Diana West is still on the attack over my decision to remove a review from Frontpage that could be looked at as endorsement of her embarrassingly kooky book which has pulled the wool over a number of conservative eyes. Her attack which is published today on Breitbart.com accuses Ronald Radosh and me of trying to “suppress” her views because we are closet liberals and pro-communists.
It is a political truism that cover-ups often turn out worse for the guilty parties than the faults they seek to hide. So it is with Diana West’s campaign of slander against Ronald Radosh and myself because she is incapable of answering our criticisms of her poorly conceived, ill-informed, conspiracy mongering book.
She is incapable of responding to the specifics of our critique – her misrepresentation of the pro-Soviet Harry Hopkins as an actual Soviet spy, her preposterous claim that Lend-lease and D-Day were Soviet plots or that the decision shared by Winston Churchill to suppress the facts of the Katyn massacre was a Kremlin design. So she accuses us of a conspiracy to suppress her work because it challenges the “liberal consensus.” This is a consensus that denies the sorry history of Communist subversion, infiltration and malevolent anti-Americanism. According to West we decided to conduct “a scorched earth policy to preserve and protect the conventional narrative as promulgated by mainstream academia.”
If you are not already laughing, you should be. Radosh and I have collectively spent 50 years writing several million words and nearly twenty books attacking the liberal consensus, and exposing the anti-American agendas of radicals and Communists, specifically those who infiltrated and finally took over academia.
West has a revealing answer to such objections:
“‘But FrontPage is a conservative site,’ I can hear people say. This stopped me, too, at first. Then I realized that the books Radosh cites in his ‘take-down’–not to debate my ideas, but to impugn them–are written by academics from Yale, Harvard, and Stanford. That’s liberal academia.”
That’s her answer! Here we have West’s methodology – and the methodology of her book — on full display. Instead of actually dealing with the objection, she finds a liberal link she can use to link us to her conspiracy. As everybody knows a conservative academic’s lot in universities like Yale, Harvard and Stanford – not to mention Emory where Harvey Klehr is a professor – is embattled. But West does not even bother to characterize the actual views of the academics Radosh cites. For her, their mere association with institutions on which she can pin a label is sufficient to impugn their views and damn them as part of a liberal conspiracy against her. And that is the problem with her book. To believe it you’d have to believe that Churchill, Eisenhower, and the American General Staff were all Soviet agents or dupes, along with every conservative historian critical of West’s conclusions.
I did say that “Diana West should not have written this book,” but that was not because I wanted to suppress her views (I’ve actually given them more publicity than anyone) but because her book is an embarrassment to her and to every conservative misled by it. That was also the reason I removed Frontpage’s endorsement of her book (I did not suppress the Frontpage review as she falsely claims, but allowed it to appear elsewhere). She has now published an eBook called The Rebuttal with that quote on the cover and all her personal attacks on Radosh and me inside. The subtitle is this: “Defending American Betrayal From The Book Burners.” Book burners. And she still has the gall to call us calumniators.
In closing let me clarify something that seems generally misunderstood. There are a lot of facts in West’s book with which neither Radosh nor I have any quarrel. These pertain to the large numbers of Soviet sympathizers, and significant numbers of Soviet agents in Washington and Hollywood that West writes about. Our quarrel is with the unwarranted conclusion she draws from this, which is that American policy in World War II was run by the Kremlin. As Samuel Johnson once said of another writer’s work, what is true in Diana West’s American Betrayal is not original and what is original is not true.
Postscript: And BTW, West’s “rebuttals” are not rebuttals. Despite a Yale education, she doesn’t seem to know the meaning of the word. Here is one typical self-refuting example from her new book:
She argues that during the New Deal the United States was an occupied power, its government controlled by Kremlin agents who had infiltrated the Roosevelt administration and subverted it. (Emphasis added.)
3) FALSE: The phrase “the United States was an occupied power” does not appear in American Betrayal. This connotes a state of military occupation that is not under consideration.
FACT: I argue at length that the strategic placement of hundreds of agents of Stalin’s influence inside the US government and other institutions amounted to a “de facto occupation” (p. 114). Later (p. 193), I write: “The vast and deep extent of Communist penetration, heretofore denied, had in fact reached a tipping point to become a de facto Communist occupation of the American center of power.”
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