Rebuttal: The Summary

As reported here last night, Diana West has written a three-part rebuttal of Ronald Radosh’s review of her book American Betrayal. The first part was published yesterday at Breitbart. Part Two will be published either later tonight or tomorrow, and will also appear at Breitbart.

Below is a summary of the rebuttal written by Ms. West for Gates of Vienna.

Rebuttal: The Summary
By Diana West

What happens when calumnious charges appear against oneself and one’s new book, and an acid-hot controversy ensues? I have been told that I should thank my detractors for elevating my profile. Wise counsel told to me leave no rock or pebble unturned in rebuttal.

And so I haven’t.

Those charges against my book, American Betrayal, first appeared in a 7,000-word review at Frontpage Magazine. In response, I have completed a rebuttal of some 22,000 words; it is running this weekend in three parts at Breitbart.com.

The review — better described by its author, Ronald Radosh, as a “take-down” — sprouted a series of copycat pieces at Pajamas Media, The American Thinker, NRO and elsewhere.

Radosh himself wrote four more pieces about my book.

Frontpage Magazine editor and “free speech” activist David Horowitz (who pulled a positive, first review of American Betrayal off the Frontpage website) has now published three attacks himself. He went so far as to write: “She should not have written this book.”

When does anyone ever say that?

More amazing than anything, though, is that none of the people joining in this continuing two-minute-hate actually seemed to have read my book (two people admitted this in print). That might even include the reviewer Radosh.

In Radosh’s introduction alone — where cognates of “conspiracy” repeat ten times and “McCarthy” five — I identify and refute more than 20 falsehoods about myself and my book. (This is in Part One.) I have to wonder: Did he read the book? In Parts Two and Three, I lay out several Radosh modes of attack which repeat throughout the rest of the review, which is divided into five sections. I thoroughly dissect each section, highlighting literally dozens of erroneous charges:

  • Claims that are not in my book, and thus the oddest type of mistake or fabrication;
  • Distortions of what is in my book; and
  • Non-sequiturs that Radosh regards as “gotcha” moments but are indeed irrelevant to my book’s actual contents.

Along the way, I deal with all manner of personal smears that impugn my credibility as a writer by falsely charging that I consistently mishandle and even abuse evidence.

Indeed, after having to fend off these unjustified and unjustifiable attacks on my credibility, I found this recent public statement by David Horowitz of particular interest: “Well-designed attacks on an opponent’s credibility can overpower well-crafted messages.”

For readers who think 20,000-plus words sounds like more than they have time for — believe me, I understand — below are a few examples of what I am talking about.

The Review Pattern

1)   Call American Betrayal a conspiracy theory — repeatedly. Over and over again, Radosh describes my book as conspiracy theory. For example, he writes: “the conspiracy that West conjures…” “West’s conspiracy case…” “the heart of her conspiracy theory…”
 
2)   Exaggerate a fact as stated in American Betrayal and attack the exaggeration. For example, in American Betrayal, I examine the impact of Soviet agents of “influence” of the US policy-making chain. Radosh continually caricatures my careful discussions of “influence” into his own cartoon of “Soviet control,” or the “Soviet-controlled American government.”

Another example: I discuss documented shipments of three-quarters of a ton of uranium to the USSR during WWII. Radosh exaggerates this uranium into “the crucial material for the Atomic Bomb” for Stalin and then criticizes me for “[failing] to understand the nature of the unrefined uranium the Soviets actually received.” I never claim the Soviets received refined uranium. In other words, I am being criticized for something that is not in my book.
 

3)   Protect the conventional (read: liberal) narrative. Time and again, Radosh condemns me for not bowing to the conventional (read: liberal) narrative. What do I mean by conventional narrative? Histories that purport to tell the story of the 1930s, World War II and the Cold War without (or barely) considering or even acknowledging the influence that scores, even hundreds of Soviet agents of influence had on the US policy- and war-making chain. That describes just about every history book out there. Particularly after the post-USSR release of many KGB cables documenting the activities of American spies and agents of Soviet influence, this makes for historiography that is, to say the least, drastically incomplete. It also describes every book held up by Radosh as The Word.

Here’s how he does it. First, he summarizes, book-report-style, some conventional history book, whether the contents have to do with those of my book, or not. Then he labels the conventional narrative “definitive” or the conventional historian “pre-eminent.” Then he labels my arguments — which he has exaggerated, distorted or entirely invented — “conspiracy theory.” To make the false charges stick, he omit mention of my copious sources as listed in 944 endnotes. These notes reference a bibliography of Congressional investigations, State Department records, histories, memoirs, letters, newspapers, essays by Solzhenitsyn, Conquest, Koestler, Orwell, etc., that I have used to draw my non-conventional conclusions. He never mentions any of this, since it becomes impossible to acknowledge such sources and make any charges that I am a purveyor of “yellow journalism conspiracy theories” stick.
 

4)   Another Radosh pattern is to imagine or invent anecdotes, even large thematic arguments, that are not in my book. This deserves a category of its own.
 

Things That Are Not In My Book

1)   Radosh titles one section of his review, “The Issue of the Second Front.” At roughly 1,800 words, this section makes up 20 percent of his review. Get ready for this: The “second front” argument he criticizes me for making is not in my book. This, of course, invalidates a series of charges related to the Radish-invented argument that is not in my book. It also makes writing a rebuttal a surreal experience.
2)   Radosh claims American Betrayal depicts Churchill as a “Soviet dupe.” This is not in my book — nor does Radosh offer any supporting evidence that it is.
3)   Radosh claims I argued for “an entente with Hitler’s army against Stalin.” This is not in my book, either.
 

Then there are:

Things Radosh Says Should Be In My Book — And Are!

1)   He claims I ignore the book In Denial by John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr. In fact, I cite this book four times.
2)   He claims I ignore FDR’s cables to Stalin demanding access to our ex-POWs in Soviet-held territory. In fact, I write extensively about this exchange drawing from the actual cable traffic.
3)   Radosh actually implies that I plagiarized another book for my chapter about the German Underground. Not only is the charge outrageous, it is also impossible. In fact, the book in question covers the facts of the German Underground in about two sentences. My German chapter runs15,000 words and has 78 endnotes.
 

More Distortions

Another instance in which Radosh exaggerates a fact in American Betrayal and attacks the exaggeration: Regarding a 1998 academic paper that matched FDR’s top aide Harry Hopkins with the code-name “19” in a KGB cable, Radosh writes: “The identification of Hopkins as Agent 19 is the linchpin of West’s conspiracy case.” (There he goes again, repeating the word “conspiracy.”)

“The linchpin”? In fact, my discussion of this paper identifying Hopkins as “19” is limited to two pages of American Betrayal, which is a 403-page book! Harry Hopkins is mentioned on 107 pages. So much for “linchpin.”

Worst of all, though, Radosh calls all of my book’s arguments “groundless.”

It is a fact that there are 944-plus endnotes in American Betrayal, so it is inconceivable that my arguments could be characterized as “groundless.”

In fact, the only thing “groundless” here is Radosh’s review. But don’t take my word for it. Read my full rebuttal.

Even better, read American Betrayal and judge it for yourself.

Previous posts about the controversy over American Betrayal by Diana West:

2013   Aug   11   Diana West: On the Question of “Scholarship”
        13   Yet Another Circular Conservative Firing Squad
        14   Cordon Sanitaire: FAIL
        15   On Reading the Book
        16   Banishing the Cathars
        18   Form and Substance
        22   “It’s All in Plain Sight”
        30   When Should a Book Not Be Written?
    Sep   3   Recognizing the Wrong People
        6   The Totalitarian Impulse
        6   The Rebuttal: Part One
 

21 thoughts on “Rebuttal: The Summary

  1. Pingback: News links September 7 2013 – 5 | Vlad Tepes

  2. When one reads Diana West’s point-by-point refutation of Radosh, and sees that Radosh is repeatedly mischaracterizing her on elementary points of fact, and when one reads M. Standon Evans’ similar rebuttal of another Radosh review of his book back in 2008, and when one assumes that Radosh has not had brain damage due to an auto accident or a lobotomy, one can only conclude that he is deliberately and maliciously lying and obfuscating. Nothing else makes sense. Why would he be doing that? One good reason would be that he continues to be an International Communist agent, but successfully working undercover all these years; and that he has felt it necessary to risk his deep cover to behave in this flagrant way because he feels that what Diana West is doing is that dangerous to the Communist Revolutionary cause.

    If someone can present a better theory that takes into account the points I cited, I’m all ears.

    • Conspiracy theories are great fun, but the more likely explanation here is that Radosh simply couldnt stand the idea of an outsider (West) writing a book on a subject he considers his private territory.

      Radosh’s behaviour doesn’t strike me as the behaviour of an undercover agent, but rather as the behaviour of someone fighting a turf war. The Cats in my neighbourhood here in Denmark has screaming contests with regular intervals fighting over territory.

      It is important for West not to let herself be taken to that level.

      Radosh may very well have had some valid arguments, but then he should have set them forth. He did not, but chose instead to make it a screaming contest over intellectual territory.

      • That doesn’t explain why Radosh’s review was shot through with every logical fallacy in the book.

        Please, give me an explanation that factors in the facts — the facts of Radosh’s incredible seeming ineptness which Diana West has painstakingly demonstrated. The degree of seeming ineptitude does not compute with his intelligence. If he were a clinical moron, or if he had brain damage, then that would be an explanation. But he’s not a clinical moron, and he has not had brain damage. Your explanation is not adequate.

        • The problem here is that you think much too highly of professors and intellectuals.

          Your reasoning seems to be – someone who could write brilliant books on history and teach classes in a prestigious university cant possibly be this dumb and thus it must be by design.

          In my experience academic achievement has very little to do with wisdom, just as IQ has little to do with intelligence.

          I have met professors who were brilliant theoreticians, but who in all practical aspects were morons, and I have met people with high IQ’s whom I wouldnt trust to tie their own shoelaces.

          Short answer; Radosh’s academic achievements doesn’t mean he isn’t a human like the rest of us and of course he can make mistakes, lose his temper, be an idiot from time to time, etc. The sad thing here, is his inability to apologice and refrase his criticism.

          Too much pride i guess and maybe he, like you, believe in the idea of the infallabillity of professorship.

          For my own part I gave up on conspiracy theories a long time ago, because I realised first that the main reasons for bad things happening are human stupidity and secondly that if its a theory its unlikely to be a conspiracy. Conspiracies are usually conducted in the open. The conspiracy of the islamists to conquer the western world are such an obvious fact that are constantly stated openly by islamist organisations. I myself have had the chance to ask questions of a few socalled “moderate” imams and they dont deny it when asked in the right way. They admit it but in the same time they state their goals in a language that allows socialists and liberals to continue their selfdenial. Is there a conspiracy here? Yes, but its in the open and the same goes for pretty much all conspiracies. There is no ned for hiding, when the elites who rule our world are so eager to be fooled.

          What you have in this case is not a conspiracy but rather ideological blindness combined with academic turfguarding.

          • “Conspiracies are usually conducted in the open.” — Maybe this is partly a semantic issue, but I think what distinguishes a conspiracy from a plan is that the former is conducted in as much secrecy as possible so that an effective opposition cannot develop. It’s true that many Islamists announce their intent clearly, but meanwhile organizations like CAIR, ostensibly “moderate,” work more quietly toward a goal they don’t make fully public. And those who do announce their goals don’t expose all their means.

            Khrushchev emphatically announced “We will bury you,” but he didn’t expose all the means being employed. One means that Ion Pacepa has exposed is the vast Soviet machinery for spreading disinformation around the world and embedding falsehoods in the guise of fact in Western minds.

            The Communist Party has long had an open presence in the United States, but they also had (have?) an underground organization serving CP (i.e. Soviet) purposes in ways harder to detect and neutralize. One of those ways was (is?) seeding government offices and other institutions with CP loyalists who could influence policy in a direction favorable to the Soviet Union or the Marxist global agenda. Maybe some people did that out of their own ideological conviction; but there is no serious doubt anymore that some were taking directions within an orchestrated plan. That is a conspiracy.

            No serious scholar can deny anymore that a Soviet-backed conspiracy of influence-peddling was operating in the U.S. before, during & after WWII. The only real debate is over its extent and the numbers and identities of its players.

            When the term “conspiracy theory” is repeatedly flung at Ms. West as though merely uttering the word “conspiracy” were enough to paint her as a loon — “You believe in conspiracies? Really?!” — that’s an empty rhetorical trick. Yes, Virginia, conspiracies do exist.

          • Radegunda is right, that I didnt use the word “conspiracy” properly. What I meant whas that what we usually call conspiracies are often quite obvious for those with eyes to see. The problem isn’t primarily, that conspiracies cant easily be exposed, but that the people in general desperately wants to be lied to.

            That way Bat Yeor can be called a conspiracy theorist even though her claims about EU’s Eurabian plans are practically official EU politics and can be found out by any half decent journalist.

            As i see it, socialism is caused by civilizational faliure and that faliure is the reason we cant se what is right ahead of us. “Conspiracy” therefore is really just a wellcrafted, whereas conspiracy theories are usually designed in such a way, that they can never be proved. Thats sort of the point with a conspiracy theory.

            I dont think Diana West is creating a conspiracy theory, but I think Hesperado are doing exactly that in his claims about Radosh, and that he is doing West a disfavour in doing so.

          • Reply to Mackety 9:29 — Funny, isn’t it, that people will label others “conspiracy theorists” even when the plan is obvious — e.g. the Islamic agenda for the world. Or the Bolshevik global revolution. Or the Obamanoid “fundamental transformation.”

          • Oh, yes — I agree that West’s critics aren’t cooking up a conspiracy. They’re just a little — what’s the word — “unhinged.”

          • The turf that Radosh is guarding cannot be characterized as merely “academic”. And while the ideological blindness from which he suffers might be enough to explain his polemics, it does NOT explain why Horowitz and company have chosen to stake their own reputations on such an unhinged position by first promoting Radosh’s narrative and then going to such extraordinary lengths to defend it when it is clearly untenable.

            This is the key aspect of a “conspiracy”, when a number of individuals seem to be cooperating for reasons that they refuse to disclose openly. Radosh may be merely engaging in a bit of personal idiocy, which needs no further explanation. But the cooperation of a number of other prominent individuals is not adequately explained by their stated reasons. This suggests that their real reasons for staking their reputations on defending such an indefensible “review” are being withheld.

            Now, for there to be an actual conspiracy, those real reasons for coordinated action must be shared by secret communication among the actors. I am far from positive that this has taken place, but I believe it to be possible and likely. After all, the real motive for these attacks may be something that would not have been immediately obvious to all the individuals acting on that motive.

            I believe that Horowitz has realized that the revelations in Diana West’s book lead inevitably to the conclusion that the U.S. government is irretrievably illegitimate, that the degree of betrayal of American law and founding principles described creates an essential discontinuity in the legitimate authority of the government sufficient to ensure that it would have to be dissolved and reformed under completely fresh auspices to restore legitimacy. This does not seem to be immediately obvious to everyone that has read the book, and I doubt it could possibly be at all obvious to anyone that has not read it.

            This suggests to my mind that Horowitz has been in secret communication with others to organize a coherent plan of action with the goal of suppressing West’s book. I do not know what else to call this other than a conspiracy.

  3. I read David Horowitz answer to Diana Wests rebuttal. It was a sad experience and he strikes me as someone who are knowingly selfdestructing to protect the questionable “honor” of an illtempered friend (Ron Radosh).

    I am a dane and do not have much at stake here, but it seems to me, that one has to question Horowitz’s jugdment in this to him obviously quite personal matter.

    Radosh’s illtempered review of “american betrayal” should have been embarrasing to DH, but rather than admitting it, he chose intellectual dishonesty and thus committed intellectual suicide.

  4. Please forgive the cynic within me who suddenly asks, “Could it be that his is a contrived spat to up the sales of the Diana’s book and that they’re all getting a piece of the action? ”

    I’m more concerned about Clare Lopez getting canned from Gatestone for her excellent review. Now that’s a serious piece of damage.

  5. The firing of Lopez is possibly the most chilling aspect of the whole episode (so far). “Don’t you dare say anything positive about a book we’re trying to burn — or else.”

  6. Andrew Bostom describes a patriotic expert on the Soviet Union, Ivan D. Yeaton, during the same years when Harry Hopkins held FDR and others in his thrall on matters relating to American treatment of Stalin’s regime:

    “Ivan D. Yeaton, who served as a Lieutenant in the American Expeditionary Force, Siberia, from 1919-1920, and subsequently, U.S. military attaché, Moscow, between 1939-1941, was among the most experienced and knowledgeable U.S. officials on Soviet matters. Indeed, Yeaton was classified as a “Communist Specialist” by the World War II and Cold War-era Department of the Army during his tenure as a G-2 (Military Intelligence) officer.”

    Then Bostom quotes Yeaton’s experience on meeting Harry Hopkins and his entourage for the first time when Hopkins visited the Moscow embassy where Yeaton was stationed:

    “The Harry Hopkins mission to Moscow in July of 1941 gave me the greatest professional shock of my entire career. Within hours after the arrival of Presidential Adviser Hopkins, I sensed that I was in trouble. Members of his mission, with one exception, ignored and avoided me whenever possible. It was as if a Mafia had met, and a “contract” had been put out on me.

    “When I realized that it was my observations, analyses, and conclusions, which I had forwarded through official channels to the Army chief of intelligence in Washington, that had caused both the British and the White House to blackball me, my first shock and bewilderment turned to anger. How could a series of reports, considered excellent by my military superiors [Note: Appendices 2 and 3 of the Memoirs contain War Department evaluations of Yeaton by his commanders, which document, repeatedly, the “superior value” of his work as an intelligence officer, which was “enthusiastically carried out.”], cause such a different reaction in the White House? I was determined to find out, and the results of my investigation are the basis for this manuscript. ”

    The Hopkins treatment of Yeaton sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Plus ça change…

    http://www.andrewbostom.org/blog/2013/08/24/when-harry-met-ivan-and-they-disagreed-over-joestalin/

  7. After reading the latest from Horowitz I am so disappointed with him. Of what are these people so afraid? Or is he circling the wagons to protect a friend? I wonder if he has even read the book.

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  9. I wonder if this is not the inevitable sorting of the goats from the sheep prior to a needed action. In Biblical terms it would be a judgment of some type. Here it appears to be a cleansing of the conservative movement. If it is intellectual dishonesty and cronyism on the part of Radosh and Horowitz, then it is better it be exposed so we understand their limitations. If it is something more sinister, all the more reason it be given the light of day. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. Ms. West seems to have bested them at all levels at this point.

    • I agree. I want to know where everyone stands. Ever since many on the right have by and large decided they were going to stand with the pathological liars against the “birthers”, i’ve been keen on knowing just where they all stand on everything, No more hiding.

  10. My $0.02:
    So, what’s really going on here?
    I think that we’re forgetting that West’s intention was FIRST to expose/explain/describe the penetration of our PRESENT intelligensia/MSM/administration by the Islamics of the Muslim Brotherhood. This process is very well financed indeed–by middle eastern oil interests of varied countries and factions.
    In order to do this, West first had to describe the previous penetrations that go back generations and are both Communist and Totalitarian in nature. What is significant here is the intellectual mindset for the deals/compromises that had to be made. Without this kind of background, it is hard to make the case for the Islamic penetration of the present day.
    West’s book, therefore, is really the foundation for the presentation that has YET TO BE MADE.
    Horowitz, Radosh et al. are springing to the attack as a pre-emptive strike against the anti-Islamic arguement/book that has not yet been written. Silence her, leave this book unread/unexamined and the task has been done.
    It is my hope that by bringing attention to her work, they are doing quite the opposite.

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