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Veteran Times columnist Beichman, 96, dies
Question of the Day
Arnold Beichman, columnist for The Washington Times and well-known anti-communist scholar, died on Feb. 17. He was 96.
Mr. Beichman died peacefully in Pasadena, Calif., surrounded by his family, his son Charles Beichman said. “He greatly loved The Washington Times and was enormously proud of the paper and the opportunities it afforded him to express his thoughts,” he said.
Mr. Beichman’s career in public life brought him into contact with some of the most important and colorful figures of 20th century, including Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Hubert H. Humphrey, Irving Kristol, Walter Winchell, Milton Friedman, Vietnamese leader Ngo Dinh Diem, Bill Casey and George W. Bush.
Born on May 17, 1913, in New York City, Mr. Beichman, the son of a Yiddish-speaking storekeeper, studied at Columbia College, where he edited the college newspaper, Spectator, and graduated in 1934.
During his newspaper career, he wrote for the New York Times as a free-lance reporter, and was on the staff of Newsday and during the 1940s, the leftist daily newspaper PM, where he eventually became city editor.
He was among the first reporters to chronicle the Warsaw ghetto uprising in Poland and later interviewed some of the first survivors from the World War II and Holocaust.
During the 1950s, he went to work for several publications associated with anti-communist labor unions and wrote frequently for the New Leader, and the Christian Science Monitor.
By the 1960s, he traveled frequently around the world as a reporter and free-trade union representative. During that period, Mr. Beichman reported from Vietnam for the New York Herald Tribune and also from Congo for Newsweek.
“Arnold was a nonpareil in the history of communist subversion around the world,” said Arnaud de Borchgrave, editor at large of The Times. “Indefatigable, he roamed the world as a journalist exposing the clandestine activities of the Comintern as it sought to undermine democracy, and co-opt decolonization.”
He earned a master’s degree at Columbia in 1967 and a doctoral degree there in 1973, and then became a professor at the University of Massachusetts in Boston.
In 1972 he wrote the book, “Nine Lies About America,” a critique of the radical anti-American movement at the time. He also lectured at Georgetown University, and spent a year as a visiting professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver in 1974.
In 1981, he became a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University where he spent the next 22 years. It was during this period that he began writing the scores of columns for The Times.
His knowledge of communism and it practitioners was comprehensive. During a 1988 visit to the Soviet Union with a group of American news reporters, Mr. Beichman often upset state-run tourist guides by frequently adding to their biographies of past Soviet leaders by pointing out those that had been purged and killed under Joseph Stalin.
“Arnold’s great issue was anti-communism,” said John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary magazine. “It was the animating intellectual and political force in his life, and he was wise and tough and immensely knowledgeable and completely without illusions and totally without fear of the views of those who claimed his passion was vulgar and overheated.
“He knew evil when he saw it and he called it by its name, and he was as astonished as anyone when the evil against which he had fought for so long crumbled to dust in 1989,” Mr. Podhoretz stated in a tribute published on the Commentary Web site.
About the Author
Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
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