“Well-designed attacks on an opponent’s credibility can overpower well-crafted messages.”
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.
Here is the Horowitz email.
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.
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.
I will now address the introductory matter in Radosh’s “McCarthy on Steroids” and identify more than twenty falsehoods.
Editors’ note: FrontPage offered Diana West equal space to reply to Professor Radosh’s points below. She refused.
1) FALSE (addressed above).
Many Americans at both ends of the political spectrum view history in conspiratorial terms. The late Senator Joseph McCarthy set the bar very high when he claimed to have uncovered “a conspiracy on a scale so immense as to dwarf any previous such venture in the history of man. A conspiracy of infamy so black that, when it is finally exposed, its principals shall be forever deserving of the maledictions of all honest men.” In that famous speech to the Senate on June 14, 1951, McCarthy condemned former Chief of Staff of the Army and Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense as a traitor who made “common cause with Stalin on the strategy of the war in Europe,” who “took the strategic direction of the war out of Roosevelt’s hands and – who fought the British desire, shared by [General] Mark Clark, to advance from Italy into the eastern plains of Europe ahead of the Russians.”
Diana West, who expands the scope of this conspiracy in American Betrayal, is McCarthy’s heiress.
2) FALSE: I don’t “expand” the scope of any conspiracy.
FACT: My book, which I began writing in an effort to understand the phenomenon of Islamic influence on the policy-making chain in the post-9/11 period, examines the phenomenon of Communist influence on the policy-making chain, a secret intelligence war planned and directed from Moscow. The “scope” of conspiracy here is Stalin’s (and Lenin’s before him). It is neither McCarthy’s conspiracy for attempting to uncover it nor mine for writing about it.
She argues that during the New Deal the United States was an occupied power, its government controlled by Kremlin agents who had infiltrated the Roosevelt administration and subverted it.(Emphasis added.)
3) FALSE: The phrase “the United States was an occupied power” does not appear in American Betrayal. This connotes a state of military occupation that is not under consideration.
FACT: I argue at length that the strategic placement of hundreds of agents of Stalin’s influence inside the US government and other institutions amounted to a “de facto occupation” (p. 114). Later (p. 193), I write: “The vast and deep extent of Communist penetration, heretofore denied, had in fact reached a tipping point to become a de facto Communist occupation of the American center of power.”
3a) FALSE: Further, the word “controlled” appears on 16 pages in American Betrayal, but is never used to describe the relationship of Kremlin agents and the US government. Again, not in my book. Why isn’t it? The word doesn’t apply to the influence operations under discussion. By virtue of the amorphous nature of deception and disinformation, influence operations do not work in such concrete ways, as Radosh and Horowitz should, but don’t seem to, understand.
FACT: On almost 50 pages of American Betrayal, I reference and discuss Soviet, Communist, Marxist “influence” and “influence operations.” There is no discussion of this in the Radosh “take-down.” There is no explanation of the concept I define as a “de facto occupation” that permitted Kremlin agents to “influence” the US government. Radosh repeatedly mischaracterizes the “influence” I write about as “control” throughout his “take-down.”
Like McCarthy, whom West believes got everything correct [sic], she believes a conspiracy was at work that effectively enabled the Soviets to be the sole victors in World War II and shape American policies in the postwar world.
4) FALSE: Read the article Radosh links to as his “proof” of the categorical statement. Nowhere does my article say McCarthy “got everything correct [sic].”
FACT: I believe McCarthy was generally right, however. There was indeed massive, Kremlin-directed Communist infiltration of the US government that he and other elected officials from both parties set out to uncover in the 1940s and 1950s (and up to the 1970s). This is a fact and a factor, I argue at great length in American Betrayal, that we as a people have not integrated into the telling of our general history.
Writing sixty years later, she claims that the evidence that has come to light in the interim not only vindicates McCarthy’s claims but goes well beyond anything he imagined.
5) FALSE: Evidence has come to light that vindicates many, many of McCarthy’s claims, but I do not claim such evidence goes “well beyond anything he imagined.” (In other words, not in my book.) It may or may not go beyond what McCarthy imagined. I bring this up not as a matter of semantics but because in the book I do repeatedly emphasize this notion of “not knowing the half of it” – but, it so happens, not with regard to Joseph McCarthy.
FACT: I link this notion of “not knowing the half of it” two or three times to the ex-Communist witnesses Whittaker Chambers and Elizabeth Bentley; later to the ex-Socialist writer Eugene Lyons; also, Gen. Mark Clark, Rep. Martin Dies, and AP executive Kent Cooper – all as they bear witness to or attempt to understand what is in fact a larger Soviet-directed infiltration than they can possibly know about. I seized on this notion from the conclusion of Spies by John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev, who wrote:
“It was no witch hunt that led American counterintelligence officials to investigate government employees and others with access to sensitive information for Communist ties… but a rational response to the extent to which the Communist Party had become an appendage of Soviet intelligence. And, as the documents in Vassiliev’s notebooks make plain, they only knew the half of it.”
Notice that Radosh, however, for purposes of his “take-down” mentions none of these key figures in my book. Instead, he falls back on that anti-anti-Communist failsafe, Joseph McCarthy, abusing the great patriot once more to smear a new attempt to assess the historical reality of Communist infiltration of the US government.
Throughout American Betrayal, West uses the terms “occupied” and “controlled” to describe the influence the Soviet Union exerted over U.S. policy through its agents and spies.
6) FALSE: As noted above (see #3a), I do not use the word “controlled” in this way.
7) FALSE: As noted above (see #3), Radosh omits my very specific explanation of and use of the term, which I introduce thus (p. 68):
“As [M. Stanton] Evans lays out in detail, much of it drawn from newly declassified FBI and Senate records, the United States wasn’t just riddled by Communist agents; we were for all intents and purposes occupied by a small army–a small army being just what this kind of war requires. Expert estimates now peg the number of Americans assisting Soviet intelligence agencies during the 1930s and 1940s as exceeding five hundred.21 Not one Aldrich Ames. Not two Rosenbergs. Not five “magnificent” Cambridgers. More than five hundred willing and variously able American traitors, many operating at the very highest levels of the federal government, with who knows how many more in support roles. This was a national security fiasco of a magnitude that has never, ever entered national comprehension.”
She believes she has exposed “the Communist-agent-occupation of the U.S. government” during the Roosevelt and Truman eras, and that her discoveries add up to a Soviet-controlled American government that conspired to strengthen Russia throughout World War II at the expense of American interests, marginalize anti-Communist Germans, and deliver the crucial material for the Atomic Bomb to Stalin and his henchmen. (Emphasis added.)
8) FALSE: I don’t “believe” I “exposed” anything that has been previously documented. This belief is not in my book.
FACT: What I have done is connect some dots and also resurrect what has long been in plain sight – or, perhaps, obscured from plain sight by left-liberal convention, Soviet design, elite complicity and the like. Everything in my book is open record, and appropriately sourced. The breathlessness in this charge is Radosh’s alone.
8a) FALSE: Note the repetition of the term “Soviet-controlled American government.”
FACT: As noted above (see #3a, #6), I do not use the word “controlled” in this way, and, in fact, repeatedly describe a Soviet-influenced American government. Again, not in my book.
8b) As noted above (see #3, #7), I discuss “de facto” occupation – a concept Radosh ignores.
8c) Another FALSE phrase contained in the Radosh sentence above concerns the delivery of “the crucial material” for Stalin’s atomic bomb. The concept of “crucial” falls into the Radosh pattern of exaggeration noted above.
FACT: American Betrayal discusses the documented, three-quarters of a ton of uranium that went through to Stalin under pressure of Harry Hopkins’ Lend-Lease program – and much more. Such exaggeration by Radosh and Horowitz is inaccurate. On p. 126 of American Betrayal, historian Richard Rhodes offers a better way to think about the 23 atomic materials including uranium (and don’t forget over 13 million pounds of aluminum tubing) that Lend-Lease sent Stalin during World War II: Such ingredients, Rhodes writes, were “useful in constructing and controlling a nuclear reactor.”
It also conspired to cover up the betrayal. In West’s summation: “The Roosevelt administration [was] penetrated, fooled, subverted, in effect hijacked by Soviet agents… and engaged in a ‘sell-out’ to Stalin” that “conspirators of silence on the Left…would bury for as long as possible, desperately throwing mud over it and anyone who wanted the sun to shine in.”
The quotation in full:
“The Roosevelt administration, penetrated, fooled, subverted, in effect hijacked, by Soviet agents, as a matter of national policy, mixed them up [US war interests and Soviet war interests], much to the world’s deep, vast suffering. This `sell-out’ to Stalin, as critics tagged it (and they didn’t know the half of it), would become a bone of sharpest and most vociferous contention that the conspirators of silence on the Left, in the Democratic Party, and among the Washington elites would bury for as long as possible, desperately throwing mud over it and anyone who wanted to let the sun shine in. Why? As G. Bernard Noble, chief of the Division of Historical Policy Research at the State Department, wrote to Secretary of State Dean Acheson in 1950, the publication of the Yalta papers, for example, would `embarrass’ too many people and, in the acid paraphrase of Bryton Barron, fired Yalta archivist and author of Inside the State Department, `lead to demands for publication of the minutes of other conferences.’36
“More exposure, and we can’t have that.”
According to West, it was only because Washington was “Communist-occupied” that the United States aligned itself with the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany.
9) FALSE. Like so many false Radosh statements, this one is unsupported by any quotations.
FACT: The manner in which Radosh, deliberately or ineptly, mischaracterizes my thesis is a challenge to overcome throughout this rebuttal process. This particular claim does not appear in my book. It is true, of course, that pro-Soviet and Soviet influence inside our government helped foster the US-USSR military alliance. The implication Radosh seems to advance suggests, sans Communist influence, Washington might have aligned itself with Nazi Germany, and that’s not in my book.
That said, I do argue that the US relationship with the Soviet Union from recognition (1933) forward precipitated a moral decline that grew from our government’s continual need to lie to cover up Soviet crime, even against this country and its citizens, in order to continue such relations and, later, military alliance. This alliance, I argue, drew us into actual and increasing complicity with one genocidal monster to defeat another genocidal monster, a concept explained by Solzhenitsyn, whom − among other luminaries, including Conquest, Koestler, Orwell, Besancon − I discuss at great length in the book. The Radosh “take-down” never mentions any of them.
From American Betrayal, p. 196:
“The fact is, the implications of normalizing relations with the thoroughly abnormal USSR didn’t just reward and legitimize a regime of rampantly metasticizing criminality. Because the Communist regime was so openly and ideologically dedicated to our destruction, the act of recognition defied reason and the demands of self-preservation. Recognition and all that came with it, including alliance, would soon become the enemy of reason and self-preservation. In this way, as Dennis J. Dunn points out, we see a double standard in American foreign policy evolve, and, I would add, in American thinking more generally. It was here that we abandoned the lodestars of good and evil, the clarity of black and white. Closing our eyes, we dove head first into a weltering morass of exquisitely enervating and agonizing grays.”
Later, on p. 205:
“As Solzhenitsyn would later tell us, `World democracy could have defeated one totalitarian regime after another, the German, and then the Soviet. Instead it strengthened Soviet totalitarianism [and] helped bring into existence a third totalitarianism, that of China.’ “72
But Ms. West writes without an understanding of historical context and lacks awareness of much of the scholarly literature on the subjects she writes about.
10) FALSE: As noted above, (see Author’s Note), Radosh obscures the extensive bibliography American Betrayal draws from, as indicated in the book’s 944 endnotes. As noted above (see Author’s Note), my true crime here is rejecting the “scholarly” (read: liberal) consensus as drastically incomplete.
Moreover, she disregards the findings of the sources she does rely on when they contradict her yellow journalism conspiracy theories.
FACT: I do not disregard the finding of sources when they contradict. See for example p. 147, p. 164, p. 267, p. 372.
11a) I do not write “yellow journalism conspiracy theories.” Never have, never will. “Yellow journalism” is a sensational style of journalism that is sourced thinly or not at all. American Betrayal is densely, thickly sourced with 900-plus endnotes. (I note this again, because Radosh never cites or describes my extensive, careful documentation.) My sources include congressional investigations, State Department records, memoirs, histories, biographies, military histories, diplomatic histories, intelligence histories, newspapers, magazines, the writings of Solzhenitsyn, Koestler, Conquest, Orwell, Lyons, Kravchenko, Dallin, etc.
11b) I do not write “conspiracy theories.” I write about the Soviet conspiracy – an extensively documented fact, not a theory.
Consequently she arrives at judgment after judgment that is not only bizarre on its face, but also unwarranted by the evidence and refuted by the very authorities she draws on.
12) FALSE: Radosh’s opinion (“bizarre”) aside: The evidence for my judgements is plentiful whether or not Radosh omits mention of its range and depth, as listed in 900-plus endnotes.
My judgments are based on my reading of the evidence.
Take it or leave it, but don’t distort it.
As a historian I normally would not have agreed to review a book such as this one. But I changed my mind after seeing the reckless endorsements of its unhinged theories by a number of conservative individuals and organizations.
These included the Heritage Foundation which has hosted her for book promotions at a lunchtime speech and a dinner; Breitbart.com which is serializing America Betrayed; PJ Media which has already run three favorable features on West; Amity Shlaes, who writes unnervingly that West’s book, “masterfully reminds us what history is for: to suggest action for the present”; and by conservative political scientist and media commentator Monica Crowley, who called West’s book “A monumental achievement.”
RECKLESS ENDORSEMENTS? Over to you, Monica, Amity, Heritage, PJM, Heritage, Breitbart, et al.
NOTE: “Bizarre”? Here’s bizarre: From his list of “reckless endorsements,” Radosh omits the “reckless endorsement” I received from M. Stanton Evans, author of Blacklisted by History:The Untold Story of Sen. Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies, and, with the late Soviet subversion and counterintelligence expert, Herbert Romerstein, Stalin’s Secret Agents: The Subversion of Roosevelt’s Government. This is truly “bizarre” because Evans’ praise for American Betrayal is proudly displayed on the front cover.
For the record, Evans wrote: “This explosive book is a long-needed answer to court histories that continue to obscure key facts about our backstage war with Moscow. American Betrayal is must-reading for serious students of security issues and Cold War deceptions, both foreign and domestic.”
Could Evans’ omission in Radosh’s list of “reckless” endorsers be due to the fact that Evans authored an epic evisceration of Radosh’s sloppy and mendacious review of Blacklisted by History? Or, more to the point, could it be because Evans is the foremost authority on the McCarthy era and because Evans’ valued endorsement of my book might detract from Radosh’s attempted “take-down”?
West has evidently seduced conservatives who are justifiably appalled by the left’s rewriting of history, its denials that Communists ever posed a threat, and its claim that Communist infiltration was a destructive myth created by witch-hunters intent on suppressing dissent.
For these readers, West’s credibility derives from her aggressive counter vision. For those who have not read the important works of Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes, Christopher Andrew, Alexander Vassiliev, Allen Weinstein and others, what she has written may seem a revelation, as she herself claims.
13) FALSE: I do not claim as revelation the findings of other authors.
FACT: Rather, I quote and cite their work.
But for anyone familiar with the historical literature, the core of what she has written is well known and what is new is either overheated, or simply false and distorted–the sort of truculent recklessness that gives anti-communism a bad name.
FOUL: Ad hominem. No evidence. (The evidence Radosh does present I rebut below. I will show that the “truculent recklessness” on display is Radosh’s.)
One of the most unsettling aspects of West’s use of previous authorities who provide the only reliable information in her book is the way she attacks the very writers who pioneered in exposing Soviet espionage and infiltration, while also disregarding their conclusions when they don’t agree with hers.
14) FALSE: I do not “attack” any of these authorities.
In a typical instance, she writes: “[Christopher] Andrew and [Vasili] Mitrokhin seem fairly hip to the problem, but then soft-soap its cause.”
FOUL: That’s an “attack”?
Even more preposterously she writes of those of us who drew attention to the guilt of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg that we view it as a matter of personal conscience and not “an issue of national security.”
15) FALSE: I do not write about Ronald Radosh in my book. I expound on the conclusions of others.
This is absurd and anyone who has read The Rosenberg File or the many articles I have written since about the case would know it.
16) FALSE: I do not write about Ronald Radosh.
She attacks Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev, among the greatest scholars of Soviet espionage, for their failure to connect “treachery with its impact,” by which she means that they failed to come to her wild-eyed conclusion that Soviet espionage was not only a clear and present danger but succeeded in making America a puppet of its Kremlin masters. As a result, she writes, “The recent confirmations of guilt often show up as mere technicalities… The reckoning eludes us.”
FACT: Here, from Amercan Betrayal, is proof I did not “attack” Weinstein and Vassiliev (et al).
Today, archival evidence, unearthed by researchers in Russia and released in the United States, proves Judge Kaufman to have been correct. “Absent an atomic bomb, Stalin would not have unleashed Pyongyang’s army to conquer the entire Korean peninsula,” Herbert Romerstein and Eric Breindel, authors of The Venona Secrets: Exposing Soviet Espionage and America’s Traitors, concluded in 2000. “Confident that his possession of atomic weapons neutralized America’s strategic advantage, Stalin was emboldened to unleash war in Korea in 1950,” John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev, authors of Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, wrote in 2009. These latter authors further contended that Soviet espionage, which ended up crippling America’s ability to read Soviet military communications, also ensured that the invasion of South Korea was a surprise “for which American forces were unprepared.”9
I’m guessing this revelation–that Soviet possession of an atomic bomb in 1949, due to the treachery of American Communists, helped precipitate the Korean War in 1950–is new to many readers, particularly those who have long been taught to believe that Rosenberg guilt, even when ultimately if reluctantly acknowledged, was largely a matter of “personal conscience” or political conviction, and not in any way an issue of national security. This is the typical response to this day. For example, even the landmark work The Haunted Wood, the 1999 book by Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev that amasses voluminous evidence of American treason on Moscow’s behalf during the New Deal (1930s) and war years (1940s), ultimately assesses this same evidence in the most personal terms: namely, the impact of this concerted and aggressive cam- paign of theft and subversion on the agents themselves. Their “enduring legacy,” the authors sum up in their final line, “remains one of inglorious constancy to a cruel and discredited cause.”10 Such minimization of the link between personal cause and global effect is typical, even among the greatest scholars of Soviet espionage. There has been scant attempt, to continue with the Rosenberg example, to connect their treachery with its impact: to connect the theft of nu- clear technology with 36,940 Americans killed, 91,134 wounded, and 8,176 still missing in action in a war that claimed at least two million civilian lives on both sides.11
Instead, we look back on an exhausting struggle over whether such Communist penetration existed in the first place. Communist penetration existed– the historical record amply and redundantly confirms this–but endless wrangling even today wards off a comprehensive reckoning of the impact of that penetration. Undoubtedly, this is the purpose of some of the wranglers. Like a magic word denoting an atavistic taboo, the term “McCarthyism,” used as an epithet, still stymies debate, while the nagging phrase “looking for a Communist under every bed” still dampens the blazing import of declassified revelations from the archives. The fact that there were hidden Communists practically everywhere, and probably under the bed, too, remains stuck in the limbo between old, discredited theories, and new, confirmed realities. Somehow, we never get around to judging the effects, the impact of Communism itself, whether that impact is something as concrete as a body count or something as vaporous as a sensibility. That’s why after seventy years of diligently chronicled crime, cataloged, sourced, witnessed, and experienced (the luminous names of Elinor Lipper, David Dallin, Victor Kravchenko, and, of course, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn spring to mind, as well as Robert Conquest), the recent confirmations of guilt often show up as mere technicalities, relegated to footnotes, small type, and back pages. The reckoning eludes us.
Finally, throughout her book she attacks the rigorous scholarship of John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, whose groundbreaking books on the Venona decrypts are unrivalled in exposing the true scale of Soviet espionage in the United States, and Soviet control of the American Communist Party.
18) FALSE: Again, I do not “attack” Haynes and Klehr “throughout” American Betrayal or at all. Radosh provides no supporting evidence for this charge.
FACT: See this link for a listing of every reference to Haynes and Klehr in American Betrayal.
Haynes and Klehr have also co-authored a classic study about the efforts of liberal and left historians to cover up the infiltration and its extent in a book titled In Denial: Historians, Communism and Espionage. Ignoring this record, West claims that Hayes and Klehr minimize the evidence they were the first to expose.
19) FALSE: I do not “[ignore] this record.”
FACT: I cite In Denial four times in American Betrayal.
What is really bothering her is that they do not buy her preposterous conclusion that “American statecraft was an instrument of Soviet strategy.”
19) FALSE: Nothing is bothering me but the tedious task of refuting every smear and distortion of the Radosh review.
Ignoring or denigrating these brave and accomplished scholars, West proceeds to construct a conspiracy thesis resting on five claims she believes establish a vast plot by Soviet agents and their American pawns to shape the outcome of the Second World War and in the process benefit the Communists at the expense of the West.
20) FALSE: I can’t imagine what Radosh means by “ignoring” after I have quoted their work, but I never “denigrate” these historians. See also #14, #17, #18 and this.
I have to wonder about Radosh’s repeated false charges that I, “unhinged,” “attack” or “denigrate” intelligence writers. He is not only slandering my credibility, he is impugning my temperament without any basis.
Is Radosh laying down the narrative of the “shrew”?
This is ugly stuff.
Part Two will appear tomorrow.