John Kerry reporting for duty.
I recently received a concerned e-mail from a troubled citizen in the gentle state of Alabama. He was in understandable distress over the choice of one John F. Kerry to head the venerable Department of State, replacing the beleaguered Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom liberals hail as the greatest secretary of state since Thomas Jefferson as they size up the rock at Mount Rushmore.
My new Alabama friend remarked on the sudden timeliness of chapter 17 of my book Dupes, which regrettably relates the sustained dupery of our new captain of Foggy Bottom, Secretary Kerry, who has reported for duty to the sound of rapturous cheers by the liberal faithful. They failed to get Kerry in the White House, but, thanks to getting Barack Obama in the White House, now have Kerry at State.
The friendly Alabaman generously wrote: “The Senate may want to call Dr. Paul Kengor to testify at the hearings considering John Kerry’s confirmation and have chapter 17 of his book entered into the congressional record.”
Well, I was flattered—but no thanks. I would rather have attended a NARAL dinner as the date of Barbara Boxer than been summoned to Kerry’s hearings. Besides, I assured my friend, such testimony would not matter. The Senate would vote for John Kerry regardless of his past, much as the citizens of Massachusetts have long done.
Nonetheless, for the sake of history, and for the benefit of the fine readers of The American Spectator, I thought it might be worthwhile to recount the sordid and sundry details of what I reported three years ago in the infamous John Kerry chapter of Dupes.
JOHN KERRY HAS LONG had a record of saying dismal things about America and its loyal troops—awful statements that have frequently served our adversaries. This began some 40 years ago, when he returned from his service in Vietnam, and specifically when he testified on the conduct of American troops.
The story of that sad saga ought to begin not with Kerry’s ignominious testimony, but the witness of Ion Mihai Pacepa. In the late 1970s, Lt. Gen. Pacepa became the highest-ranking intelligence official to defect from the Soviet bloc. He had served as the right-hand man of Romanian despot Nicolae Ceausescu. Pacepa escaped, but not unscathed. Ceausescu and his goons placed a death sentence and a $2 million bounty on Pacepa’s head.
Fortunately, Pacepa survived and thus has served as one of the most powerful witnesses to the evils and idiocies of the Communist world, as well as its duped accomplices among the American non-Communist left.“
During the Vietnam War,” said Pacepa, “we spread vitriolic stories around the world, pretending that America’s presidents sent Genghis Khan–style barbarian soldiers to Vietnam who raped at random, taped electrical wires to human genitals, cut off limbs, blew up bodies and razed entire villages. Those weren’t facts. They were our tales.”
Nonetheless, he said, millions of Americans “ended up being convinced their own president, not communism, was the enemy.”
According to Pacepa, it was the odious Yuri Andropov, then head of the KGB, who conceived this dezinformatsia war—disinformation campaign—against the United States. The Soviets devoted exorbitant spending to that cause. Andropov told Pacepa and his fellow KGB officers that people are “more willing to believe smut than holiness.” Certainly that was often the case for the American left.“
As far as I’m concerned,” said Pacepa, “the KGB gave birth to the antiwar movement in America.”
Pacepa probably gave too much credit to the KGB and not enough to LBJ. It was primarily the horrendous war management by Lyndon B. Johnson that sent all those angry college kids into the streets in the first place. That said, the KGB certainly looked to exacerbate the discontent as much as possible. It already had a helping hand among American Communists busily agitating throughout the nation. And here, it saw a golden opportunity.
What KGB propagandists needed for their disinformation/propaganda campaign was American suckers, and they got them in spades from the non-Communist left: those peace-loving liberals who, as always, were far more suspicious of anti-Communists than Communists.
ONE SUCH AMERICAN, who seems to have inadvertently repeated the precise line dished out by Soviet disinformation experts, was, of course, John Kerry. In his infamous headliner testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971, Kerry dropped verbal napalm on American troops: