Revisiting the Diana West Controversy
The ongoing implosion of the conservative ethos.
By David Solway
The controversy currently raging among conservative luminaries over the substantive nature and scholarly status of Diana West’s new book, American Betrayal, need not be rehearsed in detail here; its features are by now reasonably familiar to most readers of the political sites. But it will do no harm to offer a schematic overview of the broad contours of the “debate”—to give it the politest of tags.
I do not wish to enter into the vortex of the dispute. I readily admit that I am no expert on the subject West’s volume addresses. Was Harry Hopkins the infamous KGB agent 19 or was it Laurence Duggan? Was American WWII policy subtly shaped and surreptitiously directed by Soviet espionage and penetration of the inner circles of the White House—and if so, to what degree? Was Eastern Europe lost to “Uncle Joe” Stalin owing to American ineptitude or to Communist infiltration of the decision-making process? I am in no position to weigh in on the matter. These issues may—or may not—be satisfactorily settled in the future, provided an honest, impartial, and intellectual debate is permitted to flourish without rancor and personal vituperation.
I can only say that Diana West’s thesis is surely deserving of scholarly consideration, whether pro or con. Whether one agrees with her conclusions or not, one must recognize that her argument is meticulously researched and abundantly footnoted. It seems to me that David Horowitz was wrong to remove a review that he had originally vetted and, furthermore, to substitute a largely personal imprecation in its stead rather than, say, to post a countervailing review and let the reader decide. Whatever his motive, the decision leaves an editorial stench that is not easily dissipated.
Read the rest at PJM.
Previous posts about the controversy over American Betrayal by Diana West: