Previously: Part 1.
The Rebuttal: Part Two
by Diana West
Chapter 1: “Groundless and Worse,” He Says.
But Not in My Book
Radosh presents my entire book and its arguments as a “conspiracy thesis resting on five claims.” He writes: “In this review, I will focus on each of these claims in turn and show that they are groundless, and worse.”
I strongly reject this compression of my book and hope readers of the Radosh review, not my book, will one day discover for themselves that the nature, substance, thematic structure, and tone of American Betrayal are wholly unrecognizable next to the Radosh presentation.
For purposes of this rebuttal, however, I will address the five Radosh claims, one by one. I will be as brief — but also as comprehensive — as possible. I will focus on disproving unsupportable claims and rectifying the distortions inherent in these “five claims.” I will show that Radosh’s treatment of the subject matter bears little — and often literally no — resemblance to what is actually on the printed page. In other words, that it’s Radosh’s claims about my book that are “groundless and worse.”
In so doing, I will also point out a number of mistakes and inaccuracies — and outright fabrications — that pock and riddle the Radosh “take-down.”
One final note: In rebutting these five charges, I will sometimes need to lead a reader more deeply into the weeds of fact and context than others. With that in mind, I will start with the most easily grasped set of Radosh misstatements.
The fifth and final section of the Radosh review is called “The Issue of the Second Front.” It runs more than 1,800 words, which makes it a little over 20 percent of the whole review.
Bear that in mind that it critiques a debate over the “second front” in World War II that is not in my book.
Radosh sets up Claim No. 5 as the debate over when to invade northern France: either in 1943 or 1944.
Let us assume for a moment that a cross-Channel invasion had been mounted in 1943 (before the Axis armies had been decimated in North Africa, Sicily and Italy) instead of at Normandy in 1944. In that case, as [historian Laurence] Rees argues, the Allies might indeed have reached Eastern Europe earlier in the fighting and Soviet influence would have been lessened. West, as we have seen, attributes the failure to Soviet agents who prevented Roosevelt and Churchill from following this course, allowing Stalin to take control. But Rees also writes (in a passage West also ignores) that “the cost in human terms for the Western Allies would have been enormous.
Just to be clear, Radosh is saying that my discussion of the “second front” debate concerns the timing of the invasion of northern France. The US and Britain failed to invade northern France in 1943, Radosh claims I argue, due to “Soviet agents.”
There is a surreal quality to what I now must write: This section, 20 percent of the Radosh review, in no way, shape or form tracks the debate over the “second front” that is examined in American Betrayal. It’s simply not the debate I work through in my book. I repeat: It’s not in my book.
Further, Radosh calls my “interpretation of this event” (the one that is not in my book) “shallow and erroneous.”
What American Betrayal does examine in Chapter 9 is whether the abundantly confirmed presence of agents of Kremlin influence inside the US policy-making chain turned, shaded or shaped “second front” planning to Stalin’s advantage in the epic debate among the so-called Big Three. This great debate was over whether to amass US and British forces in northern France or in the Italy/Balkan region.
In simplest terms, I wrote about France vs. Italy/Balkan — not, as Radosh erroneously asserts, France ‘43 vs. France ‘44.
The word “Italy” does not appear in this section of the Radosh review in relation to the “second front” debate. Nor does the word “Balkan.”
This is so incredible I must repeat it: Radosh missed my entire debate, from the crux of it to the fine details.
The chapter in American Betrayal in question is 13,500 words long with 84 endnotes.
This omission automatically renders a series of related Radosh charges against me non-applicable and therefore false.
West “ignores” the human cost of the early French invasion …”
–non-applicable and therefore FALSE
Another example: I “ignore” the unreadiness of Allied troops in 1943
–non-applicable and therefore FALSE
West doesn’t even consider the question of whether Churchill and Roosevelt would have been willing to sacrifice so much as one million dead British and American soldiers to keep Eastern Europe out of Soviet hands.
Where did that come from? This marks the intrusion of a “straw man argument.”
Something else: It should already be evident that Radosh is unlikely to know what I consider or don’t. Frankly, it doesn’t seem to matter to him anyway. His intentness on attack is such that he sees what he wants to and ignores what he doesn’t. (Evidence to come will further bear this out.)
Indeed, it seems fair to ask: Did Radosh read my book? Did he read it and not understand it? Or, did he read and purposefully distort it?
Such questions will recur in the discussion to come. I can only speculate on the answers, but the effect is clear each time: my work, and the reader’s trust of my work, has been harmed without cause, without evidence.
Another Radosh Charge: False
One of Radosh’s many introductory charges against my credibility is this:
“She disregards the findings of the sources she does rely on when they contradict her ….”
I have flagged four instances in brief (see “Radosh’s Introduction,” #10) where I make the reader aware of differences of opinion among the experts. But since we’re in the “second front” section, I now offer one of them in full.
On p. 267 of American Betrayal, amid talk of the Italian/Balkan strategy — which was supported in 1943 not only by Churchill but also by US Generals Mark Clark, Dwight Eisenhower, Ira Eaker and Carl Spaatz — I note:
“…There was a military argument to be made to refocus on France. In Wedemeyer Reports! Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer, one of the early planners of the invasion of France, makes a compelling military counterargument against Churchill’s and [Gen. Mark] Clark’s ‘soft underbelly’ strategy. Essentially, when he looked at the map, Wedemeyer didn’t see the requisite harbors through which a massive Italian-Balkan could be supplied as it made its way through almost practically impassable terrain. To be sure, this military debate remains open-ended…”
I not only did not disregard Wedemyer’s military argument favoring France over the Italy-Balkan, I laid it out.
Read the rest of Part 2 at Big Government.
Previous posts about the controversy over American Betrayal by Diana West: