“The Selective Amnesia of Neocons”

This post excerpts from a recent essay by Edward Cline, author of several books and an online opinion writer. He runs a website called The Rule of Reason.

Mr. Cline’s site includes links to his books. Definitely worth your time…

Below are excerpts from his essay about the ways in which Diana West’s book threatened leading American neoconservatives. He has some intriguing explanations for their otherwise inexplicable behavior.

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One of the most significant critical phenomena occurring within the last five years was the persistent and oftimes viciously personal neoconservative (“neocon”) attack on Diana West’s compelling and thoroughly documented account of how the U.S. lost World War II because of Soviet infiltration and manipulation of the Roosevelt administration. These machinations were fiddled not so much by Josef Stalin, as by his fifth column and domestic politburo of American Stalinists and an obliging U.S. president, Franklin D. Roosevelt. The book is American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character. The U.S. government then was termite-riddled with Soviet agents and sympathizers (“fellow-travelers”), much as our government now is termite-riddled with Muslims.

I reviewed Diana West’s path-breaking book in May 2015 in my Rule of Reason column, “Blaming the Right Culprits.” In it I wrote:

Diana West has performed yeoman’s work in exposing the Soviet-FDR connection in American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character. She has aired out America’s dirty laundry and hung it out to dry. Neocons and other strange creatures attacked her for contradicting their over half-century-old meme that FDR was a blameless dupe of Joseph Stalin and that there were no real Soviet agents and fellow travelers in FDR’s administration.

Such were the number of attacks and the personalities making them that she had to write another book to counter all the lies, misconceptions, academic pufferies, character assassinations, and misrepresentations about her and American Betrayal in those attacks, in a second book, The Rebuttal: Defending ‘American Betrayal’ from the Book-Burners. I followed this ongoing exchange between West and her detractors from Day One….

What is it that a neoconservative wants to “conserve”? A neocon is someone who is an ex-leftwing “radical” who finally understood the error of his ways, recanted, and joined the Non-Fight Club.

We’re neocons! We’re ex-communists and ex-socialists who have seen the light and acknowledge the horrors visited upon millions of people by those collectivist ideologies in practice. What, however, are we for? We’re for the status quo! Whatever that is or may be at any given point…

The occasion for this column is the review of a new movie, Trumbo, by Ronald Radosh, who participated in a veritable witch-hunt to discredit — nay, destroy — both West’s book and her intellectual, scholarly, and moral bonafides. PJ Media ran his November 26th review of the film, “Red Star Falling: The Trumbo Train Wreck”.This was a follow-up review of his November 2013 predictive critique of the film before it had been made, “Will the New Trumbo Movie Rehash Old Myths?” in National Review.

Radosh’s review of the Trumbo movie is fair-to-middling. Not a trace of malice can be detected in his appraisal of the film or of its subject, Dalton Trumbo, one of the “Hollywood Ten” who refused to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947 concerning Communist influences in Hollywood and the sly boots campaign by many directors, screenwriters, and producers to indoctrinate Americans from the big screen.

[Radosh says:]

When it was announced two years ago that Bryan Cranston would play Dalton Trumbo in a new movie about the late blacklisted Communist screenwriter, I wrote an article for National Review that asked a simple question: would the film be honest and portray Trumbo accurately, or would it perpetuate the myth of innocent and victimized Hollywood Reds?

Indeed, because of this piece, the producers and/or the publicity people of Bleecker Street Cinema claimed that I had “trashed the film” in advance and barred me from the screening, thus preventing me from writing about it for a national publication. One could say that Bleecker Street Cinema blacklisted me — but we all know they are against blacklists….

Now we have the latest incarnation in the film Trumbo, starring Cranston as Trumbo, Louis C.K. as one of the Hollywood Ten, Helen Mirren as Hedda Hopper, Diane Lane as Trumbo’s wife Cleo, and John Goodman as a schlock film producer for whom Trumbo wrote lousy films under a pseudonym while blacklisted. The film is good at recreating Hollywood in that era, but does exactly as I feared.

Which is:

The film presents Trumbo as a hero and martyr for free speech, a principled rich Communist who nevertheless stands firm, sells his beautiful ranch for a “modest” new house in Los Angeles, and survives by writing film scripts — most run of the mill but some major films (such as the Academy Award-winning Roman Holiday) — using a “front” who pretended to be the writer. Trumbo brought in other blacklisted writers to do likewise, his theory being that if enough films were scripted in this way, when the truth came out, the blacklist would end. Trumbo was right. After it was revealed that he would write the movies Exodus and Spartacus, the blacklist was effectively over. At the same time, Trumbo is shown as having an extraordinary work ethic — working day and night to support his family, while existing on alcohol, nicotine, and amphetamines.

While Trumbo was an interesting and colorful character, the film gives us the story of the Communists and the blacklist in the mold of the Ten’s own propaganda book published after their HUAC appearances. The book is Hollywood on Trial; The Story of the 10 Who Were Indicted (The Arno Press Cinema Program. the Literature of Cinema), which portrayed them as advocates of free speech who were defending the American Constitution, civil liberties, and American freedom itself.

Fair enough. In both the National Review and PJ Media articles, Radosh reveals some unsavory details about Trumbo’s character and actions. Read them for yourself. He was a Stalinist, and then he wasn’t one when the truth came out about Stalin’s horrendous policies and body count. Then he apparently threw up his hands and became…a neocon, in every way but name, in a manner of speaking. Radosh and his colleagues in calumny did not wish to acknowledge itinerant conversion. Trumbo became a neocon just as the three former Left Wing individuals and activists had — Radosh, David Horowitz, and Conrad Black — who later pilloried Diana West for writing an anti-Communist book about the scope of espionage and manipulation of U.S. policies and strategies during WWII.

Dalton Trumbo, Alger Hiss, the Rosenbergs — these were “soft targets” for the neocons. Easy pickings. They can be condemned or criticized. Radosh even wrote a September 2008 piece for The Los Angeles Times about how guilty the Rosenbergs were, “Case closed: The Rosenbergs were Soviet spies”. This was a Johnny-Come-Lately piece (by thirty years) on which is based Radosh’s claim-to-fame.

So, the questions to ask [are]:

  • If these three were now anti-Communist, as well, why did they object so much to West’s book?
  • Why did they go to extraordinary lengths to attempt to refute her thesis that our WWII military strategy was stealthily fine-tuned to oblige Stalin, with a great assist from a State Department more or less run by Communists and Communist sympathizers?
  • Why the strenuous denial and attempted excoriation of West’s thesis, punctuated by adolescent name-calling?
  • If these individuals were so confident that West was wrong, and instead had embarked on a calm and courteous and reasoned refutation of her thesis and the pages of information she produced to support and validate her conclusions, why then did they launch a venomous personal campaign to kick her down the stairs?
  • Why was their response to her book couched more in anger than in sorrow?
  • Why were they so determined to extinguish her?
  • Why were they willing to resort to misrepresentations of her work, to misquoting her, to consecutive, thickly layered, pseudo-scholarly obfuscations, to smears?
  • Why did they behave as though their authority was being challenged, jeopardized, and threatened?


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Mr. Cline has more questions, more information and some proposals as to why three Malicious Old Men fell all over themselves as they jostled for position to be the one to finally push Diana West down the stairs.

To finish reading this essay, go here. Then scroll down to this passage to pick up where I’ve left off:

“If West was so wrong, why did they feel it absolutely necessary to berate and belittle her now?”

21 thoughts on ““The Selective Amnesia of Neocons”

  1. Radosh is Jewish as are many in the anti- Diana West camp. West is also Jewish. Many of the fellow travelers and ‘useful idiots’ back then were Jewish as were the founders and perpetrators of Communism in Europe and the USSR.

    I have a Radosh book about Truman and the founding of the State of Israel and liked it a lot. I am guessing that Radosh fears a Jewish backlash. If it isn’t that then it is a cover-up and disgusting. Once you realize the Nazis, Fascists and Communists were identically evil, you can’t excuse any of them. Not one of them even if they were your relatives and friends.

    • Okay: Mr. Galt is right out of the gate with the Jewish meme.


      If any commenters follow after him down that dark trail, without bothering to read further in Edward Cline’s original essay, to which I left a clear link and even the sentence where one could take up reading the rest of his post, be advised: this tunnel of jew.Jew.JEW.JOOOS! meme is going to be bricked in right here.

      I deliberately left off mirroring Mr Cline at a crucial point of his essay. My motive in stopping there was simple: a hope it would pique our readers’ curiosity to continue reading. After bulleting some of Mr Cline’s many questions I thought surely readers would want to see some new ideas put forth by another writer re this ugliness that doesn’t ever seem to come to a full and final close.

      It’s difficult to clarify the motives and rationales of the villains whilst working in that sulfurous fog they created. The wisps of gas still curl fitfully from the Verdun created by Radish, Horrorwits and Blackguard. But Mr. Cline gave it a good go, picking up the burned, broken fragments and examining them for clues. No, he wasn’t looking for JOOOS! and we won’t either. HINT: the iconic fellow he mentions first, that modern American saint dupe propped up in place by his equally WASP-y handlers? He isn’t Jewish either.

      In the South there was a familiar saying, one which is now passing out of common parlance as the times have made it anachronistic. But it was once well-known and often quoted. This aphorism concerned an old black farmer bitter about the suffering he’d endured at the hands of white men for daring to create a black farmer’s union, or trying to. The story went like this: one morning the farmer went out to survey his cotton fields. Overnight, they’d been ravaged by boll weevils; the whole crop was lost. It is claimed that the old man heaved a sigh and said, “all God’s evils ain’t a white man”.

      Same goes for the history of the West: all God evils ain’t a Jew.

      • Anybody who once adopts Communism as a ‘religious’ belief shows themselves capable of bad (irrational) judgement; a person who has at some time been unable to ‘see; the hard and unyielding ‘wood’ for the emotional glory that is in the ‘trees’.

        American Betrayal is about the hardest of hard wood and required x-ray vision to be able to ‘see’, a talent poorly represented in the ‘neocon’ batcave.

        I can admit to sometimes feeling a pang of jealousy when somebody else writes something that I feel I should have written; but ‘they’ got there first and ‘stole’ my thunder.

        As a writer, I am little league, Horror-wits and co. are relatively big league, and must therefore have bigger and more virile emotions to put on display (and the means to do it).

        I suspect that there are irrational green-eyed monsters lurking in the back of that batcave

  2. Thanks, Dymphna. You’re right, I wasn’t Jew-hunting. I knew Horowitz was Jewish, but not the Radish. Diana West is Jewish, too. But their religious backgrounds were irrelevant to me. It was the contents of their minds and their accomplishments. Thanks for the bulleting of my questions. No response yet from the culprits, although I did inspire West to pen her own comparison of the Radish and Trumbo here: http://dianawest.net/Home/tabid/36/EntryId/3193/Trumbo-on-Steroids.aspx

    In shameless self-promotion, for the convenience of any readers, here is a link to my full body of works.


  3. “Those old Communist “let’s squelch the opposition” habits can be suppressed for a time, but flare up in the most unflattering circumstances and at the most inopportune times.”

    That’s a money quote if I ever saw one.

    Radosh and Horowitz can pound sand. The *only* reason I ever go to FrontPage is Daniel Greenfield and Matt Verdun.

    • @Bill C. Do you mean Matt Vadum? Not trying to be snarky with the crrection; merely asking for clarification.

    • I agree, Daniel Greenfield, only, makes FrontPage worth visiting. The removal of FrontPage’s initial positive review of American Betrayal authored by Mark Tapson a couple of years ago left a bad taste in my mouth that has barely dissipated. I can understand and accept an editorial decision by David Horowitz to commission and publish a contrary review, ie that of Ron Radosh, but what stinks to high heaven and seriously challenges the bona fides of Horowitz as a purveyor of freedom of ideas and a genuine intellectual is that removal decision. Orwellian control of information.

      I’ve thought long and hard about Ron Radosh’s motivations and personality ever since he launched his vituperative attack on Diana West. It comes to this :a breast-fed Leftist who established himself in his career as a man of the Left, decided, when it was politically safe to do so, carve out an *edgy* market niche for himself (and wife) by *boldly* writing a book that informed us that the Rosenbergs were in fact guilty. (With the subtext: “Look at us: my wife and I are Jewish too, just like the Rosenbergs!” Bravo!) Only several decades after any reasonably dispassionate observer would have come to the same conclusion. Put another way Radosh is just a rank opportunist and egoist, working out ways to publicly keep himself at the purported forefront of independent thinking. And he never lost his Stalinist capacity and willingness to viciously try to destroy the reputations of people like Diana West.

      The most amusing thing about Radosh is that he criticized/dismissed Diana West’s book as (in part) a mere rehash of stuff that everybody already knew anyway. As my grandmother used to say “The pot calling the kettle black!” His Rosenberg book fits that “rehash” formula perfectly. I look forward to Radosh writing a book that informs us that Stalin was a murderous tyrant!

      I would be grateful if anybody knows what Radosh’s reaction to the late great Robert Conquest’s “The Great Terror” at the time it was first published.

    • Personally, I would have liked sources for Mr. Greenfield’s statistics, so ably cited in his column. To spread these numbers further *and* to maintain credibility, the sources are crucial.


      Thx very much.

      • I posted Greenfield’s piece on my Facebook page. It got almost universal thumbs up for it. But one person questioned how “polls” could be taken in Syria under Assad. I contacted Greenfield and pasted her query verbatim in the email. He replied:

        “First of all not all the polls were taken in Syria. Nor were all of the polls taken in territory controlled by Assad.

        Finally, Assad was not going to kill anyone for simply not viewing funding to Hamas as a priority, which is the subject of one poll.

        If everyone was simply answering out of fear, the results would look like a Soviet election. They don’t.”

  4. Mr Horowitz’s trashing of Ms West’s book diminished his stature in my eyes. American Betrayal is one of the most informative books I’ve read in many years. Full credit to Diana West, shame on Mr Horowitz for turning on someone who should be a natural ally. If he’s actually turned his back on communism. I’m always wary of converts, whether in religion or politics.

  5. I read the whole article and found convincing the case for the hyper-sensitivity of the Jewish detractors of Diana West. I guess it is an all too human response to lash out when the truth hurts or when one’s ideas are challenged so successfully. (Jews did not acquit themselves well in Poland at the close of the WW2, when Germans were turfed out of their homes either. Two wrongs don’t make a right.)

    However, with anti-semitism on the rise again, it is understandable that Jews are hyper-vigilant. I am shocked at the virulence of the hatred, Zionist Conspiracy theories and Holocaust-denial that one sees on-line!

    I suspect that a lot of anti-semitism is envy, because Jews are ‘too clever by half!’
    Almost the whole planet is now out to get them. It’s disgusting!

    Every individual, whether Jew or non-Jew, is responsible for his or her private actions and not for the few bad apples which exist in every population! Furthermore, when one looks at the contribution of Jewish people to Western culture – Moses, Jesus of Nazareth, Spinoza, Niels Bohr, Richard Feynman, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Freud – both Sigmund and Lucien, Mahler, L Bernstein, Proust, Heine, Martin Buber (unfortunately) Marx, to name the bare minimum, and a host of modern philosophers, writers and scientists, one is reminded that we stand in awe of their enormous achievements. Long live the Jewish people!

    • I’ve often had the same thought: anti-Semitism is a strange kind of bigotry, and the most logical explanation seems to be envy.

      • Radegunda, you’re completely right. As a white South African we are on the receiving end of the same bigotry from blacks. Bottom line, its foundation is envy. It’s by far the cruelest form of punishment I ever experienced.

      • Envy is a huge part of it.

        An Italian psychiatrist friend of mine posits that Jew-hatred is a mental disorder suffered by people who are searching for an all-encompassing explanation for both their own personal inadequacies and failures and the broader ills of the world: economic booms and busts, etc. Ayaan Hirsi Ali recalls in “Infidel” that in Saudi Arabia if the plumbing didn’t work properly “the Jews” were blamed.

        The two genuine Jew-haters I know well are very different people.

        One is an intelligent lawyer of English descent and lower middle class background who as a private schoolboy (his parents scrimped to get him there) evidently fancied himself a genius – a big fish in a small pond – but upon entering law school semi-realized that he wasn’t. He is simply resentful that Jews are so successful in the legal world. If one speaks to him about what a stupendous brain this or that Jewish lawyer or judge has he visibly squirms.

        The other is a street smart woman in her 40’s , moderately attractive, with no tertiary education and a working class background who hasn’t achieved anything in life, but has a quite extraordinarily misplaced sense of her own level of intelligence and understanding of the world. She refuses to let her illegitimate daughter drink Coca-Cola for ideological reasons, but Fanta is okay (failing to understand that they are both made by the same evil multinational corporation). She is very proud of her left wing politics and aspires to make films about “Palestine’, her addiction to marijuana prevents her from realizing this dream, even if she had the skills. So she maintains a obsessive focus on hating Israel and “Zionists” which, when she is intoxicated, becomes simply “Jews”.

  6. I am a reader of what you call Neocons, am a Conservative Republican who believes in a strong National Security and understands Radical Islam is the enemy and must be defeated. Also Putin is not to be trusted.

    That said, I have read Diana West’s American Betrayal and was spot on.
    I have collected for decades books pub. in the 1940s and 1950s going into the
    Soviet cells in the FDR Adm. and his agenda with his uncle Joe Stalin.
    Was very familiar with what Diana was saying.
    If more people understood this, they would see the big picture.

    • I don’t dismiss everything the neocons write. Often they’re spot on with an analysis of Islam or Obama and so on. The information resource I value the most of Horowitz’s Discover the Networks, which is a mother lode of data on all of our favorite villains. It contains information that just isn’t otherwise available elsewhere.

  7. I had a great deal of respect for David Horowitz. He has been a very effective opponent of the Left. I was therefore disappointed with his attack on Diana West. It was not a reasoned attempt at rebuttal, but a vicious ad hominem attack. Even more disappointing was the fact that Ron Radosh was able to enlist Harvey Klehr, a respected expert on Soviet matters, in his crusade against West. Klehr commented, “In our more than twenty years of archivally based research on Soviet espionage in America, we have uncovered ample documentation of Soviet intelligence obtaining American technical, military, and diplomatic information but very little indicating successful policy manipulation.” This is counter to what West documented in her book. I asked Dr. Klehr to clarify his statement and gave him the example of Harry Dexter White. He responded, “my guess is that it was White acting on his own.”  
    A writer’s most valuable asset is credibility. Without it his work is little better than fiction. Arguments must be rational and thoroughly sourced. Diana West has done this and her opponents have not.

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