…I do recall … David telling us story after story about how he worked with the Bolivians to track down Che Guevera and that he was there when they made the arrest; and that he ordered him to chop his head off and then he kicked it as far as he could so there would be no stories that he’d been caught and captured but had escaped. (Robert Walton, attorney, speaking of David Sanchez Morales (1925-1978), CIA agent)
(My note: Morales “ordered” the Bolivians to chop the head off. So much for plausible deniability.)
Robert Altemeyer, retired professor of psychology up north, developed the concept of the “right-wing authoritarian,” calling that particular psychological makeup the enemy of human freedom. (My link is to Wikipedia. It is brief and useful.)
But Altemeyer’s work is misleading if one approaches our world from a “right vs left” framework. In fact, he encountered the same personality profile in supposed “right” and “left” circles and so invented the term “wild card authoritarian” to describe non-right wingers.
I think his use of “right-wing” is misleading. Altermeyer performed similar work in the old Soviet Union and found that the exact same personality profile that fit our “Right Wing Authoritarians” existed in the leaders of the Soviet regime.
Similarly, I have found that the leaders of the Democratic and Republican Parties in the United States are the exact same type of people, authoritarians, conniving, disingenuous, and manipulative. Dr. Judy Wood, as is her talent, coined a pithy phrase to describe the phenomenon: Same team, home and away uniforms.
I bring this up in a much larger framework, however. David Morales hated communists with such intensity that in his own mind he was justified in performing any act of violence against them, no matter how atrocious. As a result, KGB-style communists and American anti-communists were essentially the same people, two sides of the coin called “evil.” They were deeply brainwashed and could live in any era. They might feel at home in Communist, Nazi, Khmer Rouge settings, for example. In our modern-day they could be “al Qaeda,” “ISIL,” Navy Seals or Blackwater ops.
My larger question has to do with anticommunism. At the end of World War II, Americans and Russians were allies, the latter having done the lion’s share of the work in defeating Nazi Germany. Not too long after the war, we learned that the Russians, who became the “Soviet Menace,” were our deadly enemy set on destroying us.
The Soviet Union was never a credible threat to the United States. How, in the minds of Americans, did they become the face of evil? How were characters like Morales created?
I can explain only a small part of it, McCarthyism, a Mao-like purge of career service diplomats from government service, teachers from academia, and writers from television and movies. The 1954 hearings were televised, perhaps the first use of that medium as a PSYOP. McCarthy’s reach extended to campuses, Hollywood, and the news media. While he ended his life in disgrace, he left a mark, a dark seed of suspicion was planted in the United States that the enemy slept in our camp.
That might explain the paranoia that gripped the country during the so-called “Cold War,” now supplanted by “terrorism” as the evil enemy (complete with 9/11, a made-for TV PSYOP). It does not, however, explain characters like David Sanchez Morales, men so convinced of their own rightness that any act of violence is justified in the name of patriotism. There is only one explanation for that: Evil resides in human beings, whether in home or away uniforms.