy had no prosecutorial authority.)

Somehow, in lashing out against the venal McCain, we're supposed to think this has some echo of the "grasping, soulless opportunist" McCarthy. (Uh, just how many members of Congress aren't opportunists anyway?) There's a stretch for the record books.

I'm not from Wisconsin, but that state has nothing special to answer for in having elected McCarthy to the U.S. Senate, Wisco's affected shame notwithstanding.

Wisco said...

R.P. McCosker,

Man, talk about revisionist history. You write:

The matter of Soviet infiltration into the federal government had nothing to do with "free speech." (Was Wisco thinking of the Hollywood Ten or something? McCarthy hadn't a whit to to with that.)

I have one question for you, "Are you now or haave you ever been a communist."

Show me where in the Constitution -- First Amendment or elsewhere -- where it's written that government is allowed to illegalize political parties?

McCarthy's accusations exploded on capitol hill, triggering the formation of a new investigative committee, headed by Senator Millard Tydings. The hearings first began on March 8, 1950 and McCarthy was not able to name any actual employee of the state department. On July 17, 1950, the committee reported that McCarthy's charges were unfounded, but McCarthy continued to accuse more people of being communist or knowing communist supporters.
-- Free Information Society

When Joseph McCarthy knocked Sen. Robert M. La Follette Jr. from office in a 1946 primary election that ended La Follette's political career, it marked the first collision of two giants of 20th century Wisconsin and U.S. political history.

Six and a half years later, La Follette committed suicide, convinced he was about to become ensnared in McCarthy's infamous Communist-hunting committee, according to Patrick Maney, a historian and La Follette biographer.

[...]

"In the weeks leading up to his suicide, (La Follette) became obsessed with this fear that McCarthy was going to call him before his committee," said Maney, a University of South Carolina professor. McCarthy's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation went after hundreds of "subversives" - government employees and others with supposed links to the Communist Party.

-- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

If your big gripe is that I didn't rush to the defense of monsters, I'll take that.

But your view of Joe McCarthy isn't at all founded in reality.

R.P. McCosker said...

Wisco wrote:

"I have one question for you, 'Are you now or haave you ever been a communist.'

"Show me where in the Constitution -- First Amendment or elsewhere -- where it's written that government is allowed to illegalize political parties?"

You've got me scratching my head. McCarthy -- unlike, say, Democrat U.S. Senators Hubert Humphrey and Thomas Dodd -- never led any movement to illegalize the Communist Party. (If he would've ended up voting for such a thing -- if only he'd lived long enough -- I have to wonder why you're singling McCarthy out from the other 90% of Congress.)

Since at the time U.S. defense and foreign policy was being directed oppositionally to the Soviet Union, that seems like a fair question to ask of State and of Defense Department employees. Would you object to a Senate hearing asking an actual or prospective employee of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice whether he'd ever been a member of the KKK? (Especially in the aftermath of another such employee having been successfully and very visibly prosecuted for perjury for having denied something similar.)

Two points:

1) Questioning and challenging federal employees about political associations that directly bear on their job responsibilities doesn't constitute illegalizing political parties.

2) To the extent that questioning private citizens about their CP involvement came out of Congress, it had nothing to do with McCarthy. Are you thinking of the House Un-American Activities Committee? (BTW, McCarthy was never even a member of the House.)

I happen to think that the U.S. leaping into the Churchill-declared "Cold War" was a terrible mistake. (Not-so-innocently spearheaded by the power-mongering Truman and his cronies.) It's fascinating how the political establishment has a long scapegoated the rather hapless McCarthy as a means of diverting attention from its own long history of inept empire-building.

Wisco goes on to cite a Senate Committee whose majority report disputes certain of McCarthy's charges.

Ho hum. As I noted previously, McCarthy's charges were of mixed quality. And, I might add, controversial. (Despite the myth that McCarthy somehow held the country in his palm.) What a crime, that McCarthy saying controversial things.

McCarthy defeated veteran U.S. Senator Robert La Follette (R-WI) in the '46 election, when "communism" wasn't even an issue.

Now we're expected to believe that the aged La Follette may have committed suicide because he "fear[ed]" he might be "called" to testify before a Senate committee -- the same Senate he'd been a member of for decades.

There's grasping at straws. What a ridiculous sob story. And this is what is supposed to make McCarthy a "monster," and me "rush[ing] to the defense of monsters."

If you want monsters, how about real-life mass murderers like Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, McNamara, Nixon, Kissinger, Clinton, the Bushes, and Rumsfeld?

Why pick on a little-account legislator whose worst sin was to embarrass the Beltway Establishment's anti-Communist crusade, when its real agenda was cronyism and empire?

It's called spinning fairytales, dear readers.

Wisco said...

The 83rd Congress, on the angelic and totally innocent little bird with a broken wing who was Joe McCarthy:

CENSURE OF SENATOR JOSEPH MCCARTHY

Resolved, That the Senator from Wisconsin, Mr. McCarthy, failed to cooperate with the Subcommittee on Privileges and Elections of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration in clearing up matters referred to that subcommittee which concerned his conduct as a Senator and affected the honor of the Senate and, instead, repeatedly abused the subcommittee and its members who were trying to carry out assigned duties, thereby obstructing the constitutional processes of the Senate, and that this conduct of the Senator from Wisconsin, Mr. McCarthy, is contrary to senatorial traditions and is hereby condemned.

Sec 2. The Senator from Wisconsin, Mr. McCarthy, in writing to the chairman of the Select Committee to Study Censure Charges (Mr. Watkins) after the Select Committee had issued its report and before the report was presented to the Senate charging three members of the Select Committee with "deliberate deception" and "fraud" for failure to disqualify themselves; in stating to the press on November 4, 1954, that the special Senate session that was to begin November 8, 1954, was a "lynch-party"; in repeatedly describing this special Senate session as a "lynch bee" in a nationwide television and radio show on November 7, 1954; in stating to the public press on November 13, 1954, that the chairman of the Select Committee (Mr. Watkins) was guilty of "the most unusual, most cowardly things I've ever heard of" and stating further: "I expected he would be afraid to answer the questions, but didn't think he'd be stupid enough to make a public statement"; and in characterizing the said committee as the "unwitting handmaiden," "involuntary agent" and "attorneys-in-fact" of the Communist Party and in charging that the said committee in writing its report "imitated Communist methods -- that it distorted, misrepresented, and omitted in its effort to manufacture a plausible rationalization" in support of its recommendations to the Senate, which characterizations and charges were contained in a statement released to the press and inserted in the Congressional Record of November 10, 1954, acted contrary to senatorial ethics and tended to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute, to obstruct the constitutional processes of the Senate, and to impair its dignity; and such conduct is hereby condemned.


Source: 83rd Congress, 2nd Session, Senate Resolution 301 (2 December 1954).

How heartless of me to besmirch such a wonderful man...

R.P. McCosker said...

Oh, well, gosh, if a Senate Resolution says bad things about McCarthy, they simply must be true. My apologies.

Gee, all those fine gentlemen wouldn't say mean things that weren't so, would they?

Ironically, most of what Wisco quotes from this resolution are McCarthy's own enraged responses to the movement to censure him. In other words, their best arguments for censuring him -- at least as Wisco would have it -- were McCarthy's own vitriolic words about the censure movement. The nerve of that McCarthy! Some great case against him.

(It's analogous to: "Sure the grounds for arrest were flimsy. But the dirty rat resisted, so our only choice was to stick him in the Big House for a long, long time, hee hee.")

I'm sorry to see that Wisco has turned out to be such a disingenuous polemicist: At first I assumed we just had an honest difference of opinion.

I went to lengths to repeatedly criticize McCarthy, to indicate some of his flaws and limitations. To no avail, it would seem. Instead Wisco sneers back about "the angelic and totally innocent little bird with a broken wing who was Joe McCarthy" and recites "[h]ow heartless of [him] to besmirch such a wonderful man...."

Well, if you can't win an argument, you can always invent straw men.

BTW, that Milwaukee Sentinel Journal article Wisco links to (also linked in the Wikipedia article about La Follette Jr.) is a hoot, and should stand as Exhibit "A" in how far people will go to trash McCarthy while looking away from the routine horrors of modern American politics.

Let's take a look:

"La Follette committed suicide, convinced he was about to become ensnared in McCarthy's infamous Communist-hunting committee, according to Patrick Maney, a historian and La Follette biographer.

"Maney's provocative theory surfaced this month with the release of reams of transcripts from closed McCarthy hearings during 1953 and 1954. Those documents make a brief reference to an exchange in which an ex-Communist Party official alleges that La Follette Senate aides had Communist ties.

"La Follette deeply dreaded the prospect of that incident being exploited by McCarthy and the possible ruin of the lofty La Follette family reputation, Maney said in an interview.

" 'In the weeks leading up to his suicide, (La Follette) became obsessed with this fear that McCarthy was going to call him before his committee,' said Maney, a University of South Carolina professor. McCarthy's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation went after hundreds of 'subversives' -- government employees and others with supposed links to the Communist Party.

"La Follette killed himself about seven months before the exchange that is detailed in the hearing transcripts.

"Whether the legendary 'red-baiter' ever intended to go after La Follette remains unclear. Maney said he has uncovered no documentation to prove that McCarthy was planning to do so. And in a new edition of his La Follette biography, 'Young Bob,' which was published last fall, Maney wrote that La Follette's fears of being hauled before McCarthy's committee were apparently groundless.

"However, interviews the historian had in the 1970s with La Follette's top aides, coupled with a recent conversation with La Follette's son Bronson -- a former Wisconsin attorney general who lives in Madison -- have now convinced Maney that McCarthy was planning to subpoena La Follette, Maney said."

Read: Maney, a professional McCarthy-hater, believes La Follette committed suicide because he feared McCarthy would call him to testify before McCarthy's committee. Maney has changed his mind back and forth whether McCarthy actually intended to eventually subpoena La Follette.

Okay, let's go on:

"Two other Cold War historians said it was plausible that La Follette's suicidal despair might have been linked to a fear of being smeared by McCarthy. But Jeremi Suri of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Athan Theoharis of Marquette University said they also had seen no hard evidence that McCarthy actually intended to call La Follette.

" 'It wouldn't have been unfounded to be worried at that time,' said Theoharis, given the climate of paranoia that developed around the hunt for communists. McCarthy was even attacking the U.S. Army at the time, questioning generals about promoting people with alleged Communist ties.

" 'If you see that happening and you are La Follette, you might think that you are next,' Theoharis said. 'A lot of people were paranoid at this time, and there was good reason to be paranoid' because of McCarthy's tactics, he said."

Read: Two other academic historians (can you imagine a McCarthy specialist ever getting tenure without being foursquare anti-McCarthy?) also suspect La Follette committed suicide for fear of being called by McCarthy to testify. But, again, no evidence McCarthy intended to do that.

"La Follette's general tendency toward anxiety and depression may also have come into play. He had severe anxiety attacks in the weeks before his suicide, Maney wrote in his La Follette biography."

Read: La Follette was always prone to severe depression.

"Senate historian Donald Ritchie said the newly released transcripts don't shed light on whether McCarthy was going to subpoena La Follette. However, Ritchie said he wouldn't be surprised."

Read: Yet another historian has no evidence that McCarthy intended to subpoena La Follette, but wonders if that fear inspired the latter's suicide.

" 'Anybody who McCarthy perceived was a political opponent, he was looking for dirt about them,' Ritchie said. 'I'm sure the possibility of La Follette running would have always had to worry him.' Democrats had attempted to recruit La Follette to run against McCarthy in 1952."

Read: The same historian implies that McCarthy was somehow unusual in conducting opposition research. McCarthy, who might easily be mistaken for a pedestrian politician, was somehow the unique locus of evil.

"La Follette's fear can be traced to a few -- two to four -- Communist Party members or sympathizers who had worked for him in the late 1930s when he headed the Senate Civil Liberties Committee. La Follette fired them when he discovered their Communist ties, said Maney.

"La Follette had written an article for Collier's, a national magazine, in 1947 acknowledging the event, and he worried that McCarthy would try to use it to besmirch the reputation of the La Follette family, Maney said."

Read: Oh, this is getting really good. La Follette MAY have committed suicide for fear that McCarthy would expose him for having done the very thing La Follette had written an article about in a popular national magazine about six years earlier.

I can see the headlines now: "McCARTHY CHARGES EX-SENATOR WITH WRITING THE TRUTH IN AN OLD MAGAZINE". Oh, what a mighty scary guy was that McCarthy.

And so on. Poor La Follette, who then was a prosperous Beltway lobbyist, was just torn up at the mere possibility he might have to testify. (Some lobbyist he must've been!)

Finally, we get this gem:

"McCarthy did not jump on the juicy tidbit, and the line of questioning was quickly dropped, the transcripts show.

"Maney and Suri, the UW-Madison historian, said that wasn't surprising, though it might seem so at first blush. McCarthy would have been politically shrewd enough to avoid attacking a revered Wisconsin icon shortly after La Follette's death, Maney and Suri said.

" 'McCarthy was very sensitive to his domestic base in Wisconsin,' Suri said. 'He wasn't going to challenge the sacred cows.' "

When it comes to the MSM, to academia, and to the political establishment, McCarthy simply cannot win. He's damned for POSSIBLY scheming to make an issue of career politician/lobbyist La Follette's onetime employment of Communist sympathizers, driving La Follette to his death.

And then McCarthy's damned for never having done this at all: The sly dog, he figured it'd backfire politically.

All this reminds me of Goldstein and the Five-Minutes' Hate in Orwell's Nineteen Eight-Four. Like Big Brother in that novel, the American political establishment needs to persecute any source of embarrassment to its way of doing business and a scapegoat to deflect public attention from the real evils being perpetrated by the system.