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started playing to the isolationist sentiments of Wisconsin’s sizeable German population by delivering tirades against the war in Europe. He had the bad luck of making some of these speeches on the very eve of our entry into World War II, so, of course, he swore he had been misquoted. Realizing that a hitch in the armed services would underpin his political ambitions, he took a leave of absence from his judgeship and joined the Marine Corps. On June 12, 1943, crews from his bomber squadron were shipped to Guadalcanal in the South Pacific. En route, while engaging in horseplay with his shipmates, McCarthy fell and broke a couple of bones in his foot; and when the cast was removed with acetic acid, some of it burned his leg and left a scar. It was not a serious injury by any means. On Guadalcanal, he made six uneventful flights as a tail gunner and then settled down as an “intelligence officer,” a duty that gave him plenty of time for playing poker. If you appreciate black humor, you will enjoy Morgan’s account of how McCarthy persuaded the military hierarchy that his foot injury was received in combat and that, instead of sitting around the air base playing cards, he had actually flown on a truly astonishing number of missions some of them under heavy fire from Japanese fighter pilots. All of this was totally false, but he conned the military brass into awarding him the Distinguished Flying Cross for “daring bomb attacks on enemy installations” and an Air Medal and four gold stars for “heroism and extraordinary achievement” in other missions. He came home with the rank of captain and in time to make a race for the U.S. Senate. But 1946 was a banner year for the nationthat being the year the Senate welcomed two freshmen of destiny: Joe McCarthy and Richard Nixon. McCarthy’s first years in the Senate were marked by blatant Once upon a time everything he said and did was big news. After his condemnation, his name never again appeared on the front pages of a major newspaper until May 2, 1957, when the nation was informed that he had died of acute alcoholism and that henceforth it would no longer have his help in counting Communists. pandering to special interests. He came to be known as “the Senator from Pepsi Cola:’ because of the shameless help he gave to that company in obtaining sugar, and he called all public housing “a breeding place for communism”until a prefab housing company pressed enough money on him to change his tune. But McCarthy’s shabbiest effort \(and we should be especially grateful to Morgan for his account of this, which I have seen Pentagon overturn a U.S. military court’s sentences of death or life imprisonment for 73 German SS soldiers for their part in the “Malmedy Massacre”that is, their robbing and shooting 72 U.S. prisoners of war, then moving through the bodies strewn around a field and finishing off the wounded at point-blank range. \(Thirty U.S. soldiers escaped. Fifty were Americans in the European war.” All of the German soldiers’ death sentences were later commuted to life in prison. But that wasn’t good enough for McCarthy. Using a Senate investigation into the massacre and its aftermath for a pulpit, he launched a crusade to shame the Army. He argued that even bringing the Nazi SS murderers to trial was “acting with utmost malice,” as bad as anything done in Hitler’s courts. Clearly, McCarthy was trying to win the continued financial support of Walter Harnischfeger, an important pro-Nazi Milwaukee industrialist who had been McCarthy’s patron for some time. -M oving toward the end of his first term with that kind of miserable record, McCarthy was sharp enough to know he was in trouble. “As he rose in politics,” writes Morgan, “he abandoned whatever scruples he might have had and gave in to expediency… Once 1/16/04 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7