(Page 2 of 2)
Barr had no second thoughts about spying for the USSR. He considered it a duty and a privilege. Even more, it was an affirmation of his commitment. As Abel noted, “the prospect of committing a crime to further a cause in which you deeply believe is a very exciting one. Here is a test not only of what you believe, but also of what you are.”
The decision to spy on America was not sparked by the urge to help an ally or even to fight fascism but by a desire to promote communism. Rosenberg’s attempts to acquire military technology for Moscow began before the Nazi invasion of Russia — that is, while Stalin was aligned with and providing assistance to Hitler.
Barr’s self-image as a Soviet patriot explains why he continued to steal military secrets after the war in Europe was over. He believed that America’s atomic weapons monopoly posed a threat to the USSR and that the Cold War had been “artificially stimulated by certain circles who were convinced that if the Soviet experiment were to succeed,” it would be a threat to the U.S. and capitalism. During the Korean and Vietnam wars Barr enthusiastically worked in Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union on military technology.
THE EXPERIENCES THAT MADE BARR a dedicated communist bear striking resemblances to the conditions in today’s Parisian suburbs, whose high-rise housing projects are reminiscent of New York tenements in the first decades of the 20 th century. Even more than Barr’s contemporaries, Muslim emigrants throughout Europe feel they are the subjects of racial and religious discrimination and have little hope for social or economic integration into the prosperous society surrounding them.
Like communist appeals for volunteers to combat fascism in Spain in the 1930s, radical Islam’s recruiting messages for martyrs to fight in Chechnya and Iraq are “in the air,” preached in mosques, propagated in pamphlets and promoted on the Internet.
Noting the similarities between the backgrounds and outlooks of Julius Rosenberg’s confederates and Mohammad Atta’s jihadists is not intended to suggest a moral equivalence in their actions. Nor is an analysis of the soil that nurtures fanatics in any way an excuse for espionage or terrorism.
Nonetheless, comprehending how fanaticism’s roots lie in alienation from society, hopeless living conditions, and a desire to advance an ideological, romantic or religious fantasy — and how attractive it is for people swept up in a secret world, especially young men, to commit crimes — is relevant to understanding and fighting terrorism.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?