"We live in a time where everything is so small that those who believe in nothing are leading those who believe in Something, and the naïveté seems to never end."
I was a very young executive with the Reagan Administration; they were three wise and seasoned men out of the previous generation.
All were American heroes; accomplished writers, investigators, historians, and operatives - and my frequent luncheon buddies for nearly a decade.
Most importantly, they were all three "truth tellers."
DeWitt "Pete" Copp flew cargo planes in WWII over North Africa and Europe. He would return home to write over 30 books, including several influential, formative books on the Cold War and Soviet espionage, important histories on the development of U.S. airpower, and a variety of novels. He authored hundreds of professional screenplays and articles, worked for the CIA, taught, and finally came to rest in the Reagan Administration in time to be my mentor of sorts.
Joe Dwyer was a teenage Polish-American who was trapped in eastern Poland when the Soviets invaded, two weeks after the Germans had steamrolled into western Poland. Transferred to various Soviet prison camps, he eventually escaped and managed to get to Portugal - mostly on foot - where, with Soviet agents hot on his trail, he was hidden in the U.S. Embassy, and finally delivered in the trunk of a car to a departing boat that would bring him back to his American home. He would return to Europe to fight with the US Army, carrying a Soviet "bounty" on his head as a badge of honor. Joe would spend most of his professional life fighting communism in both Europe and America.
Herb Romerstein, who died this past May 7th - joining Pete and Joe as great heroes of yesteryear, their voices stilled on this side of life - was a giant in the battle against totalitarianism.
Herb grew up to be a Brooklyn communist in his late teens, and then began to question the "cause" as a young adult. Serving with the US Army he saw combat in the Korean War, and returned home to become perhaps the foremost expert on the communist movement in the 20th century, and its transitional "identities" moving into this troubled century.
Herb was a first class investigator, author and lecturer. His knowledge on intelligence matters and investigative expertise led to important assignments in Congress and in the government, including being a lead investigator for the House Committee on Un-American Activities, the permanent Committee on Intelligence, and serving in the USIA. (One of several books he wrote, "" written with the late Eric Breindel, remains the gold standard resource for understanding the relationships between Soviet and American communists and their hard left sympathizers.)
Talking to Herb was like taking a walk in an encyclopedia.
These three men and I would meet frequently for long lunches on Capitol Hill, where the intersection of knowledge, history, politics and personalities would be interrupted with thunderous peals of laughter.
I was not so much a student to these wise counselors, but an advocate in training. Looking back at them I realize now just how much they taught me, and I'm grateful for that; but it's what they showed me in their character that leaves me in the deepest debt to them.
These were men who all paid a personal price to sound the alarms of danger over the foreboding presence of totalitarianism - the Soviet menace to liberty in particular, but also to the wider march of Marxism ideology across the world. And they were speaking out in an era starting in the early 1960's and reaching a crescendo in the 1980's where much of the radical left - which is to say almost all of the Democratic party - and the pretend right, didn't want to challenge the communist threat, or worse, wanted to actively collaborate with it. Pete, Joe and Herb were each in their own way regarded as "outliers" and extreme right wingers - they existed professionally on the outer orbit of politics and policy because they told the truth, and they were willing to pay the price for telling the truth.
History, of course, now shows they were exactly correct; the corroding evil of communism had financed, finagled and armed much of the chaos in the post WW11 era, not to mention the long march of cultural Marxism through the political, cultural and religious institutions in the West.
We live in a time of "little" politicians with tiny pedestrian interests of running things for the sake of running things; little minds absorbed with the thoughts of how influential they can be over people who have no way to oppose their influence.
We live in a time of "little" businessmen whose interest seems principally about how to corral markets and governments to do their bidding all at the same time; and "little" businessmen who cringe at nationalism and embrace viewpoints that demand they don't have to have any.
We live in a time of "little" academicians and social professionals, pastors and rabbis, where truth is relative. (Who knew things could be so hard to understand?) We live in a time where everything is so small that those who believe in nothing are leading those who believe in Something, and the naïveté seems to never end.
My three friends, thankfully for all of us, lived big lives and believed in big ideas. They believed in truth telling and paid the price for truth telling. They missed jobs, lost jobs, and had their reputations shredded. They were laughed at, yelled at, and spat at. They simply cared about the truth more than any of that - even more than their own personal comfort.
They were and they are emblematic of everything we are missing the most of in today's world.
Rest in peace friends, you earned it.
Mike Giere has written extensively on politics, foreign policy, and issues of faith. He is a former candidate for the US House; worked for Ronald Reagan in 76 & 80; and served in both the Reagan and Bush (41) Administrations.
... written by jiveman1 , May 25, 2013
That's a bunch of round lunch meat. Most Republicans cater to their party only and don't care about all Americans. If you worked for a Republican, and think "ONLY" as a Republican, then you're against the hard working Americans that made this country great. I belong to a huge family that has served and fought for our country since WWII to this day. So I'm advising you that, if you say something that isn't true and you do "NOT" know it's not true, you made a mistake. But if you say something that is "NOT" true and you know it's "NOT" true, you're lying. When I took the oath to join the Marine Corps in 1953, I swore to obey our president and follow "ALL" legal orders, and to protect my country from "ALL" enemies; both foreign and domestic. No one is perfect, some just try to "HOODWINK" people in what they want to do. Even a war hero. "US Marine "Other than Honorably "Discharged for badmouthing President > Obama." > "Sgt. Stein is quoted as having said, "Screw Obama and I will not follow all > orders from him" back on March first."