Yet Another Circular Conservative Firing Squad

The controversy over Diana West’s book American Betrayal continues at a rolling boil within certain sectors of the conservative ghetto on the Internet.

Before laying out the latest details, I’d like to consider the larger principle at stake here. The issue is not what is written in Ms. West’s book, nor does it concern who is right or wrong among those who have weighed in on the book.

The most important — and puzzling — aspect of this episode is the eagerness of people to stake out a public position about American Betrayal without having read the book. It is nothing short of astonishing that respected writers and scholars should be willing to state a definitive opinion about a book they haven’t read. How is it that so many well-educated people could be so lacking in intellectual integrity?

So, when I post about the current imbroglio, I must emphasize that I have no opinion about the book, since I have not read it. I do, however, have an opinion about people who state their firm opinions about a book they have not read.

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The latest prominent venue to publish an article about American Betrayal was the New English Review, which posted excerpts from Ronald Radosh’s original review yesterday, accompanied by supportive remarks from NER’s editor-in-chief, Rebecca Bynum.

Reader comments accompanying all of the reviews and articles attacking Diana West have been overwhelmingly negative about her detractors, and the comments on Ms. Bynum’s post were no exception. One commenter had some especially thoughtful points to make in response, based largely on the article “FDR’s Traitor?” by Dr. Andrew Bostom that was posted yesterday at American Thinker:

Rebecca, you owe it to yourself and your readers to read the book — don’t let Radosh et al tell you what to think. It’s now deeply discounted at

Note what Geert Wilders reportedly took for some light reading on summer vacation.

The NER has a stellar reputation for integrity. Why not read the book and then do your own review on it?

Here’s a review by an expert on the subject, Bernie Reeves at AT. Worth your time. Bernie Reeves, a magazine editor and publisher, is founder of the Raleigh Spy Conference, established in 2003 to interpret declassified information from the 1930s through the Cold War.

Don’t miss the author Diana West’s many ripostes to Radosh here.

Please also note the sad problem of Radosh’s factual errors (including his mistakes in correcting a first set of errors). He gets the book wrong (I mean he literally mixes the book up with another book apparently). At 75 there can be — not always, but we’ve all seen it in relatives or friends or colleagues — a decline in cognitive functioning, and Radosh’s rage and paranoia about Diana West and American Betrayal fits that profile as well. See here (“Today, what I consider one of the most important review articles I have written is available on It is about Diana West’s horrendous and yet popular book, American Betrayal, which to my mind is not only the single worst book I have ever read, but a “conservative” assault on history, the truth and intellectual integrity.”)

Seriously, Rebecca, how can you NOT read a book that is “the single worst book” that Radosh ever read, especially since he spent decades reading communist tracts before he become a recovering former communist? Aren’t you even a wee bit curious? That’s some bad book.

One last thing — the whole Source 19 controversy. Since you haven’t yet read the book — but you will, right? — this may be a bit obscure, but bear with me. It’s not the centerpiece of West’s argument, but it’s the centerpiece of Radosh’s argument against West. She says Edouard Mark identified in 1998 that source 19 was Harry Hopkins. Radosh grants her this point, but then notes that in 2009, Mark presented a paper (In Re Alger Hiss — A Final Verdict from the Archives of the KGB) in which (and this is my research, not what Radosh says which is much briefer), on page 33, Mark quoted Vassiliev’s notes referring to Boris Bazarov’s letter in 1936 mentioning a “19” which was annotated much later by John Haynes as referring to Laurence Duggan, not Harry Hopkins. (Why yes, it is like a passage from Nabokov passed through a processor designed by Borges, but hang in there). So Radosh’s annotation by John Haynes in the Mark paper from 2009 was more recent than West’s 1998 Edouard Mark reference — so the point goes to Radosh. But it turns out that Herbert Romerstein, a leading historian of the era (author of “The Venona Secrets”), in November 2012 published with Stan Evans “Stalin’s Secret Agents.” See pages 113-199 for a lengthy discussion of the “19” question — from 1943 — in which the authors citing numerous sources conclude that “19” was Harry Hopkins. Who knows, maybe they recycled numbers. Maybe it’s an open question still. Serious and cognitively capable people can take different positions and keep analyzing the evidence and agree to disagree. Sadly, not Radosh.

So at least — if these were fact-based discussions by Radosh et al, in the same way that American Betrayal is a well-sourced, fact-based work (900+ footnotes) — at least that 2012 discussion of “19” would be a point to Diana West in this match, no?

At least it could have been an interesting debate, and civil? And not this awful leftwing tradition of denunciation and disinformation to which Radosh reverts.

Give it a shot. Read the book. I would be very interested in reading one of your thoughtful essays, especially after all the facts have emerged through Diana’s posts.

Look for some good writing on this coming soon from Europe too.

Ms. Bynum responded to this comment, and others:

Thank you all for your thoughtful comments. It still appears to me that West has charged into US history in a way that is very reckless. I know enough about that period to state unequivocally that NER Press would never have published a book like that. If I were to review it, my review would be similar to Radosh’s, but without his clear expertise on the Cold War. I’m more familiar with the war years and FDR.

I wish Diana luck, but I cannot agree with her about Hopkins, FDR or what should have been in the aftermath of the war.

A reader who followed the exchange was amazed by what he read at the New English Review, and emailed us with his observations:

Without reading the book, and as a book publisher herself — how can she make any of these comments? She knows in advance that her review would be similar to Radosh’s without having read the book? Isn’t this the very picture of an imposed politically correct party line? That she is saying, publicly, she will have no thoughts other than Radosh’s, but that his are by definition superior to hers?

Confronted with sins small and large, it is always a temptation to despair. And yet Diana is winning with the commenters — readers both ordinary and expert in the field — and their comments have been courageous, truth-seeking, brimming with good fellowship. Even better, so many keep telling her to keep her chin up, etc.

What an extraordinary stage this has set for so many to engage with morality, ethics, personal integrity, their own place in history.

How affirming this is for the power of the written word.

The near-universal condemnation of Diana West’s conclusions by prominent conservative writers stands in stark contrast with the sentiment of commenters on these writers’ sites, which are overwhelmingly in favor of Ms. West’s position and against the lockstep — and often personal — attacks on her.

It’s too early to make a judgment about what lies behind this deep divide, or why so many well-educated people are so hasty in their condemnation of a book they acknowledge not having read.

I don’t understand it. It’s peculiar, perplexing, and dismaying. It represents a widespread abandonment of academic standards among scholarly critics who should know better.

It makes no sense.

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A Gates of Vienna reader who has read excerpts from Ms. West’s book, and has extensive knowledge on the topic she addresses, left the following informative comment yesterday:

This is indeed a mystifying stoush and quite unnecessary. There must be some personal dimension to it, as it is not a neo-con vs paleo-con thing. The titles of Radosh’s reviews “McCarthyism on Steroids” and others, worse in their ad hominem nature, are distressing. His possible motivations perplex me. Trashing West to gain additional credibility as a snow-pure historian? It is a target-rich environment out there for conservatives, they shouldn’t be engaged in circular firing squads.

Yes, Radosh is right about the uranium shipped to the USSR under Lend Lease: too little of the right isotope to be useful for bomb-making, and in any event Radosh was right; the Soviets copied the plutonium not the uranium bomb. And had been busy doing so since no later than mid 1943. But this error, or rather over-emphasis, by West derogates little from a very compelling thesis.

I have only read West’s five excerpts and, regarding myself as highly informed in the areas covered, I was shocked to learn of Eisenhower’s assessment of Italy’s Po Valley being a key strategic goal for the prosecution of the war — an assessment that I first learned of from West. I have been acutely aware for decades that there was a long term battle between Churchill and Roosevelt over concentration of resources on the Mediterranean Front — exploiting the Ljubljana Gap, after a leap-frogging amphibious landing in the northern Adriatic, e.g. Istria, to get to Vienna first was Churchill’s dream — vis-à-vis opening up another front in Western Europe and Churchill was “overruled” in this by Roosevelt. I had always understood that it was the US Navy that didn’t want to devote the ships to that Adriatic exercise — preferring concentration in the Pacific theatre that — that was the tipping factor. Even when Churchill resuscitated it in early 1945. West plausibly makes a different case. Despite a deep familiarity with the sterling works of John Haynes and Harvey Klehr, I was unaware of Franz Neumann and his role.

One would have to be naive in the extreme to not accept it was in the Soviets’ interests that there be a Western Europe operation of the Normandy kind instead of a single concentrated Anglo-American effort from the South which could have readily seen the Anglo-Americans in Vienna and Budapest (and Marseilles and Lyon) before the Soviets had taken Warsaw.

Why West’s prima facie worthwhile book has attracted such venomous denunciation from a conservative historian is beyond me. I can understand, but would not necessarily endorse, why Radosh would take issue with Buchanan’s The Unnecessary War, but West’s work?

Painful as it is to recognise: Britain and the US got duped by the Soviet Union. Radosh is entirely correct that Lend Lease to the Soviet Union served Western interests by keeping the Soviets in the fight in 1942-1943 and ensuring that they kept the upper hand through the course of 1944. After the Soviets stalled, to put it politely, outside Warsaw so that the Germans could crush the indigenous Polish (and, overwhelmingly, anti-Soviet) uprising, however, the Anglo-Americans should have wised up to Soviet strategic intentions and Lend Lease should have been cut, suspended or ended. West makes apparently a good case for why this did not happen.

Many Britons (my grandfather served as an RAF Flight Lieutenant in North Africa and Italy) and Americans suffered for this folly, many with their lives. Not to mention the tens of millions of central Europeans including, dare I say it, Germans, who either lost their lives through the prolongation of the war to serve Soviet interests or suffered the decades of misery of Soviet domination.

West’s work goes part of the way to answering the conundrum as to how Roosevelt, a savvy arch-intriguer par excellence, could have been so stupendously naïve regarding Stalin. Having an inner circle of advisors such as Harry Hopkins (so he wasn’t Agent 19, but he was so important that maybe he wasn’t given a number or pseudonym by the Soviets), Duggan, Dexter White, etc, etc — explains a great deal.

When William C. Bullitt, a former US ambassador to the Soviet Union and because of it a die-hard anti-Soviet crusader by 1939, urged upon Roosevelt a more hard-headed attitude towards Stalin, he was rebuffed and, more disturbingly, his political career destroyed with a vengeance. Roosevelt opined to Bullitt that he would give “Uncle Joe” everything he asked for and when the time came “Uncle Joe” would reciprocate kindly and acquiesce to American requests. Bullitt asked Roosevelt why did he imagine that Stalin would behave in such a way: you give him something for nothing and just he’ll think you a gull. Roosevelt responded “Noblesse oblige!” Bullitt sputtered “Noblesse oblige?! We’re not talking about the Duke of Northumberland* here; we’re taking about a Caucasian bandit!!” Roosevelt never spoke to him again. My money would be on Roosevelt’s Hopkinesque advisers playing a big role in both Roosevelt’s misplaced faith and subsequent treatment of Bullitt.

Julius O’Malley
Sydney Australia

* Actual duke cited only from memory. And unimportant to the point.

52 thoughts on “Yet Another Circular Conservative Firing Squad

  1. Ah, Julius O’Malley, I bless the womb that bore thee and the fine intellect and study you have brought here to dispel the fog of internecine warfare.

    This imbroglio proves to me that my avoidance of any serious study of America in the post-war period was purely self-protection. I had a visceral understanding of the dangers inherent in looking too deeply into the “settled consensus” about shibboleths like Joe McCarthy and John Birch.

    Thus my admiration of Diana West is even more profound than it was prior to this. Her father was a conservative writer in Hollywood; she no doubt has first-hand knowledge of what those who step out of line endure. Even if the line drawn in the sand is part of the Big Lie, don’t cross over. Not unless you are so huge, so influential as to be untouchable – as was the case when David Mamet went rogue:

    The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture

    This whole ugly episode has made me increasingly queasy. When the vicious personal attacks started, I was reminded of the biblical story, “Susannah and the Elders”. Those old men were exemplars of a very primitive lust and envy disguised as the community’s ‘need’ to insure seemly behavior. Susannah was to be sacrificed to their base instincts in order to preserve a greater good.

    If I remember correctly, Diana West didn’t set out to write about this particular part of our history. By several degrees of separation, I followed from a distance her original intent – an investigation into our governmental ‘works’ following 9/11. As any author knows, the facts can lead you where you’d rather not go. But facts are stubborn things and once on the trail…well, there you are in the thickets of intrigue and dissembling. At one point I remember her concern that what she was uncovering was extremely painful.

    So maybe she learned that old adage, “the truth shall make you free…but first it may make you miserable”. And if the truth is hard, so are the consequences. Being an iconoclast ought to include hazardous duty pay.

    Long term, what Radosh has been permitted to do by David Horowitz – and it is only through the agency of DH that Radosh has a microphone – will prove destructive to conservatives in general. We are already so riven by factions and frictions that Radosh’s determination and David Horowitz’ power may prove the undoing of our larger cause.

    This hideously deformed creature, fathered by old men’s buried dreams and born out of season, will prove to have a very long tail down the years. Half-scorpion, half hyena, it will kill off the aspirations of younger men who might have been willing to enter the lists as honorable contenders.

    Poor Diana. The Kings of the Hill will not stop until she is silenced and shunned. And yet they claim not to be Leftists??

    • Thank you for your kind words. My late mother would have been touched to read them.

    • It’s quite true, and quite pertinent to the debate, that Diana West did not set out to write the book she did, but one addressing a different topic, set in another era. In other words, she did not begin with an agenda; it might be more accurate to say the agenda found her. But her critics, or some of them, seem to be operating on the (false) assumption that she contorted all the evidence to fit into a preconceived plan.

  2. So what this indicates is that the establishment Republicans have learned very well from the Democrats.

  3. “Yes, Radosh is right about the uranium shipped to the USSR under Lend Lease: too little of the right isotope to be useful for bomb-making, and in any event Radosh was right; the Soviets copied the plutonium not the uranium bomb. And had been busy doing so since no later than mid 1943.”

    Perhaps we need a nuclear physicist or nuclear engineer to weigh in here. But according to my understanding the above is inaccurate. Plutonium is made from a mixture of all the isotopes, most of which is will be U238 which of course is NOT the radioactive isotope. All three main isotopes (including the small amount of the radioactive isotope in the mix) are put in a reactor (container) lined with graphite blocks or some other substance which will slow down neutron particles. The the isotope mix is bombarded with neutrons. This process produces plutonium which is a man-made radioactive element.

    The point is, the Soviets would not have to have a large amount of the radioactive uranium isotope in order to make a plutonium bomb. That is one of the advantages of the plutonium bomb!

    Therefore, the point does not go to Radosh. It goes to Diana West.

    I read about this process in an encyclopedia at least 30 years ago! It was surely known to the Soviets!

    • Again, let me reply to my own post and emphasize:

      Radosh was wrong about this point! The Soviets did not need large amounts of the radioactive uranium isotope in order to manufacture plutonium.

      Even the sympathetic (to West) Gov poster is wrong about this point.

      And even if Radosh were 1o0% right about every point, his behavior (the vituperative name-calling) is inexcusable.

    • My knowledge of U238, U239, U235 is extremely limited and how one makes plutonium I have even less idea. I was trying to be fair to Radosh.

      In any event I have since learned that the restrictions General Leslie Groves imposed on American uranium going to the USSR under Lend Lease were bypassed by sending them Canadian uranium. So Radosh’s rebuttal of West is (further) undermined.

      It was a huge priority in May 1945 for Beria (Soviet Atomic Program Supremo was one of his hats) to get hold of the uranium mines of western Saxony and those on the Czech side of the border to feed the Soviet nuclear program.

      • The point about the isotopes is valid, but without more detailed information on the exact amounts transferred I cannot weigh in and award the point to either side. A plutonium breeder reactor does require some degree of enrichment, though it would certainly not require the same amount of U-235 that could be used to make bombs directly from weapons-grade Uranium. So depending on exactly how much reactor grade Uranium could be made from what was transferred under Lend Lease, the point could go either way, though I suspect any amount would at least accelerate the Soviet effort to build a bomb even if it wasn’t totally sufficient for their entire program.

        I hesitate to speak to Radosh’s motives in this simply because I cannot think of anything to say that would not require a very deep apology if I turned out to be wrong. But it would appear that confidence in his ability to contribute meaningfully to this particular debate is not justified. I do not wish to say more at this particular time, it may be that the question will be resolved by other means soon enough. It is of course a sad thing, in any case.

        • Your contribution is most welcome. Like many conservatives I am always happy to learn and be politely corrected. Has anyone here noticed the utter incapacity of Leftards to be corrected when wrong? Ever. No matter how gently one goes about it? I recently had an Egyptian Copt (an ethno-religious group whose plight I am deeply sympathetic to) deliver a narrative of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War which was just surreal. The most distressing thing was that he was Australian-born, an architect, of some intelligence and very little malice, but he’d swallowed the USA as the “Great Satan” in world affairs pill as a teenager. And there is no antidote to it. I stopped trying to engage with him when, after he asserted that the USA had toppled the Allende government in Chile in order to get “Chile’s oil”, and I replied quietly that Chile’s relevant resource was copper not oil, he ploughed on undaunted. It was not unlike telling a man who believes he has uterine cancer that he is mistaken.

        • The notion that the atomic bomb project was severaly compromised is a fact. As I have no knowledge about this subject, all I can do is work with the information by the likes of Klehr and Haynes. The following excerpt is based on venona decodings, FBI records and russia archives, they were also corroborated by Mitrokhin.

          Theodore Hall, who directly after graduating at Harvard was recruited at Los Alamos.

          “Among the many reports he delivered to the soviets were descriptions of the implosion detonation system for the plutonium bomb and methods developed to separate the needed uranium u-235 from the unneeded u-238”

          P78, “In denial”by Klehr and Haynes, discussing “bombshell” by Kunstel &Albright.

          It is clear the soviets received a lot more assisstance then the shipments of nuclear material alone.

  4. “Lend Lease to the Soviet Union served Western interests by keeping the Soviets in the fight in 1942-1943”

    But why should the west concern itself whether the Soviets would continue to fight the Germans? Of course they would have – lend lease or no: Hitler invaded Russia to dethrone Stalin and make Russia his fiefdom; was it in any way feasible that Stalin would have allowed his rival to trump him, and walk away with the key to mother Russia under his belt?

    • The Soviets had logistics problems due to the upheaval of the revolution and incessant infighting of The Party and then Uncle Joe’s mismanagement and increasing paranoia that destroyed capable people… not to mention the endemic corruption of the bureaucracy.

      The Soviets could not continue to fight the Germans effectively, or at least well enough to keep them distracted, without supplies from the West.

      This is why it was in Allie’s interest to supply the Soviets.

  5. My two cents opinion: I think Diana West is a responsible person. She does not say things at random. She takes up things in a serious manner and has a penetrating mind, that feels and fathoms the innermost sentiments of human feelings and source of behaviour. Is her book too discerning for a population that wants to see things superficially in an infantile way? Could that be the problem? That’s how people become under “democracies” : sheeple.

    • Bingo.

      That’s at least part of it. For a culture degraded by infotainment, obsessed and diverted by professional “sports, and unable to pay attention, Diana’s book might as well be written in Greek.

      But the ‘serious scholars’ and the intellectual conservative-lite can’t bear public conflict. They’re too well paid to risk saying anything that doesn’t comport with what their overseers think.

      They’ve already surrendered at least one testicle to stay in business. Eventually they’ll be called on to surrender the other, but meanwhile they have an audience to impress.

      Perhaps in the interim organ regrowth technology will have advanced enough that they can pay to have a pair re-seeded, a pair to keep for show. So what if they’re sterile? Who’s to know?

  6. Not long ago, we were entertained by the Swedish “Spitting Professor”.

    When I see that kind of aggressive language – and it’s unfortunately very common among all types of reviews – I stop reading. I don’t waste my time on spitters.

    It looks like you have your own “Spitting Professor”. The need of spitting seems to be international.

  7. The reason the West concerned itself with assisting the USSR in fighting the Germans was because the USSR was losing. Even with the most ferocious disciplinary regimes imaginable (military and labor) terrorizing the starving populace and brutalized soldiery the USSR could not have withstood Germany without Lend Lease aid. After July 1942 the Red Army marched on Lend Lease boots, in Lend Lease overcoats and sustained itself on Spam and tinned beef. The encirclement of Stalingrad in October 42 was only possible because of scores of thousands of American trucks had come on stream mechanizing the Red Army. 50% of the aluminium used in the Soviet aero industry came from Lend Lease. Until Lend Lease supplies arrived Soviet tank formations used flags to signal to each other because the tanks had no radios to communicate. The Red Army was otherwise self-sufficient in tank production and some categories of armaments, but that was about it.

    On the web one can find a full list – the typed records – of the cornucopia of goods and the quantities of them supplied under Lend Lease: the variety, volume and value of war materiel and much else is truly staggering.

    Even as late as July 1943 when Kursk took place, there weren’t food shortages: there was a civilian famine in the Soviet Union. Even with Lend Lease mechanization, in 1943 near the Sea of Azov, German intelligence reported (in horror and disbelief) that Soviet artillery units were being supplied with ammunition by women crawling miles through swamps with a single shell strapped to their backs.

    Whether one thinks it was a good idea to help the USSR is another issue. Contemplate a scenario where the USSR is knocked out of the war in July-September 1942 and the Anglo-Americans fought it out alone in North Africa with the Germans from then onwards. It would have been slower and bloodier for the Western Allies. They may have still been fighting in Sicily in August 1945, but the availability of the atomic bomb would have brought Germany (one bomb on the Ruhr, another on Upper Silesia and the industrial capacity – steel making – of Germany to wage war would have been ended) to defeat by the end of 1945 at the very latest.

    • Maybe the reason FDR’s Administration was Pro Soviet Stalin due to US Bolsheviks preference in helping the kindred Soviet Bolsheviks. After all the US financed their revolution against the Czar!

  8. Ooops! I stepped in here by accident, thinking that I would find a discussion of the takeover of the Earth by radical Islam. Silly me! (But if you want to debate the justice/injustice of banning Shoeless Joe from the Hall of Fame forever, I’m up for it!)

  9. Really, this is just a secret ploy to sell copies of the book and make sure it gets read more widely…

    Sorry, just had to say it 😉 Although in reality its working, Im ordering a copy right now.

  10. There is no meaningful discussion of the threat of Koranic Islam absent consideration of the causes of the West’s suicidal impulses to destroy their own cultures and people. West’s analysis and publication of newly revealed and declassified historical sources pertaining to the origins of the move to emasculate and undermine the foundational institutions and values of the West is of immense import to anyone that has a real interest in resisting Jihad.

    • Indeed. West’s original question was along the lines of: Why is our country (and civilization) today capitulating to those who aim to destroy it, and punishing those who call attention to the danger? And she found the same syndrome in play several decades ago. Moreover, the two destructive forces are working together in many arenas, including the White House.

    • Indeed, the Suicide of the West is actually the real story; a culture with confidence and belief in itself would find as little trouble as did Kitchener at Omdurman.

    • THANK you, Chiu, for that ESSENTIAL insight into this mess. Indeed, West’s work fills in the enormous gap that lies between our current insanely naive fantasies about co-existence with Islam and the former sense of Western self-confidence and cultural trajectory. What Diana West deals with is the means by which we went from that former life to the current suicidal one. It is essential material for anyone trying to understand (and then alter) the cultural rot to which we are being subjected.

  11. I have only just started reading Diana West’s book so what I write now may not be exactly what I will think once I am finished. However, I am already finding the criticisms of book surprisingly (well, actually not surprising at all) off topic. The basics thesis of the book, as is made abundantly clear in the introduction, is about the corrupting influence of Soviet penetration of the major institutions of the West, in particular the government and other institutions of the United States. Her point is that at some point the penetration becomes so great that the policy makers must indulge in self-deception in order to admitting their own failures to stop the corruption. Eventually, self-deception becomes so ingrained that the policy makers’ abilities to rationally or even moderately objectively look at the world are, in effect, short-circuited. She even uses the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes to make her point. It is not simply that no one dares to admit that the Emperor has no clothes. Rational thinking has degenerated to the point, that the policy makers in their minds really do see the clothes. Diana West even says something I had been saying to nearly everyone I trained at work since at least the late 1980’s that in the real world the child who cries out “The Emperor is naked” is punished or at least given re-education. These arguments about whether this or that fact is 100% correct or slightly off or whatever misses the point of her argument. She only needs to prove that there was enough Soviet penetration to corrupt the system and especially the thinking of the players in the system. It is quite proper to correct any and all errors, great and small; but we should also not lose sight of the intent of the book.

    I worked in military intelligence within the Department of Defense for nearly 33 years as a collector and as an analyst going all the way back to service in Vietnam (another war we lost for no good reason). I find reading this book difficult, not because I think it is a bad book; but because after reading even a few sentences, my mind strays to so many things that I experienced or learned that confirm her thesis and I become so angry that I put the book down and rage “at the gods,” sometimes for an hour or two. It was during one of these rages that I decided to write this comment and share with your readers a couple of incidents that might have some bearing on Diana West’s thesis. While some of this is may not be common knowledge, I can assure you that none of this will in anyway disclose classified information. These are just things that I have experienced or picked up in a career in which I took my oath of office to defend the Constitution against “all enemies foreign or domestic” very seriously.

    I have not reached the point where West discusses the career of Harry Dexter White. White was not a member of the Communist Party, but he was a Soviet spy while he was either Assistant Secretary of the Treasury or Deputy Secretary of the Treasury. (I am writing this comment “off the top of my head”; and so where I am not certain of the details, I will try to avoid error by using wording that indicates that uncertainty.) Perhaps West mentions these two interesting events. First is the Morgenthau plan. Morgenthau was Treasury Secretary and is credited with the plan, which proposed that Germany should be completely de-industrialized, i.e. reduced to an agricultural country, and divided into, I believe, 5 independent countries. While the plan carries Morgenthau’s name, it is not at all clear how and who originated the plan and how the plan was developed. What is clear, however, is that the one country that would gain most from a strategic viewpoint from this plan was the Soviet Union. For centuries, Russia had been held back from expanding her influence in East Central Europe by first the Austro-Hungarian Empire and then a united Germany. The defeat of Austria in WWI eliminated the traditional obstacle to Russian expansion. The Morgenthau Plan would have permanently eliminated Germany. As it was, the Morgenthau Plan would have undermined any anti-Hitler, anti-Nazi resistance movement since the very existence of the German state, as opposed to its mere defeat and occupation, was now at stake. I cannot state for certain that the Morgenthau plan was the brain-child of White, but he was positioned to influence its content. I also find it very interesting that such a strategic plan would originate from the Treasury Department, rather than State or Army.

    The second incident can definitely be traced back to White. At the end of WWII the U.S. allocated a large sum of gold to be shipped to China to stabilize the currency there. The man in charge of overseeing the shipment–Harry Dexter White. Somehow, the gold was never shipped. Chinese currency had been inflated during the war, and prices skyrocketed. Chinese inflation rivaled that of the Weimar Republic. While one may argue (very weakly in my opinion) that the inflation did not benefit the Mao’s forces, there can be no doubt that it undermined Chiang Kai-Shek’s government. The inflation issue even came up in a Chinese history or government class I took in about 1990, when inflation was becoming a problem in China. The professor, hardly a right-winger, flat out stated that the Communist Chinese government was in 1990 terrified of a new inflation since they had come to power on the failure of the Republic’s money.

    I read someplace that at one point in his career Alger Hiss turned down the offer to be the number 2 man at the State Department. Instead he took the job of Assistant Secretary for Administration (or whatever the exact title of the job was at the time). Why take the unglamorous job? How did Stalin come to power? His rivals had the glamorous jobs, the “powerful” jobs. Stalin was essentially only the top bureaucrat within the Communist Party. It took him about 10 years; but when he decided to move on his rivals, his people were in all the right places. Am I saying that Alger Hiss was putting Communists into all the right places in the State Department? He surely protected several Communists. That was bad of course, but let’s return to Diana West’s thesis. He was in position to promote people with the “right understanding” of the Soviet Union. People who understood that “Yes, they are Communist, but [fill in the blank].” People who are sophisticated. People who know how the world really works. You know the type. Lenin called them “useful idiots.” Spies can be purged. Bureaucrats are forever (or as close to forever as is possible on Earth). The useful idiocracy then develops an incestuous relationship with academia. This means that the effects of Alger Hiss are with us even now.

    In the late 1970s or very early 1980s I took a class at the Defense Intelligence School (or it might have become the Defense Intelligence College at the time). The title of the class was Soviet Intelligence and Security Services. Even though the instructor has long since passed on, I will not mention his name because that might still be something sensitive even now. Let me just call him “Mr. Smith.” Mr. Smith had been very high in the counter-intelligence of America. In fact he had been very close to James Angleton, a legend in counter-intelligence. His was one of the most remarkable classes I have ever had. To say it was eye-opening would be the crudest of understatements. It was one of the few classes I have ever had (and I have spent years and years in the classroom on both sides of the desk) in which every session was like a semester in any other class. On the first day of class he pointed something out about academia. It is that Diana West thesis again. He asked us how many schools offering a Ph.D. in Soviet Studies requires a course on the KGB. Answer at that time — zero, nada, null, zilch. How many schools offered a regularly scheduled course on the KGB as an elective? Not a course each semester or even each year. Just something regular enough so that a Ph.D. student could at least study the KGB in the classroom once before completing the degree. Answer at that time — zero, nada, null, zilch. Now in the late 70s most professors would have agreed that the Soviet Union was at least something like a police state. Yet even with a Ph.D. in Soviet Studies, these so-called experts in the Soviet Union had never even studied the police organization of the police state. I look back on my degrees in Political Science and International Relations, and I just shake my head at how utterly naive and uniformed the vast majority of my professors had been. They really did not understand what the Soviet Union was all about. One of the reasons I retired was that I was tired of working with all the “best and brightest” that were coming into my profession. There is no one quite so stupid as a high IQ, over-credentialed fool.

    Another story from that class, if I may. Mr. Smith knew many people in world outside the intelligence profession, in particular many authors. Herbert Romerstein is (or perhaps now was) the author of many books on the Soviet threat, and he was with us for a couple of class sessions. One incident he discussed has always stayed with me. There may be some of your readers who remember the “Days of Rage” at the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention. One of the more notable accomplishments of those days was the trial of the Chicago Seven, radicals who were put on trial for their activities in Chicago. The trial was particularly notable (back to that old thesis thing again) because it was one of the turning points in American jurisprudence. The trial became a joke, lawlessness and subversion was trivialized. For those who remember the Days of Rage, have you ever wondered how that many “students” managed to get to Chicago? Who organized their lodging? Who organized their transportation? What about their meals? Who paid for all this? The answer–the Communist Party of the USA. Mr. Romerstein told us that he had a conversation with one of the Chicago Seven some years after the Convention. I don’t remember which one, let’s call him Chicago 3. In the conversation, Chicago 3 said (as best I can remember), “Boy, did we use the Communists!! They did all the work and paid for everything, and we got all the glory.” Romerstein replied, “No, Chicago 3, the Communists used you.” Useful idiots come in all shapes and sizes.

    Final story from that class. One of the students during a session on the McCarthy era asked how many agents had actually infiltrated the American government. “Was it 100s, a thousand?” Mr. Smith’s reply, “Goodness no.” (Again, not actual quotations. Just trying to reproduce the meaning of the conversation.) “Well then, how many? 50?” “Not more than a couple dozen. Fifty would be a disaster.” Remember, this is a class in which every student has the clearances to discuss this topic at all but the most compartmented of levels. Certainly, we could have been given a general idea of the true level of penetration. Also, remember that Mr. Smith had been a counter-intelligence agent for many years and had reached the highest levels of the profession. I had the opportunity after the class to speak with Mr. Smith several times. I never got even a hint of an impression that he was less than totally honest in what he said. We now know that there were at least 500+ Soviet agents operating in the U.S. government, 10 times what Mr. Smith called a disaster. This is just what we know. The most successful agents are the ones we don’t even know exist.

    Another historical bit of trivia. Roosevelt’s Vice-President 1941-1945 was Henry A. Wallace, often described as “liberal.” That’s putting it mildly. Of course, he was replaced by Truman for the 1944 election. What if Wallace had remained Roosevelt’s Vice-President in 1945? Sometime after WWII, Wallace admitted that he had planned to make Alger Hiss his Secretary of State and Harry Dexter White his Secretary of the Treasury. This is not to say that Wallace knew of Hiss’s and White’s Communist connections. Rather is it just another illustration of the West thesis. Like the Social Revolutionaries in Russia/Soviet Union at the end of WWI, Wallace could not conceive of a “threat from the left.” Yes, indeed, “useful idiots” come in all shapes and sizes.

    Finally, here is an example of just plain moral corruption that infects the bureaucracy (actually all human institutions) when you allow the disease of expediency, lying, twisting the truth, etc. to fester. I attended an after-work party of some sort. I really do not remember the reason for the party. The only thing I remember about the party was a flag-rank officer (general/admiral) surrounded by a bunch of officer of lesser rank within his service. The lesser officers were trying to get some “face-time” while the flag-rank officer was passing on his wisdom. As a civilian I had no real interest in that particular bureaucratic game, but I wanted to watch the interaction. (No, I will not identify the officer even by service.) One of the pearls of wisdom he passed on was the following. “If I had a chance to the position of [flag-rank officer X who had one more star and a “more important” position than the speaker] or my present position, I would choose my present position. [Flag-rank officer X] gets to see the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs maybe once a week. I see the Chairman every day. Therefore, I am in a better position to protect the interests of [the service of the flag-rank officer passing on his wisdom].” I was livid. Not a mention about protecting the Constitution or the USA. His first interest was in his service. Perhaps even that is giving him too much credit. I think his first interest was getting another star. To get that star, he needed to protect the interests of his service. He got the star.

    Even though I am now a retired, cynical elderly man, I still get furious at what I see. I could go on for pages and pages of anecdotes, but my point is that I sincerely doubt that I will find anything to fault Diana West’s thesis regarding the corrupting influence of Soviet activities in the USA. In fact, without having finished the book I believe she probably understates the problem. I feel like I am watching the death of a beloved relative. I know the inevitable result of the disease that is killing her. I have known of the disease for many years and have had time to prepare for her death. I even know pretty much when the death will occur. Nonetheless, as she takes her final breaths, the sense of loss is overwhelming. This is how I feel every day. There is not a day that passes that I do not have tears in my eyes as I see my country take its last breaths. Nearly every night I lie awake wondering what more I could have done that might have made a difference. The reality is that nothing I could have done would have made any difference. Any more than I could have saved the beloved relative, could I have saved or even slowed the progression of the disease that has infected America and Europe. The disease had already metastasized by the end of WWII. Just one symptom of the metastasized disease–after fighting national SOCIALISM for 5 years, the Brits elect their own socialist government before the war was even over. I am sure the owner’s of the nationalized industries must of been wondering what kind of freedom they had been defending. 1984 is not a dark satire of the Soviet Union. It is a projection of British socialism, as most regular readers of this site already know. Another symptom of the disease–the U.S. had fewer servicemen on active duty in 1950 when the Korean War began, than when Pearl Harbor was bombed. So much for the hard-nosed realist Harry Truman’s understanding of the realities of the world. I could go on and on; but you get my point, I hope. My only serious complaint about Diana West’s book so far is that she is far too optimistic.

    I have spent many hours reading many an interesting post and many an interesting comment on this website. I admire the persistence and energy of everyone who contributes to this site. The fight must be fought. The enemy must be resisted. Nonetheless, I think the game is already lost. I refer to G. K. Chesterton’s book, “The Man Who Was Thursday.” Thursday is the pseudonym of an artist who has joined the leadership committee of a radical anarchist organization. There are seven members of the committee, each having a pseudonym for a day of the week. Thursday has infiltrated the committee as a police spy. At one point he is pursued by another committee member, let’s say it was the member who was Friday. After Friday has caught up with Thursday, they soon realize that they are both police spies. Thursday says to Friday (again not an exact quote), “I will fight this anarchist evil unto the death even though I believe we will lose.” Friday replies, “I will fight this anarchist evil unto the death even though I KNOW we will lose.” A masterful summary of the position in which all the decent people of this world find themselves, even if they do not yet realize it. This is what gives me nightmares. This is why I fight back tears nearly everyday for my children and grandchildren and for all the children and grandchildren of even the most useless of “useful idiots.” If I cannot live in the United States as she should be, then there is no place on this Earth that I wish to live. (Not a suicide note. Just a statement of what is at stake, at least for me.)

    • Hi Paul,
      Much respect to you as someone who served his country. From the perspective of a Brit born shortly after WW2 (in which my parents served), and a proud leftist/liberal (not such dirty words here!) on most issues except Islamic Fascism and Israel (over which many of my fellows remain blind), I hope you will not take exception if I mention that in the 1945 election here, many Brits, including service people, while grateful to Churchill, rejected the prewar status quo with its class distinctions. For example, Wing Commander Guy Gibson, hero of the “Dambuster” raid whose 70th anniversary we have just celebrated, did not mix with junior ranks in the Mess; he was born into the particularly snobbish world of British India, but was far from unique.
      Also the Labour Party, despite our commitment to repaying debts to the US, promised (and delivered) a National Health Service, much needed affordable housing etc.
      I hesitate to address your history, particularly McCarthy, but he wasted energy on the wrong targets, ie communists or sympathisers in the media, whose right to dissent was enshrined in your constitution (and still is), but missed the really dangerous ones in Government and the Military, which Truman was warned about but ignored.

    • Thank you for sharing your inside knowledge. I read the book and have very little expertise (essentially none) by which to evaluate it. But I had a basis to evaluate certain aspects of Radosh’s critique and conclude that he was wrong on some matters of fact.

      It was obvious that Radosh was incorrect in saying that the linchpin of West’s case is the identification of “Agent 19” in a specific document as Hopkins — an ID that Radosh claims has been thoroughly refuted (by one person’s retraction!), although other scholars, apparently, have recently said otherwise. I knew that West had adduced considerably more evidence to support the conclusion that Hopkins put Soviet interests front and center, whether or not he was taking orders from Moscow.

      It was also clear that Radosh misstated West’s argument about the D-Day invasion, making it a question of when rather than where.

      Radosh’s charge that West “attacked” various eminent scholars, by reaching somewhat different conclusions from theirs, is unwarranted and certainly ironic given the vitriolic tone of his actual attacks on her.

      In his initial “take-downs,” at least, Radosh didn’t take on the subject of the purging of stalwart anti-Communists from positions of influence, or the coverup of the terror famine, or the heavy Communist presence at the China desk, or the systematic undercutting of Chiang Kai-shek in favor of Mao.

      What struck me the most when I read the book was the quotations from FDR and his circle expressing great favor and solicitude for Stalin and the Soviet experiment. Those pro-Soviet statements went well beyond the needs of a pragmatic wartime alliance.

      It seemed to me that the friendly attitude toward Stalinism in the highest reaches of the government was amply demonstrated. It has not been refuted by West’s critics, and it’s unlikely to be convincingly refuted even if certain details are. A fair amount of credulity is required to believe that those pro-Soviet views did not influence U.S. policy in ways that helped consolidate the Soviet empire and Maoism — especially when you consider that such views are still widespread in Hollywood and academia, shielding communism from the kind of moral reckoning that is applied over and over to Nazism.

    • Whittaker Chambers was convinced that he was on the losing side as he revealed the communist conspiracy. He thought they would win.

  12. The Saudis and their fellow Islamic influence peddlers are the new Soviets in our present government influence game. (Huma as Hiss etc.)

    If the lesson of Ms. West can be applied and updated to the current essentially-identical crisis of: a dangerous ideological power covertly working to undermine and overthrow our society with the help of quislings, corrupt fellow travelers and suicidally-blind damned fools– it will have a serious use and benefit.

    Those who are denigrating details in her work miss the real point: we face the same problem, now, and need to draw lessons from the crooked s.o.b.’s of the past to fight it.

    Not distract people into hair-splitting cul de sacs and lose energy needed for survival by hissing in fits of martinet pomposity.

    We have Islam to battle, not ghosts to wrestle with.

  13. Knowing nothing of the critics of West I only ask the question (& forgiveness if I am way off target): Are they genuine conservatives? Or are they just conservative enough to maintain cover while working against the West? I’m thinking of the Grover Norquist/Suhail Khan combo here although there are many other disturbing examples – the sometimes bewildering John McCain comes to mind.

    Maybe the critics have not removed themselves so far as they would like others to think from the roots? Otherwise there certainly does seem to be a disturbing level of politics and peer pressure involved. Then again, Hotair dropped Robert Spencer in exchange for what appeared to be a seat at the table with the Republicans (probably when he got too close to the truth on Norquist).

    You’ve got to wonder when what looks like an emotional reaction kicks in so quickly.

    • Horowitz and Radosh are Neo-Cons and former radical Leftists, of the New Left. They were both Red Diaper Babies. Both have done much for the Conservative cause. Radosh has had particular interest countering Leftist lies with regards to Communist, Radical Leftist, and Soviet infiltration and subversion of our instittuions and government. Horowitz has been organizing effectivley against the Left, particularly with regards to Academia.

      Hope that helps.

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  15. Just a couple of thoughts on this: I love Diana West and greatly admire her very courageous stance for freedom and against tyranny, whether it be the bureaucratic tyranny of the Federal Govt. or the religious tyranny of Islam. However I do believe she may be engaging in some “Monday morning quarterbacking”. It is impossible to understand WW2 without first studying WW1 and the late 19th century history that led to that terrible conflict. Similarly it is impossible to understand the economic history of the 20th Century without first understanding that many politicians and leaders, most notable among them FDR and Churchill, who both believed that capitalism as it had been and was being practiced was unjust, cruel, heartless and needed major interference by the state to compel some level of social justice. It is hardly surprising that many thoughtful and distinguished people believed that the Soviet Union presented a viable alternative to western philosophy of the time. Whether Harry Hopkins was a Soviet agent or not is immaterial, the fact is that he was very sympathetic to the USSR and used his influence to steer US policy toward giving the maximum assistance possible. In my view he was 100% correct in doing this, terrible as the crimes of the USSR were they paled beside those of NAZI Germany. The policy of pursuing the unconditional surrender of Germany was based on the fact that Germany had escaped occupation (and it’s own mind, defeat) in WW1, German militarism had to be crushed, and it was. The great revelation that Eisenhower wanted to pursue the Italian/Balkan strategy is wildly overstated, his view was that the allied armies were in place and fighting in Italy so it made some military sense to keep them there rather than disengage and launch another campaign in Normandy. Eisenhower was a terrible battlefield general but probably one of the greatest managers/administrators who ever lived. Montgomery certainly wasn’t interested in the Italian campaign and made sure that his best divisions were kept for Normandy. It was General Marshal who made the obvious case that the Italian/Balkan campaign would have to be fought over perfect defensive ground and that quite likely the western allies would be liberating Trieste while the Red army was liberating Antwerp.
    The same anti-capitalist attitudes are found today and influence policy at least as much as they did with FDR. The enemy we face now, urgently, is Islamic fascism, unfortunately a writer as gifted as Diana West has chosen to rake over old ground rather than investigate, for example, the extent to which Saudi money influences US policy today.

    • Let’s see: engineered terror-famine that killed millions, liquidation of whole classes of people, brutal labor camps where people were sent to be “re-educated” or worked to death, the slaughter of the POWs sent back from West, the systematic use of terror to control the population, snuffing out the slightest whiff of political opposition, the oppressive structure of official lies, the invasion and takeover of neighboring countries made into police states, the fomenting of revolution to establish similar police states all over the world — that all “pales beside” Nazi crimes? It looks like more of the same, but carried on for decades.

      The odd notion that Soviet Communism was much less criminal than the Nazis is a symptom of the intellectual and cultural perversion that Diana West writes about.

      There were some people in the 1920s and 1930s who had been to Soviet Russia and returned with harrowing reports. They told the truth: that the communist revolution had brought something very different from “social justice.” Their voices were deliberately drowned out by those who preferred not to see what they saw, because they wanted the myth of utopia to be true.

      If “thoughtful and distinguished people” continued believing that “the Soviet Union presented a viable alternative to western philosophy of the time,” that is largely because other people knowingly hid the available facts from them, or lied to themselves about the knowable facts.

      That is part of Ms. West’s point: the great lie that turned a monstrous regime into a noble cause. Maybe some Soviet admirers really didn’t know better, but others did: They accepted the mass murders and liquidations and iron-fisted control because they shared the belief that “justice” could only be achieved that way, or because they had ambitions to be among those who controlled others in the name of “social justice.”

      Many people are still pushing the big lie today. The evidence of Soviet brutality is readily available, yet so-called “thoughtful and distinguished people” keep trying to explain it away, or diminish it (quibbling about how many millions it really was who were murdered), or even justifying it outright (“you’ve got to break some eggs to make an omelet”). In certain “respectable” circles, being anti-Communist is still considered to be a worse crime than being a Stalinist.

      And it’s not all academic if you understand that in the 1960s (according to an FBI informant who infiltrated the group), the Weather Underground was seriously talking about the need to put a large part of the U.S. population in re-education camps and even execute millions who resisted thought-reform. And the current occupant of the White House started his political career in association with prominent members of the Weather Underground.

    • terrible as the crimes of the USSR were they paled beside those of NAZI Germany.

      I take it you’ve never read Gulag Archipelago, then? (And likewise have never heard of the Great Leap Forward in that Other Big Communist Nation?)

    • ” …many politicians and leaders, most notable among them FDR and Churchill, who both believed that capitalism as it had been and was being practiced was unjust, cruel, heartless and needed major interference by the state to compel some level of social justice.”

      Churchill did not hold any such beliefs. No criticism of him for being so, but he was an very conservative aristocrat who believed in the English class system and in the British empire. His political record on the strikes in the 1920’s and during the Depression make it crystal clear he had no interest in ameliorating the conditions of the “working class” or state intervention into the “capitalist system”.

      “It is hardly surprising that many thoughtful and distinguished people believed that the Soviet Union presented a viable alternative to western philosophy of the time.”

      Yes, it is surprising: given what was known about the horrors of the Soviet Union by 1926, 1932, 1937.

      “Whether Harry Hopkins was a Soviet agent or not is immaterial, the fact is that he was very sympathetic to the USSR and used his influence to steer US policy toward giving the maximum assistance possible. In my view he was 100% correct in doing this …”

      Wow. Where does one start with this? One doesn’t.

      “… terrible as the crimes of the USSR were they paled beside those of NAZI Germany.”

      This is a very interesting proposition. For the reason that it is so widely believed. And so wrong. See the comments that preceded mine. I too was raised on a diet of “Adolf-Hitler-was-the-most-evil-man-in-history-and-the-Third-Reich-the-nastiest-regime”. Whilst the Left has kept the public focus on the evils of Nazism rather than the evils of Communism – the focus should have been on both – one need only compare the Nazi rule of Western and Northern Europe to the Soviet rule of itself, the Baltic states and post-war Eastern Europe. Stalin didn’t need Zyklon B, he had the Siberian climate to do his industrialised mass-murder. I commend Eugenia Ginzburg’s “Into the Whirlwind” for an account of Gulag life. Or “Red Hell” by a Polish-Jewish author whose name escapes me. Interestingly the latter book, despite being well-written, had to be self-published.

  16. Ultimately, while we have much to mourn as a result of the corruption of our governments, the only cause for despair would be if we mistook them for our nations. The same may be said of our other social institutions which falter in the duties for which they were created.

    It is true that there is nothing that can be done to save the U.S. Federal government from the results of its own disastrous policies. It has been true for twenty years at least, and probably longer. But what I have come to see in the last few years is that the American people do not need their government to survive with their essential values of individualism and freedom intact. Survival will not be easy for any, and many even of those who prepare will lose their lives, as will vast numbers of those who have done nothing but hope the government will come to their rescue in the wake of its own collapse. But America, the people that adhere to the authentic founding values of the nation, will endure.

    The situation in Europe is much less favorable. It is in fact unmistakably grim. But when you free yourself from concern over the doomed hopelessness of the institutional structures of Europe, it is clear that the indigenous peoples of Europe do have the strength to survive the collapse and defend their land against Jihad. Not without great loss. Not without innumerable acts of courage and sacrifice which would in other generations each be worthy of epic song. But the greatness of Western Civilization is still there, waiting for the call to battle, and it will still be there when the plunderers have nothing left to consume.

    The social planners that originated the theories which eventually led to the development of both Nazism and Communism were quite active in America at the beginning of the last century. Indeed, it would be possible to make the case that the movement to create a totally planned society originated in America, a country always looking towards the future. The rhetoric justifying the system of slavery (and later share-cropping) in America mere decades before is often eerily similar to that used to defend the totalitarian theories which have followed. Europe had left even serfdom far in its past when America was experimenting with widespread slavery as the foundation of entire state economies.

    The process of increasing the size, powers, and ubiquity of centralized government in America proved much longer than the similar projects derived from progressive theories about the “inevitable direction of society”. It has taken more than a century…only to fail in the final analysis. Because the proponents of government were wrong all along, not only morally but strategically. It is always and forever the government which must depend for its existence on the people, not the people on the government. When the government undertakes to destroy that part of the people whose efforts create the foundation of economic and military power necessary for a sovereign nation to exist, the government has signed its own death warrant. And if those people refuse to cooperate in their own murder, they can overthrow the government and survive it.

    America was founded on exactly this premise, by the descendants of those same ancestors to whom Europeans may also trace their origin. The American people will endure. And while the situation of Europe is desperate, the sources of individualism and freedom will not utterly fail at the last.

    We are near the end of all that was, and the beginning of something new. There is hope if we keep faith.

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  20. My understanding, and I am not an expert, of the decision for Normandy over the Balkans had a lot to do with logistics. The Balkan front and drive up into Eastern Europe would involve the challenges of crossing mountainous terrain…..which includes not only slow going but bottlenecks and choke-points.. Northern Europe is comprised mostly of lowlands, easier to traverse and as such, lends itself to speed and the ability for supply lines to keep up.

    Perhaps the Soviets wanted the Normandy strategy for their own nefarious ends but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t in the interests of the Allied forces to choose it over the Balkans. Sometimes in geopolitics all parties come to the same decision albeit for different reasons without skullduggery being the reason.

    I haven’t read Ms. West’s book yet and have only seen the excerpts. I look forward to a more detailed examination of her research.

  21. No terrain is more difficult for ground forces than an amphibious assault against a heavily defended beachhead. None whatsoever. It is not even possible in principle for there to be a worse terrain disadvantage.


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