In the heyday of the Cold War, both knowingly and unknowingly, such radical intellectuals served as a reliable conduit for anti-U.S. propaganda generated in the think tanks of Moscow. The technical details were described by a number of defectors from the Eastern Bloc intelligence agencies, the highest-ranking of whom was Ion Mihai Pacepa, acting chief of Romania’s espionage service.
“The whole foreign policy of the Soviet-bloc states, indeed its whole economic and military might, revolved around the larger Soviet objective of destroying America from within through the use of lies,” Pacepa writes. “The Soviets saw disinformation as a vital tool in the dialectical advance of world Communism. … Many ‘Ban-the-Bomb’ and anti-nuclear movements were KGB-funded operations, too. I can no longer look at a petition for world peace or other supposedly noble cause, particularly of the anti-American variety, without thinking to myself, ‘KGB.’
“As far as I’m concerned, the KGB gave birth to the antiwar movement in America,” Pacepa continues. “KGB chairman Yuri Andropov managed our anti-Vietnam War operation. He often bragged about having damaged the U.S. foreign-policy consensus, poisoned domestic debate in the U.S., and built a credibility gap between America and European public opinion through our disinformation operations. Vietnam was, he once told me, ‘our most significant success.’”
The fraudulent image of America as the “violent imperialist aggressor” was picked up by the Western media, disseminated through activist groups, and found its way into policy making, exemplified by John Kerry’s 1971 “Genghis Khan” testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, where Kerry almost verbatim repeated the KGB fabrications, later recognized by Pacepa as his own subversive product.
“KGB priority number one at that time was to damage American power, judgment, and credibility,” Pacepa recalls. “One of its favorite tools was the fabrication of such evidence as photographs and ‘news reports’ about invented American war atrocities. These tales were purveyed in KGB-operated magazines that would then flack them to reputable news organizations. … All in all, it was amazingly easy for Soviet-bloc spy organizations to fake many such reports and spread them around the free world.”
Our sensory organs may perceive the same reality, but our knowledge of the world depends on how our minds interpret our perceptions and connect the dots. A successful propaganda campaign modifies that process by inserting, in a manner of speaking, a prefabricated optical lens that redirects incoming information and rearranges the existing dots. It may remain unnoticed for a while because the distortion affects limited designated areas — in this case, political ideology. One still is the same person, except that when he thinks of political, economic, or social issues, lies suddenly become perceived as the truth, right as wrong, good as evil, enemies as friends, and so on.
Ultimately, the most successful, moral, and just country in the history of humanity becomes perceived as a violent monster feeding on the bodies of innocent victims.
Caught off guard by such a procedure and lacking intellectual tools to detect it, any decent red-blooded man will naturally be enraged by America’s “injustice,” wish for its defeat, and sometimes even join its enemies. Assuming that in 1971 John Kerry was a decent man and his testimony to the Senate Committee was delivered in good faith, he must have had that lens implanted in his brain for a long time. The Vietnam War was won by Moscow, not on the battlefield, but in the information warfare. And that was only the beginning.