Fascinating - and, frankly, depressing - WSJ editorial today from Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking intelligence official ever to have defected from the Soviet bloc.
During the decades he spent scrutinizing the U.S. from Europe he learned that international respect for America is directly proportional to America's own respect for its president. Therefore,
Sowing the seeds of anti-Americanism by discrediting the American president was one of the main tasks of the Soviet-bloc intelligence community during the years I worked at its top levels.
Here's some of the many examples he cites, and much of it sounds frighteningly familiar (and there are many more in the column):
We were tasked to take advantage of the reawakened patriotic feelings stirring in the European countries that had been subjugated by the Nazis, in order to shift their hatred for Hitler over into hatred for Truman--the leader of the new "occupation power." Western Europe was still grateful to the U.S. for having restored its freedom, but it had strong leftist movements that we secretly financed. They were like putty in our hands.
We went on to spend many years and many billions of dollars disparaging subsequent presidents: Eisenhower as a war-mongering "shark" run by the military-industrial complex, Johnson as a mafia boss who had bumped off his predecessor, Nixon as a petty tyrant, Ford as a dimwitted football player and Jimmy Carter as a bumbling peanut farmer.
Compare John Kerry's infamous Winter Soldier testimony ("reminiscent of Genghis Khan") with this paragraph:
During the Vietnam War 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, but some seven million Americans ended up being convinced their own president, not communism, was the enemy.
Other examples of the parallels between Soviet-style anti-American propaganda and the partisans on today's Left:
At the 2004 Democratic National Convention, for example, Bush critics continued our mud-slinging at America's commander in chief. One speaker, Martin O'Malley, now governor of Maryland, had earlier in the summer stated he was more worried about the actions of the Bush administration than about al Qaeda.
On another occasion, retired four-star general Wesley Clark gave Michael Moore a platform to denounce the American commander in chief as a "deserter." And visitors to the national chairman of the Democratic Party had to step across a doormat depicting the American president surrounded by the words, "Give Bush the Boot."
Lt. Gen. Pacepa notes this reaction to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's recent statements in which he thanked President Bush for leading the global war on terror, acknowledging "the debt the world owes to the U.S. for its leadership in this fight against international terrorism":
Mr. Brown's statements elicited anger from many of Mr. Bush's domestic detractors, who claim the president concocted the war on terror for personal gain.
But as someone who escaped from communist Romania--with two death sentences on his head--in order to become a citizen of this great country, I have a hard time understanding why some of our top political leaders can dare in a time of war to call our commander in chief a "liar," a "deceiver" and a "fraud."
Back to the Cold War:
The final goal of our anti-American offensive was to discourage the U.S. from protecting the world against communist terrorism and expansion.
The question the Left needs to consider is, who will lead the world against the enemies of freedom and democracy if America doesn't?
And who will lead America, if not its President?
For once, the communists got it right. It is America's leader that counts. Let's return to the traditions of presidents who accepted nothing short of unconditional surrender from our deadly enemies.
No end but victory.
More on the KGB's dezinformatsiya war to demoralize the American public as conceived by Yuri Andropov in this video interview with another senior Soviet defector. Via Soldier's Dad.
Update: To see the results of today's propaganda war in action, go to the comments section of this post at VC.
Update II: Via Ymarsakar in comments, two further segments of the interview below here and here.