Exploring Human Potential

June 9, 1954 – The Day America Slayed The Dragon.

Posted on | June 21, 2022 | Comments Off on June 9, 1954 – The Day America Slayed The Dragon.


Mike Magee

If you plan on tuning in to the 4th session of the January 6 Congressional hearings at 1 PM EST today, do yourself an enormous favor. Commit five minutes this morning to view a 5 minute online video of a Congressional  hearing which is a Master class in “How to slay a dragon.”

The clip does not feature John Dean and his reading of a 245-page prepared summary on June 25, 1973 where he recounts advising Nixon of “a cancer on the presidency.” Nor is it a cameo of surprise witness, Alexander Butterfield, on July 16, 1973, revealing that the President maintained a taping system in the Oval Office.

No. This is from an earlier time. The date is June 9, 1954. This was over a year after Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph R. McCarthy had assumed the chairmanship of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The history shows that he had  “rocketed to public attention in 1950 with his allegations that hundreds of Communists had infiltrated the State Department and other federal agencies.” Clearly a psychopath, he escaped control of moderating voices, biting off ever larger targets, including now the U.S. Army.

“Judge, jury, prosecutor, castigator, and press agent, all in one”, was how Harvard law dean Ervin Griswold described him. In 1954, McCarthy accused the army of “lax security at its top-secret army facilities” which he claimed were infiltrated by communists. The army responded by hiring veteran Boston lawyer Joseph Welch to defend itself.

As documentarians reported, “Mothers who never watched TV during the day were glued to watching the Army-McCarthy hearings.” McCarthy’s right-hand chief council that day was none other than Trump’s most favored personal bro-lawyer Roy Marcus Cohn. Pragmatic, ruthless, and evil to the core, Cohn’s career was launched by McCarthy, and his tainted touch destroyed lives and weakened the U.S. government for three more decades, straight up to the moment of his death from HIV/AIDS in 1986.

In this 5-minute summation of the televised events of June 9, 1954, you are allowed to witness an historic takedown of McCarthy by Welch (with Cohn as witness) – the “slaying of the dragon” that finally destroyed McCarthy once and for all. Cohn had reached an agreement with Welch that McCarthy would avoid attacking one particular Army service man as a communist if Welch remained civil. But Welch had laid a trap, and purposefully needled McCarthy into loosing his temper, and on camera, violating the agreement and “attacking the good lad”, who an outraged Welch tearfully defended in his historic and well-prepared retort.

As historian Thomas Doherty recalls, “It was as if the entire country had been waiting for somebody to finally say this line, ‘Have you no sense of decency.’” To which Jelani Cobb adds, “At the end of it, all the illusions, the comfortable illusions that McCarthy had cultivated about himself, had effectively been dispelled.”

Watch Welch pounce on his victim. Watch Cohn wince as his dragon is slain. Liz Cheney has likely viewed these 5 minutes more than once.


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