The Rebuttal: Part One

The first part of Diana West’s long-anticipated rebuttal to Ronald Radosh’s hit piece on her book “American Betrayal” has been posted at Breitbart’s Big Government. Some excerpts are below.

The Rebuttal: Part One
by Diana West

“Well-designed attacks on an opponent’s credibility can overpower well-crafted messages.”

David Horowitz

Author’s Note

Calumnious charges against my new book, American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character (St. Martin’s Press), originated in a review that appeared at FrontPage Magazine on August 7, 2013. The 7,000-word review by Ronald Radosh was titled “McCarthy on Steroids” (FrontPage editor David Horowitz wrote the title). The Radosh review is referenced as source material for a series of attack-pieces that followed at FrontPage Magazine, Pajamas Media, The American Thinker, National Review, and elsewhere.

In one of three follow-up pieces Radosh published, he described the original review as a “take-down.” David Horowitz, in one of two pieces written about American Betrayal, wrote, “She should not have written this book.”

Who says that and why?

I have since come to understand the “take-down” of my book and the ad hominem attacks on my person in terms of a scorched earth policy to preserve and protect the conventional narrative as promulgated by mainstream academia.

“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. Another source Radosh draws heavily from is a British historian and BBC documentary-maker whose works appear on PBS. More conventional (read: liberal) consensus.

My book threatens that consensus with arguments that are densely and meticulously documented. My sources are listed in 944 endnotes that draw from a bibliography that conventional historians consistently ignore. Specifically, I draw from the vast bibliography of Soviet espionage and infiltration that conventional historians ignore when writing World War II and even Cold War history. Indeed, the books Radosh cites omit or barely reference the same bibliography American Betrayal draws upon.

The Radosh review, then, is a defense of a conventional, tightly blinkered historiography — “the court histories that continue to obscure key facts about our backstage war with Moscow,” as M. Stanton Evans wrote in his endorsement of American Betrayal. But Radosh’s is in no way not a fair defense. It is not a fair debate. Instead, the Radosh review misrepresents my work by continually attacking my credibility.

For example, Radosh calls American Betrayal “yellow journalism conspiracy theories,” all the while failing to inform readers about my book’s copious source material, which in itself is a rebuke to such charges. Such is the Radosh modus operandi, however, in defense of the conventional narrative. Indeed, a reader of the Radosh “take-down” is led to believe I made the whole thing up due to my “conspiratorial mindset.” This is a gross and destructive calumny.

But it is only the first. That makes what follows anything but a rejoinder in a traditional battle of ideas. It is instead a detailed defense set forth to disprove the smears and expose the fabrications and distortions that went into the 7,000-word “take-down” of American Betrayal.

The rebuttal begins.


I will open with an email from FrontPage Magazine editor David Horowitz. I received this message after I declined FrontPage’s invitation to reply at FrontPage to the August 7 Radosh review of American Betrayal. Most readers don’t realize that the Radosh review is FrontPage’s second review of my book. The first, a positive review by FrontPage writer Mark Tapson, was removed from the website by Horowitz on July 8. I declined FrontPage’s invitation to reply to the Radosh review on the principle that eliminating one opinion, as Horowitz did, and replacing it with a more “correct” opinion is no way to conduct a debate. I had and have no intention of legitimizing such an uncivil action, which, among other things, makes a mockery of FrontPage’s commitment to free speech.

David Horowitz has, to date, written two pieces attacking me and American Betrayal. In the first, he cited the first reviewer’s alleged lack of expertise as the reason for his decision to take down the positive review. In the second, Horowitz wrote: “She should not have written this book.” As an example of the first reviewer’s inexpertise, Horowitz wrote the reviewer “readily conceded he was not familiar with the sources and could not properly assess such crucial matters as her claim that Soviet agents had gotten the United States to ship fissionable uranium to Stalin via Lend-Lease.”

As an aside, the word “fissionable” doesn’t appear in American Betrayal’s discussions of uranium. I mention this to flag a consistent pattern of misrepresentation or distortion that is evident in the Radosh review and follow-up pieces in which critics overstate a fact as stated in American Betrayal and criticize their own exaggeration.

That said, uranium shipments did indeed go to Stalin during World War II under the Roosevelt administration’s Lend-Lease program. Among my sources for this shocking fact is one source “familiar” to all: the United States Congress. I cite “Hearings on the Transfer of Atomic Material to the Soviet Union During World War II.” As such, this is quite easy to “properly assess” — if one has read my book.

This is just one of dozens of false claims about American Betrayal that Radosh, Horowitz, and the echo chamber they triggered have made, some even written by people who admitted they haven’t read it. The baseless sloganeering against me now includes such falsehoods as: I called Eisenhower a Communist (false); I claimed the FDR administration was “run” by Soviet agents (false); I portrayed Churchill as a Soviet dupe (false); I argued for an “entente with Hitler’s army against Stalin” (false).

If there is a beginning to the lies, gross distortions, and outright fabrications that I now must sort through, it is the editors’ note posted (in full knowledge of its gross distortion of the facts) over the Radosh review at FrontPage:

Editors’ note: FrontPage offered Diana West equal space to reply to Professor Radosh’s points below. She refused.

I refused to reply only at FrontPage — and the editors know that I refused to reply only at FrontPage. In other words, they decided to publish a gross distortion of the truth to encourage readers of the Radosh review to believe I am either incapable or uninterested in responding to the charges therein.

Not true.

Here is the Horowitz email.

Dear Diana,

Our decision to remove the review of American Betrayal was not because it offered an incorrect opinion that we wanted to suppress. The review was removed because the reviewer was as incompetent to provide an informed assessment of your book as you were to write it.


My task is to disprove this intemperate and, worse, baseless charge against my competence in handling evidence and evaluating it. This is the basis of the Radosh-Horowitz critique and, therefore, the basis of the multiple copy-cat critiques that have been written since, even by people who openly admitted they had not read my book. (I repeat this fact because it is incredible to me.) This competence issue makes my rebuttal about more than score-keeping, or tit-for-tat. These widely repeated attacks on me and my book undermine my integrity as a writer, and thus my livelihood.

My challenge to readers: Determine for yourselves who is “incompetent.”

There is something else. The vitriolic intensity of the attacks against me and my book is harder to analyze, veering into a murkier realm of the psychological. Nonetheless, this vitriol remains the leading edge of the story.

In his FrontPage editorial against American Betrayal, Horowitz wrote:

Neither West nor her supporters have begun to meet that standard or attempted to answer even one factual claim that Radosh has made about her book.

Mind you, Horowitz was writing one day after the Radosh’s 7,000-word “take-down” appeared.

He continued:

I don’t have a lot of hope that this will change because West has already shown herself to be a very angry, very self-centered and very reckless partisan, with a paranoid streak and a disposition to think in extreme terms that have only a tenuous and deceptive relation to the truth.

Such vitriol fed the hysteria against American Betrayal, inspiring what I can only describe as ritual denunciations of me for exhibiting signs of so-called McCarthyism and John Bircherism.

These are buzz terms that are not being used to shed light and truth but rather to stop debate.

Like pulling a review off a website.

Stopping debate is what this Horowitz-Radosh campaign is about.

I refuse to let them.

Read the rest of Part 1 at Big Government.

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

26 thoughts on “The Rebuttal: Part One

  1. “You will know them by their actions.”

    Could it be that there are still agents of communism at large in academia, and they are now furiously attempting to salvage the situation?

    • We have to be accurate in the negatives we ascribe to our opponents. These people are by no means communists. They are “neo-conservatives” — a wholly new species that evolved from former leftists after they “saw the light” on the USSR and, to their credit, later would do on global jihad too. Even some conservative sources turned neocon, because there the power and the perks lay . Compare National Review of 1980 to that of 2005, to see what transition from conserative to neoconservative means. As to analysis of their positions and tactics, there in no more lucid elaboration than the one in Paul Gottfried’s writings. Gottftird, a brilliant academic whose entire career was confined to the obscure Elizabetown College because of a neocon vendetta. The affair with Diana West and her supporters is another such vendetta; she violated a sacred taboo.

      • One thing that Fabian socialists have in common with Muslims is the acceptance of strategic deception as to their real aims and allegiances. I can make no firm determination as to whether anyone opposing revelations of the history of Soviet penetration of and influence over the U.S. government is a Fabian socialist (more commonly, but not always, identifiable as “progressive”) or simply desperate to prop up the illusion of continued legitimacy of the U.S. government in the vain hope that it can be salvaged (despite this being a clear mathematical impossibility, given the existing debt and dependence on imports purchased with fiat currency).

        Quite possibly the answer would be different for each individual and even the same individuals at different times. Dishonesty has a way of sapping the internal integrity of those that practice it as well as the integrity of their public statements.

      • Those who have tried to gently correct me about Horowitz not being a central player in this sordid business should be disabused of their notion after reading this. Horowitz’s dirty pawprints are all over this like brown on Russian rye.

      • The actions of Contrad Black at NRO and Thomas Lifson at American Thinker may be categorizable according to Takuan Seiyo’s taxonomy; the actions of Horowitz and Radosh can only be done so by ignoring monstrous irrationality and obtuseness on their part which, in turn, could only be explained by physical brain damage (which seems highly unlikely, given that otherwise, their brains seem to be in fine working order).

      • ““neo-conservatives” — a wholly new species that evolved from former leftists after they “saw the light” on the USSR and, to their credit, later would do on global jihad too. ”

        Sure, if you see reinforcing the Tiny Minority of Extremists meme “seeing the light” on the global jihad.

      • Neo-conservatives are ultra liberals on steroids, the left of the ultra liberal political spectrum will torturously kill you with a thousand cuts, the neo-conservative right of the ultra liberal spectrum will kill you with one swift fatal cut.

  2. Im now re-evaluating the John Birch Society and William F. Buckley’s assault on them.

    • Properly subtitled, West’s book would be American Betrayal: The Vindication of The John Birch Society,

    • Buckley was the WASP Horowitz. His final word sent people of integrity into The Gulag for Intellectuals Disdained by WFB. As in “you’ll never write in the conservative universe again”.

      These folks are the sworn enemies of ‘good enough’ and they seem to operate on some kind of fear-based calculus. Reminds me of my Irish mother’s “what will the neighbors say?”

      Their hair-splitting and pronouncing anathemas, not to mention the ad hominem attacks, bespeak a totalitarian defect you can trace back to the Inquisition. Myriad and before-the-fact unknowables about what will offend their sensibilities. And so many ways you can unwittingly color outside their [red] lines, be doctrinally incorrect.

      As much as I liked Lawrence Auster, he tended that way. But he didn’t have the financial resources of Buckley or the reach.

      This is tedious.

      Non-profit foundations are always in peril of losing their integrity, as we have discussed many times in the comments.

  3. Regarding the Horowitz’s email to Ms West: 1) It clearly shows who’s in charge with the “free speech” of Gatestone Institute. 2) Mark Tapson was considered to be incompetent in this field. 3) Later, Clare M. Lopez was sacked by GI. Because of her incompetence?

    A personal reflexion to “This book should never have been written”. I don’t know one single book that “shouldn’t have been written” – including “Mein Kampf” and “Das Kapital”.

    In an early stage of this “debate”, I stated that I as a Swede had no intention of reading “American Betrayal”.

    Since then, I’ve changed my mind. The problem – minor one – is to get the book shipped to my exile in Martinique.

  4. Those who have tried to gently correct me about Horowitz not being a central player in this sordid business should be disabused of their notion after reading this. Horowitz dirty pawprints are all over this like brown on Russian rye.

  5. Captain Charles Boycott gave us the verb “to boycott” to describe the shunning of a person or other entity for social or political reasons. The notorious murderer Edmund Burke gave us the not-quite-so-long-lived verb “to burke” to mean “kill by smothering.” For a term to describe making something positive disappear in order to replace it with something negative, may I suggest “to horowitz,”

  6. Quote:
    “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. Another source Radosh draws heavily from is a British historian and BBC documentary-maker whose works appear on PBS. More conventional (read: liberal) consensus.

    There are other scholars who have used the same sources as West, and I have not noticed them coming out with bring out the cannons, destructive reviews of her book. The only people who have attacked West are polemicists, very, very little has come from academics.
    Radosh believed himself to be the next William F. Buckley.
    I’m not buying it.

  7. Reply to Diana West by David Horowitz

    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.

    Instead 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 – 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 this quote on the cover and all her personal attacks on Radosh and me inside. The subtitle is: “Defending American Betrayal From The 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.

    • A note to readers:

      Mr. Horowitz’ comment is substantively similar to a “rebuttal of the rebuttal” that he published at Breitbart a little while ago.

      I haven’t done a word-for-word comparison, so readers may want to check out the Breitbart piece for further information.

      • David is projecting. He and his F-Troop cohort delivered the first ill spirited ‘reviews’ lacking facts and sources, and now claim to be victims. Sad. Diana has lifted the debate to levels they could never achieve, so they continue on with the drive by slanders, smears and otherwise juvenile behavior. Sad again.

      • It would appear that the central concern of Horowitz is what I had come to surmise. He fears that “American Betrayal” calls the essential legitimacy of the U.S. government into question.

    • Dear Mr Horowitz,

      Your language reveals that you havn’t realized that your choice of methods has severely hurt the reputation and credibility of Gatestone Institute. Alternatively, you don’t care.

      Your greatest mistake was to fire Clare M. Lopez.

    • “her misrepresentation of the pro-Soviet Harry Hopkins as an actual Soviet spy”

      David Horowitz should prove this claim. Just this one claim. Forget the 100 other claims he has no evidence for.

      Prove this one claim. He can’t. I can’t believe Horowitz is this stupid. He has to be doing this as purposeful obfuscation.

  8. Horowitz:

    Diana’s meticulous rebuttal part 1–parts 2 and 3 to follow–will forever stand in stark contrast to [redacted: your unfortunate claims] that simply re-package the same deliberate misrepresentations you’ve [repeated] before.

    As for your claim about Hopkins, in addition to being another misrepresentation of her work (after all Edward Mark DID label Hopkins agent 19 and NEVER recanted publicly, contra Radosh–see part 2 of West’s rebuttal)—Col. Ivan D. Yeaton (1895-1979), a real patriot, not some sunshine patriot, not so-ex-Commie, raging hack like yourself— the preeminent G-2 specialist on Communism during the WWII and early Cold War eras, who had the bad fortune to work with Hopkins directly, in your true motherland, the Stalinist era Soviet Union–called Hopkins perfidious, indeed traitorous because of Hopkins’ pro-Soviet activities at the expense of US interest and security needs.

    But I have a question for you: Did you have anything to do with CIA analyst Clare Lopez–another true patriot [redacted]– being summarily fired from the Gatestone Institute for mentioning Diana West’s book favorably? Did you communicate your “displeasure” with Nina Rosenwald or anyone else on the Gatestone Board??

  9. Speaking of Breitbart, we need to do his memory justice and behave like he would have — go postal on these idiots and not let them get away with it. How dare Horowitz insult our intelligence — not just once, but repeatedly.

    • I don’t know about “going postal,” but it’s clear as day that our intelligence is being insulted. Reviewing a book is one thing, trying to do the public’s thinking for it is another, and a central tenet, in fact, of Straussian neoconservatism.
      The Straussian will contextualize and manipulate on every issue he addresses, and most particularly in the area of foreign policy. It’s been their only ticket to power, which they crave more than right.
      The adherence to socialist and Marxian ideology warps people’s thinking such that, even when they do change their minds and decide that maybe the historically-coherent world has something of merit in it, they can’t seem to get rid of the totalizing and aggressive tendencies of their former ideological commitments. Human dignity is not asserted or even protected with the sledgehammer.

  10. My main gripe with Horowitz and Radosh is not that they disagree with West on certain points. It’s the derisive language that they employed. And now the crusade of censorship and ostracization. They can claim that they are just trying to head off similar by Leftists, but all they did was make the Leftist campaign of derision and ostracization unnecessary as they have already performed that task for them. They have non-Leftists so terrified of running afoul of them, that opponents of the Left regularly form circular firing squads which do the Left’s dirty work for them. How about some solidarity and some respect and common decency for your comrades even in disagreement, Horowitz?

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