I was watching that so so TV movie about Benedict Arnold, when a question occurred to me. After BA, who were the worse traitors in American history? The only one who comes to mind is Tokyo Rose, and I kind of think she wasn’t really that guilty. Who else?

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for selling atom bomb secrets to the Soviet Union.

Executed yes…but most likely Ethel was innocent. And even Juluis wasn’t the main spy.

Is this GQ?

Until we’re moved, I say it’s a toss-up between Ed Meese, John Poindexter, and John Ashcroft. But I’m leaning to Ashcroft.

She was pardoned by President Ford.

This will be a matter of opinion, and it doesn’t seem to be a debate yet, so I’ll move it to IMHO.

moderator GQ

Klaus Fuchs, Who was the main spy that Reeder alludes to.

Oops, Forgot about Aldrich Ames. He not only got a bunch of our operatives killed, but he was a despicable person to boot. The commies at least had ideals, twisted and wrong though they were. Ames OTOH: “I did it for the money”

The Rosenbergs were spies at a particularly bad time to get caught spying.

There’ve been many who’ve crossed the line. More recently we’ve seen Christopher Boyce and Andrew Lee, the Walker clan and, some will squeal, Pollard.

Worst traitor? That edges you on up to the infidel v. heretic v. mercenary question.

This does bring up the question of whether a nation has the right to use its educational system to indoctrinate children to be loyal to the nation.

Maybe there is no such thing as a traitor. Who decides what I’m supposed to be loyal to? The existence of this nation is based on the genocide of the Indians. What is so great about that?

Dal Timgar

Are you only willing to consider those who have actually been found guilty of treason in a court of law? Or are you happy to have people speculate on their own definition of traitorous behavior, and give their opinion on who qualifies?

If the latter, you’ll get response like commasense’s nomination of Ashcroft (which i tend to agree with), and you’ll probably also get others nominating people like Jane Fonda, whose actions during the Vietnam War arguably came under the definition of providing “aid and comfort” to the enemy.

Benedict Arnold was not a traitor. He was a slimy bastard who sold out his cause, but he wasn’t a traitor. George Washington, Ben Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Horatio Gates, John Paul Jones, Nathan Hale, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, Richard Henry Lee, Crispus Attucks, Caesar Rodney, Roger Sherman, Francis Marion, and others of their traitorous ilk were, however.

Very true, Mr. Babbington. Lends a different connotation to the word traitor.

Ollie North?
William Casey?
Ronald Reagan?

I tend to agree with Mr. Borgia. Klaus Fuchs did the most damage to the U.S.

I don’t see where Arnold’s actions did that much damage to the country since his plans were nipped well in the bud. Also, Mr. Babbington, I find your portrayal of BA a bit one-dimensional. No doubt he was opportunistic, but he had been screwed royally by Congress, and his wife was also egging on his treason.

And I think any discussion of treason should include Talleyrand’s remark: “Treason is merely a matter of dates.”

And we note that poster vl_mungo takes the cake for missing the target by the widest margin.

Yes, the founding fathers were traitors to the Crown. Yeehahhh!

The term “traitor” has very little weight as far as I’m concered. One can really only ever be a traitor to one’s self. If you truly believe in the cause of your nation’s enemy and you work to further that cause you will be considered a traitor. A true traitor, as I see it, would be someone who believes in the cause of her/his country but betrays that cause out of fear for personal safety or well-being, or for money, or because it becomes apparent that the rival will be victorious. The State will never apply such a subjective definition to the term.

When, unprovoked, the United States in the interest of westward expansion attacked Mexico there were U.S. soldiers who defected and fought along the Mexicans. They were known as the San Patricios (St. Patrick’s) because they were mostly comprised of Irish-Americans, many of whom were recent immigrants. They were U.S. citizens and soldiers in the U.S. army but they recognized that their country was wrong and they chose to fight on the side that was right. When any of the San Patricios were caught by the U.S. they were hanged as traitors- and, yes, they WERE guilty of treason. But I think this example illustrates what little significance the term “traitor” holds in a broader moral spectrum.

I’m gonna second Aldrich Aimes’s nomination.

Treason doth never prosper. What’s the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason.
- Sir John Harington (1561-1612)

George Washington, for depriving the good citizens of the US the joy of being British :stuck_out_tongue: