As I record the audiobook of American Betrayal, I am rereading the book for the first time since I shipped the corrected manuscript back to the publisher in December 2012. It is also my first careful read since American Betrayal was smeared in an orchestrated attack led by a tiny band of septuagenarian ex-Communists starting several months after it came out in 2013. As I read, I confess to taking extra delight in certain sections that I can now imagine drove such people nuts.
I am thinking it might be fun to post some of these sections. Perhaps an interesting pattern will emerge.
Let's start with a section on Sen. Joseph McCarthy -- my detractors' symbolic point of attack against me, whom they labeled "McCarthy's heiress," "McCarthy on Steroids." I would, in modesty, demur at such comparisons, although these were in no way meant as terms of endearment. They were meant to destroy.
That's worth pondering in and of itself.
Even as such people attest to a deep and abiding anti-Communism, they continue to allow Communism's leading congressional foe, Sen. Joseph McCarthy, burn in Communism's hellfire. Even as they profess to tell the real story of the massive Communist conspiracy in this county, they continue throwing Communist and/or "anti-anti-Communist" fuel (read: propaganda) onto this shameful pyre. This is, to put it mildly, a strangely retrograde role for anyone selling expertise in domestic Communist infiltration to continue playing, particularly now as we may confirm that McCarrthy investigations netted dozens of secret Communists inside the federal government. Here is a list of 50 compiled by McCarthy biographer M. Stanton Evans.
What became clear to me in the aftermath of the attacks on American Betrayal, however, is that it is not the rightful reassessment of Joseph McCarthy alone that consensus-historians fear.
Evans already accomplished this yeoman task in Blacklisted by HIstory. American Betrayal takes this reassessment as a given. Herein, I submit, lies my "transgression": American Betrayal continues on, imagining what happens to our narrative next -- what happens after McCarthy is rehabilitated. The book goes on to connect dot after dot after spy after agent after asset after informant after influence operator after dupe, and, mirabile dictu, a secret Soviet intelligence army of occupation takes shape.
It is this suddenly, shockingly apparent army -- usually depicted, more or less, as individual actors, or as a "spy" ring or two or three, but largely as information-thieves who were of no great influence on US strategy and statecraft and that certainly do not in any way undermine the golden reputation of Franklin Roosevelt -- that I think my detractors also fear. This new way of looking at the evidence so drastically transforms the consensus-history they have devoted their own careers to writing. Perhaps there are other reasons.
The notion comes up early, on p. 68:
Clearly—at least, clearly at a remove of more than a half century—this was war. A hidden army was in place—a secret insurgency—and much of the local population was sympathetic or even in league with it. When McCarthy came along, as M. Stanton Evans documents, he was entirely correct to suspect, track, and attempt to expose the extensive and ongoing conspiracy that Dies had probed before him, that Chambers had participated in and witnessed, that official Washington, for reasons to be discussed (none of them good), sought to keep under wraps. The historical fact is, secret Soviet forces had made massive incursions into the federal government following FDR’s first election in 1932 and reached every kind of inner sanctum during the United States’ wartime alliance with the Soviet Union (1941–45)—the one really and truly “special relationship,” as I have learned. As Evans lays out in detail, much of it drawn from newly declassified FBI and Senate records, the United States wasn’t just riddled by Communist agents; we were for all intents and purposes occupied by a small army—a small army being just what this kind of war requires. Expert estimates now peg the number of Americans assisting Soviet intelligence agencies during the 1930s and 1940s as exceeding five hundred. Not one Aldrich Ames. Not two Rosenbergs. Not five “magnificent” Cambridgers. More than five hundred willing and variously able American traitors, many operating at the very highest levels of the federal government, with who knows how many more in support roles. This was a national security fiasco of a magnitude that has never, ever entered national comprehension.
But McCarthy remains a special case. Historical reevaluation continues to pass him by—Evans’s tome the most obvious exception—in most of what might be termed post-Venona “exposure” research. Conducted by notable scholars and intelligence historians, such research counters the bulk of the “antiknowledge” still circulating about Soviet espionage, infiltration, and subversion in the West by providing new proofs of their existence from previously unavailable archival materials. McCarthy himself, the man best remembered and worst damned for his efforts to expose this same espionage, infiltration, and subversion, remains history’s Lost Man. Events recede and conditions change—the forbidding Berlin Wall, for example, became rubble marketed as souvenirs— but the venomous sting of McCarthy, or, rather, McCarthyism, remains as deadly as ever.
Evans explains the reluctance to reevaluate McCarthy’s role as an anti- Communist warrior: “Such reluctance to tackle McCarthy in light of the new information may seem odd, but is understandable in context. ‘McCarthyism’ is the third rail in Cold War historiography—and of our political discourse in general—and any contact with it could prove fatal to writers trying to get their work accepted in academic or mainstream media circles.”
Any contact could prove fatal. This should tell us the war isn’t over, not by a long shot. This should tell us it goes on, now, against an enemy who still controls vital territory—academic or mainstream media circles—to such a degree that research diverging from this party line cannot be published with- out dire consequences to the author. That’s because the cause these remnant or reflexive anti-anti-Communists championed in the absence—or, rather, the suppression—of facts has never been discredited to a point of acknowledged surrender. On the contrary, having successfully warded off attacks of the facts led by individuals of singular courage, having successfully maintained the vac- uum of deception, they long ago usurped the prerogative of the victor—the writing of history—to produce the antihistory we rely on to this day. ...