The war of words to define American Betrayal as being beyond the boundaries of rational, productive debate is over. The same book that Ronald Radosh condemned as “yellow journalism conspiracy theories,” and that David Horowitz publicly declared I “should not have written,” former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky and his colleague Pavel Stroilov have now praised as “huge and brilliant.”
The 5,000-word Bukovsky-Stroilov review, which recently appeared at Breitbart News, may be an author’s dream come true, but that’s not to say the Russians are “correct.” What ends this war of words is that Bukvosky and Stroilov have decisively laid to rest the diktat, originating at Frontpage Magazine, that there can be no diverging from the orthodoxy about me and my book as set forth by Frontpage and echoed, completely unopposed for the past eight weeks, in a series of copycat pieces on multiple, leading conservative sites.
(Kudos to Breitbart News for being the gigantic exception in covering and featuring all sides of the debate. Kudos also to Canadian poet, author, and essayist David Solway for being the lone Frontpage contributor to publish two dissents–elsewhere. And a big shout-out to the spirited commenters and bloggers–in Horowitz’s words, the “kook army”–who spontaneously erupted in my defense, or, more important, in defense of free and civil debate after the appearance of every attack-piece.)
Establishing a party line, a conservative party line, against American Betrayal seems to have been what spurred Frontpage into battle from the start–that moment, in Horowitz’s telling, when Radosh persuaded him to remove an initial, positive review of my book from the Frontpage website on July 8, 2013. It was as if to say there would and should be only one response to my book, and he, Radosh, would write it.
The success of the ensuing effort, spearheaded by Radosh’s 7,000-word “take-down” (his word) of American Betrayal published at Frontpage on August 7, 2013, was always going to depend on making positive opinions of American Betrayal seem suspect, glaringly ignorant, or the result of my supposed wiles.
For example, pace Radosh, I “seduced” highly respected conservative writers such as Amity Shlaes and Monica Crowley into “reckless endorsements” of American Betrayal–even whole entities, such as The Heritage Foundation and Breitbart News. It is notable that the endorsement of celebrated Cold War scholar M. Stanton Evans, which is on the cover of my book, and, subsequently, his article, “In Defense of Diana West,” haven’t been mentioned in any of the attacks. I have suspected all along that this is a tactic to pretend such respected validation doesn’t exist.
There was no ignoring Bukovsky and Stroilov’s review, however. It thoroughly neutralizes the Horowitz-Radosh attempt to enforce a party line on American Betrayal. No matter what is ever said about me or American Betrayal again, there is now and always will be this uniquely formidable Other Side. This is why when the Bukovsky-Stroilov review appeared on September 28, 2013, the Frontpage campaign collapsed for good.
And so it is almost sad to see Horowitz’s reflex response, published first at Breitbart News and then again at Frontpage. In this response, Horowitz tries to shrink a brilliant essay coauthored by a towering world figure, Vladimir Bukovsky, heir to Solzhenitsyn, a dissident leader and literary light who spent 12 years in Soviet labor camps and psychiatric hospitals, to fit the terribly small and bizarre headline, “Another Personal Attack by Diana West and Her Friends.” (Note: Obviously, I didn’t write the Bukovsky-Stroilov review. While I have exchanged cordial emails with Bukovsky and Stroilov lately, I did not know either of them before.) Horowitz then proclaims that he “grieves” to see Bukovsky has “[joined] the character assassins that Diana West has mobilized,” which, in his garish embellishment at Frontpage, morph into “her wolf-pack.”
Wolf-pack? I won’t go on–why bother?–except to correct one new and disturbing falsehood. (See “The Rebuttal” here, here and here for more corrections.) Horowitz falsely claims that I characterize the Allied defeat of Nazi armies as “an ethnic cleansing of anti-Bolsheviks.” A high school freshman reading American Betrayal couldn’t miss the fact that in truth, in reality, the quotation Horowitz cites refers not to the defeat of Nazi armies but to the forced repatriation program (1944-1947) in which U.S. and British forces colluded with Stalin to forcibly return to death camps and/or the Gulag some two million or more Soviet-claimed nationals seeking refuge from Bolshevism at the end of the war.
Horowitz says he hopes his last piece is his last piece. So do I. It is high time to take a page from Bukovsky and Stroilov and engage in the freewheeling debate of ideas I hope will finally be inspired by American Betrayal.