Thursday, June 15, 2006

Claims Of McCarthy Echoes Don't Ring True

Maybe it's a good thing I was out of town and missed the ACLU lecture which took place at my school this past weekend. Local coverage here in the Hartford Courant, "Hearing McCarthy Echoes."

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the protests of the Bush administration's war in Iraq and war on terror are the protesters insistence on pointing out the similarity of past American transgressions to the supposed transgressions of today, regardless of how inaccurate such comparisons may be.

According to the article,

She [Ann Beeson, associate legal director of the ACLU] compared the country's current situation with the time of Sen. Joseph McCarthy and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, and also said that in the 1960s and 1970s the government used the threat of terrorism as an excuse to infiltrate peace groups, wiretap journalists and amass files on ordinary Americans.

McCarthyism raises the specter of Americans marginalized, threatened, and even prosecuted for their political beliefs. That's not quite what I see today. I don't see much support for the Islamo-terrorists- And peace activists are certainly not terrorists, nor have any peace activists been threatened in the same manner that those with socialist leaning were threatened back in the 1950's.

The comparisons to the past actually show how far we've come. In the 1950's the taint of communism ruined reputations and destroyed careers. Today we are free to protest, and free to hold whatever political views we chose. Who has to fear the government today? Suspected terrorists captured in foreign countries and US citizens who receive international phone calls from terrorists. Oh, and that’s right- don't forget those poor librarians who were forced to turn over those extremely top secret library records.

Do we have issues to talk about today? Certainly we do. Detention of terror suspects is a pressing issue that no one seems to want to really address. The Bush administration seems content to ignore the issue, and the Bush administration critics seem happy to be critical without being constructive. But echoes of McCarthy? I don't think so.


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