Sunday, June 7, 2015

Diana West Does It Again

            Diana West’s American Betrayal was subject to yet another attack in National Review.  A rebuttal followed In Breitbart.  The comments in response to this article were overwhelmingly critical of Ron Capshaw’s assault.  Why would an enterprise continue with a policy that is obviously unpopular with its customers?  One of the most damning charges concerned the dishonesty of the article.  Howard Glickstein described “the consistently dishonest treatment NR has given to Diana West's book.”  He asserted, “You have knowingly and repeatedly published as facts demonstrable falsehoods that any fact checking intern would catch,” and that, “Dozens of lies are not an accident.”  Anyone who has read American Betrayal knows that Capshaw’s article does not provide a fair assessment of her work.  This is a matter of integrity.  As Glickstein asks, “The inescapable question: since you're lying about this, what else are you lying to me about?”

            I have not done much research on the decision to invade Northern France as opposed to continuing the march through Italy.  I was willing to concede that Diana West’s critics might have a point.  Would it be easier to reach Germany by crossing a 22 mile channel or by going over the Alps?  Diana comes down on the Alpine route.  She asserts the decision was made to benefit the Soviets.  Her critics point out that this is absurd.  However, there are suspicious contortions in the record that might indicate that she is correct.  She quotes General Eisenhower remarks at the Cairo Conference, “Italy was the correct place in which to deploy our main forces and the objective should be the Valley of the Po. In no other area could we so well threaten the whole German structure including France, the Balkans and the Reich itself. Here also our air would be closer to vital objectives in Germany”  “The next best method of harrying the enemy was to undertake operations in the Aegean . . . From here the Balkans could be kept aflame, Ploesti would be threatened and the Dardanelles might be opened.”  Curiously Eisenhower makes no mention of this in his memoir, Crusade in Europe.  In fact she states, “Eisenhower doesn’t mention his enthusiastic advocacy of military measures in line with Churchill’s preferred strategy in his memoir. Anywhere.”  She goes to quote his memoir, “My own recommendation, then as always, was that no operation should be undertaken in the Mediterranean except as a directly supporting move for the Channel attack and that our planned redeployment [out of Italy] should proceed with all possible speed.”

            There is a major problem with researching events during this conflict.  The level of mendacity is appalling.  Memoirs are naturally self-serving and the official records are not much better.  Why did it take 18 years for the State Department to publish the records of the Cairo Conference?  The decision to halt U.S. forces before they could liberate Berlin, Prague, and Vienna is often attributed to Eisenhower.  However, it is more likely that this was agreed to during one of these wartime conferences.  Bryton Barron, assistant chief of the State Department’s research and publications division, reveals that government publications are bowdlerized in his Inside The State Department.  Diana West does the research and uncovers the inconsistencies.  Apparently this is unforgivable.

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