Skip to content

West: National Review Must Retract ‘FDR, Truman, and Ike: Not Communists, Just Naïfs’ by Ron Capshaw

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

Last month, Diana West submitted an article to National Review, after it published an attack on her book, American Betrayal. The magazine refused to run her response to the piece, which is reprinted below:

Dear National Review Editors,

The submission below is self-explanatory; however, I wish to make a request for publication.

I appreciate the space you have given me in the past to respond to NRO’s many attacks on my book.

My first response, however, was posted at The Corner blog so it disappeared from sight quickly. My second response was posted as “Letter to the Editor,” and thus had little chance of drawing readers to it.

This time, I ask that you run my response as an article on the homepage with the headline as written and my name as author.

Please confirm receipt of submission, and please also let me know if you accept my request for appropriate display.

Sincerely,

Diana West

“Why National Review Should Retract `FDR, Truman, and Ike: Not Communists, Just Naïfs’ by Ron Capshaw”

By Diana West

On April 18, 2015, nearly two years after my book American Betrayal was published by St. Martin’s Press, National Review Online published its fifth piece attacking it. The article is by Ron Capshaw. It is also Capshaw’s fifth attack on my book. Aside from a previous attack in passing also appearing at NRO (which brings NRO’s tally to six attacks in all), Capshaw has published three other attacks on my book at three different outlets.

Capshaw is not alone in having written multiple attacks on American Betrayal. (I will explain below why these attack-pieces do not constitute reviews.) Ronald Radosh has published at least five. Conrad Black, four. David Horowitz, four. Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes have weighed in on three occasions in ancillary fashion. In this quite peculiar fraternal order, the motto seems to be: “One is not enough.”

Besides a malign obsession with my work, there is another condition of membership in this cabal: Members’ output must fail to intersect, let alone grapple with American Betrayal’s actual contents. This is why cabal output is not to be confused with reviews, even negative reviews. This is why cabal output, in my opinion, constitutes a disinformation campaign to misrepresent my work and undermine my credibility.

Over the past two years, I have, and at great length, demonstrated on numerous occasions that the many charges against me and my book are false, and that my detractors have grossly misrepresented, distorted or even fabricated for purposes of straw-man-attack the contents of my book. My most comprehensive effort, a 22,000 word rebuttal first published (and archived here, here and here) at Breitbart News, is also available as a paperback and Kindle under the title The Rebuttal: Defending American Betrayal from the Book-Burners. This book also features essays from defenders of American Betrayal, among them such notables as the late M. Stanton Evans, and co-founder of the Soviet dissident movement, Vladimir Bukovsky.

One would think that the long campaign against American Betrayal would have come to an end by this late date. But no. Thus, I must again dispense with disinformation contained in this latest attack as published by National Review.

To do so in as short order as possible, I have extracted and added emphasis to the Capshaw article’s main inferences and charges.

I will begin with the headline:

“FDR, Truman, and Ike: Not Communists, Just Naïfs”

The inference is that American Betrayal argues that, yes, indeed, these presidents were “Communists.”

This is not in my book.

Capshaw:

To get at the type of thinking that declared [FDR, Truman and Eisenhower] to be consciously pro-Soviet, you have to go forward a few years from the early 1950s to the days of the John Birch Society in the late ’50s.

This is not in my book.

Capshaw:

Like those on the Right who saw a Communist under every bed and seated behind the Oval Office desk, West

Not in my book.

Capshaw:

It was this group [John Birch Society] — or, to be more specific, their leader, Robert Welch — that charged FDR with deliberately partnering with Joe Stalin against Hitler to advance the Soviet empire,

Not in my book.

Capshaw:

who believed Truman and his secretary of state Dean Acheson had deliberately led U.S. soldiers into a deathtrap in Korea thus again aiding the Soviet Union by depleting U.S. manpower;

Not in my book.

Capshaw:

and who accused Eisenhower, based on his attempts to negotiate with Khrushchev and his refusal to put ground troops into Vietnam, of being a Soviet agent

Not in my book.

Capshaw:

While dealing with McCarthy only peripherally, Diana West’s American Betrayal dusts off this view of FDR as a traitor.

Not in my book.

Capshaw:

Diana West moves beyond merely defending McCarthy or portraying Roosevelt as naive to asserting a conscious treachery on the president’s part.

Not in my book.

West says she has relied on Venona to make these assertions …

In truth, myriad sources are cited in American Betrayal’s nearly 1,000 endnotes. Besides Venona, these sources include Congressional records, State Department records, FBI records, memoirs, letters, newspapers and journals, and many histories, intelligence studies, biographies, and the like. Prominent among these are works by Bukovsky, Conquest, Evans, Muggeridge, Sherwood and Solzhenitsyn.

Capshaw:

Had [FDR] been the Communist portrayed by West …

Not in my book.

Capshaw:

Had [FDR] been the Bolshevik that West portrays him …

Not in my book.

Capshaw:

West makes great hay of the fact that FDR diplomatically recognized the Soviet Union

ONE TRUE THING FINALLY.

Capshaw:

West uses FDR’s decision to ignore Chambers’ allegations as evidence of the Communist orientation of the administration.

NOT IN MY BOOK. To underscore: the anecdote recounting “FDR’s decision” re Chambers’ allegations is nowhere mentioned in American Betrayal.

Capshaw:

West doesn’t consider the implications of her view that D-Day was a communist plot.

FALSE.

On the contrary, in American Betrayal, my thought experiment about D-Day, Harry Hopkins and influence operations, is minutely analyzed at great length for its implications. See Chapter Nine, which is available free online here.

Capshaw:

By West’s lights, [Chambers and Orwell] could have been saps, tools, or — dare I say it — conscious traitors.

NOT IN MY BOOK OR “BY MY LIGHTS.”

Capshaw:

She also doesn’t consider that Roosevelt might not have been pro-Soviet as much as simply naïve about Stalin —

FALSE.

From American Betrayal, p. 318: “The man [FDR] remains a mystery in so many, many ways, but I doubt the light ever penetrated, ever could penetrate, what Sherwood called that “heavily forested interior.” He remained America’s Dupe Number One to the end. Of course, what does that say about we who worship the man as a veritable demigod?”

Capshaw:

Even more preposterous is her claim that Truman was pro-Communist

NOT IN MY BOOK.

On the contrary, American Betrayal argues that Truman’s reflex to ignore, suppress or even punish specific revelations of massive and ongoing Soviet infiltration of the federal government was guided by Democratic partisanship.

See, for example, American Betrayal, p, 163: “…the concerns of the Truman White House centered not on what White and other Soviet agents might have done or were still doing to the U.S. government, but rather on what impact the exposure of their deeds might have on the Democratic Party and the 1948 presidential election. When political advantage is of greater concern than national security, the restorative action is reconcealment to try to make it all go away. This was the course the Truman administration was looking to take.”

Capshaw:

Also dubious is West’s argument, shared by right-wingers at the time, that the U.S. effort in Korea was a death trap orchestrated by Communists in the government

NOT IN MY BOOK.  Nowhere in American Betrayal does any such Korea ”death trap” discussion even appear, let alone appear as “[my] argument”!

Capshaw:

She points to his [Eisenhower’s] summits with Khrushchev as proof of some type of Communist-directed plot, along with Ike’s refusal to put troops into Vietnam.

NOT IN MY BOOK. Again, nowhere in American Betrayal do I even mention, let alone “point” to these items — not Eisenhower’s “summits with Kruchschev,” not “Ike’s refusal to put troops in Vietnam.”

Whether this ugly skein of falsehoods is the result of negligence or recklessness, “FDR, Truman, and Ike: Not Communists, Just Naïfs” by Ron Capshaw is a disgrace to National Review. I call on the editors to retract it.

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America’s Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization, both published by St. Martin’s Press.


Comment count on this article reflects comments made on Breitbart.com and Facebook. Visit Breitbart's Facebook Page.