Recently published on Foreign Policy magazine’s online blog was an article entitled “When Presidents 'Recreate,' the World Falls Apart.” The article discussed international crises that occurred when U.S. presidents were on vacation. The author, Park MacDougald, focused on four presidents: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Barack Obama.
For President Reagan, MacDougald chose the tragedy of KAL Flight 007, when four Soviet fighter jets intercepted and shot down Korean Air Lines flight 007, which was carrying 269 passengers including Representative Larry McDonald of Georgia, over Sakhalin Island, on September 1, 1983. At the time, President Reagan was at his personal California retreat, Rancho del Cielo (Spanish for “Ranch of Heaven”).
In providing a description of the event, MacDougald could not resist letting his political bias be known via a reprehensible sly remark about passenger Larry McDonald. MacDougald writes, “All 269 passengers, including 61 Americans and one U.S. congressman (Larry McDonald, president of the John Birch Society and fan of Rudolf Hess) were killed in the subsequent crash, provoking a series of bitter recriminations between the Soviet Union and the United States.”
Of all the things that could be said about the five-term Georgia congressman, MacDougald choose to highlight a trivial comment, taken out of context, McDonald said during a debate in order to paint the mental illusion of McDonald as a Nazi supporter. MacDougald’s shabby sense of journalism showcases his ignorance of history and the Left’s continued predilection for portraying constitutional conservatives, such as The John Birch Society and its members, as sympathetic to the views of Nazism.
Lawrence Patton McDonald, former chairman of The John Birch Society, was not a fan of Rudolf Hess, the man who served under Adolf Hitler as the deputy führer of Nazi Germany. The younger cousin of distinguished World War II U.S. Army General George S. Patton, Larry McDonald devoted his legislative career to the restoration of the House Committee on Internal Security for the sole purpose of exposing the reemergence of extremist anti-Semitic neo-Nazi groups in the United States in addition to communist, Marxist-Leninist, and Trotskyite subversive groups and individuals.
“Mr. Speaker, at a time when local and Federal intelligence gathering programs have been ended or severely cut, we are witnessing a resurgence of activities by a wide range of totalitarian groups,” said Congressman McDonald from the floor of the House, on January 6, 1977. “These range from the supporters of Marxism-Leninism in its Maoist, Trotskyist, Castroite and Soviet varieties to the fascist national socialists who emphasize racial and religious hatred in addition to class warfare.”
McDonald identified the National Socialist Liberation Front (NSLF) as one such resurgent totalitarian fascist group. Founded by Joseph Tomasi in June 1975, the NSLF was led by “Captain” David Rust at the time of its primary growth in the late '70s and early '80s. The NSLF claimed to have chapters, support groups, and/or organized allies in Chicago, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Louisville, Newport (Delaware), and Omaha.
As McDonald noted in his remarks, the NSLF described itself in the following terms:
The NSLF is the legitimate successor to George Lincoln Rockwell’s American Nazi Party and as such will continue his struggle through ALL avenues of politics or prisons until VICTORY OR DEATH! The NSLF maintains friendly ties with any and all organizations that support our struggle for the liberation of America from Zionism and the liberation of THE WORLD from Marxism. ALL our prison business is handled by the American National Socialist Brotherhood.
According to McDonald, the ANSB’s membership was “concentrated in the California State correctional system as a splinter from the Aryan Brotherhood — AB, which was one of the militant prisoner organizations which worked with the Maoist Communist Venceremos Organization — VO in 1972.” The Venceremos Organization advocated for prison reform as well as “community control” of local police and the armed defense of citizens for the purposes of revolution. So dangerous was the threat posed by the VO that in 1972, the House Committee on Internal Security published a 202-page report about it entitled, “America's Maoists: the Revolutionary Union, the Venceremos Organization: Report.”
The House Committee on Internal Security that Larry McDonald sought to reinstate was originally named the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) prior to 1969, and was originally created in 1938 to investigate the subversive activities of Nazi and communist organizations in the United States. In its early days, the HUAC investigated such groups as the German-American Bund and the Communist Party USA, which was then led by Earl Browder.
Although the end of World War II resulted in a demise of the influence of Nazism and fascism in America, the Communist Party USA, on the other hand, along with other fellow communist and socialist groups, began to thrive with the emergence of the Cold War. These communist groups worked extensively to have the HUAC and the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee (SISS) disbanded. Both committees were eventually abolished by the liberal Democratic Party majorities in Congress, in 1975 and 1977, respectively.
Like his cousin General George S. Patton, Larry McDonald was as passionately anti-Nazi as he was anti-communist. The only difference between the two was that during Patton’s Second World War, Nazism was the preeminent threat to the free world, whereas during McDonald’s Cold War, Communism had risen to that preeminent position. Nevertheless, both Patton and McDonald were committed to the defeat of Nazism and Communism, both of which are statist totalitarian ideologies.
As for the case of Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess, he is believed to have defied Adolf Hitler when he flew a plane solo to Scotland in an attempt to negotiate a peaceful end to the war with the British government, in 1941. Rather than having his plea taken seriously and avoid the subsequent death of millions of Allied and German soldiers on the western European and African fronts, he was taken into custody and eventually tried for war crimes at Nuremberg. Hess proposed to end the war with the West in the hopes of not having Germany defeated and conquered by Joseph Stalin’s Red Army. That, of course, was precisely what happened, when at the conclusion of the war the Soviet Union established the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), as a communist satellite state from 1949 to 1990.
Hess’ flight, unlike those of the Luftwaffe pilots in the Battle of Britain, was a mission of peace to end the war without the further loss of life. Such a negotiated peace may have resulted in the early release of Jewish prisoners being held in Nazi concentration camps, had the British and other Allied governments pressed for it as a condition for peace. Hess served the duration of his life in prison until his death in 1987.
What McDonald said during a debate with Republican opponent Dave Sellers in 1982 was simply that Hess should be recognized for this risky and daring attempt in flying solo to the U.K. in order to negotiate a peaceful end to the war, which in turn may have prevented the brutal and barbaric Soviet annexation of eastern Germany. Despite this, McDonald was certainly not a “fan” of Hess or of the national socialist ideology that he espoused. This had little bearing on the outcome of the election. In the election, McDonald received 65,909 votes, which was 61 percent of the total votes cast; soundly defeating Sellers, who only drew 41,712 votes, or 39 percent.
When history is misunderstood or deliberately ignored, the mischaracterization and repugnant portrayal of American heroes such as Congressman Larry McDonald is unfortunately to be expected. MacDougald’s comments do not assist Foreign Policy magazine’s credibility nor does it help the publication stand apart from the bias that is prevalent in the financially struggling mainstream liberal media.
This upcoming September 1 will mark the 30th anniversary of the Soviet attack on KAL Flight 007.