Wednesday, July 23, 2014

American Betrayal

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"This explosive book is a long-needed answer to court histories that continue to obscure key facts about our backstage war with Moscow. Must-reading for serious students of security issues and Cold War deceptions, both foreign and domestic."

-- M. Stanton Evans, author of Stalin's Secret Agents and Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies

"[West] only claims `to connect the dots,' which is a very modest description of the huge and brilliant work she has obviously done. ... It is not simply a good book about history. It is one of those books which makes history."

-- Vladimir Bukovsky, author of To Build a Castle and co-founder of the Soviet dissident movement, and Pavel Stroilov, author of Behind the Desert Storm.

"Every once in a while, something happens that turns a whole structure of preconceived ideas upside down, shattering tales and narratives long taken for granted, destroying prejudice, clearing space for new understanding to grow. Diana West's latest book, American Betrayal, is such an event."
 
-- Henrik Raeder Clausen, Europe News

"No book has ever frightened me as much as American Betrayal. ... It all adds up to a story so disturbing that it has changed my attitude to almost everything I think about how the world actually is."

-- Steven Kates, Quadrant

Her task is ambitious; her sweep of crucial but too-little-known facts of history is impressive; and her arguments are eloquent and witty. ... American Betrayal is one of those books that will change the way many of us see the world.

-- Susan Freis Falknor, Blue Ridge Forum

“What Diana West has done is to dynamite her way through several miles of bedrock. On the other side of the tunnel there is a vista of a new past. Of course folks are baffled. Few people have the capacity to take this in. Her book is among the most well documented I have ever read. It is written in an unusual style viewed from the perspective of the historian—but it probably couldn’t have been done any other way.”

-- Lars Hedegaard, historian, editor, Dispatch International

"Diana West's new book rewrites WWII and Cold War history not by disclosing secrets, but by illuminating facts that have been hidden in plain sight for decades. Furthermore, she integrates intelligence and political history in ways never done before."

-- Jeffrey Norwitz, former professor of counterterrorism, Naval War College

Diana West’s American Betrayal — a remarkable, novel-like work of sorely needed historical re-analysis — is punctuated by the Cassandra-like quality of “multi-temporal” awareness. ... But West, although passionate and direct, is able to convey her profoundly disturbing, multi-temporal narrative with cool brilliance, conjoining meticulous research, innovative assessment, evocative prose, and wit.

-- Andrew G. Bostom, PJ Media

Do not be dissuaded by the controversy that has erupted around this book which, if you insist on complete accuracy, would be characterized as a disinformation campaign.

-- Jed Babbin, The American Spectator

The most important anti-Communist book of our time.

-- J.R. Nyquist, contributor, And Reality Be Damned ... What Media Didn't Tell You about the End of the Cold War and the Fall of Communism in Europe

The polemics against your Betrayal have a familiar smell: The masters of the guild get angry when someone less worthy than they are ventures into the orchard in which only they are privileged to harvest. The harvest the outsider brought in, they ritually burn.

-- Hans Jansen, former professor of Islamic Thought, University of Utrecht 

West's lesson to Americans: Reality can't be redacted, buried, fabrictaed, falsified, or omitted. Her book is eloquent proof of it.

-- Edward Cline, Family Security Matters

In American Betrayal, Ms. West's well-established reputation for lacking "sacred cows" remains intact. The resulting beneficiaries are the readers, especially those who can deal with the truth.

-- Wes Vernon, Renew America

After reading American Betrayal and much of the vituperation generated by neconservative "consensus" historians, I conclude that we cannot ignore what West has demonstrated through evidence and cogent argument.

-- John Dale Dunn, M.D., J.D., Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons

Enlightening. I give American Betrayal five stars only because it is not possible to give it six.

-- John Dietrich, formerly of the Defense Intelligence Agency and author of The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy.

If you're looking for something to read, this is the most dazzling, mind-warping book I have read in a long time. It has been criticized by the folks at Front Page, but they don't quite get what Ms. West has set out to do and accomplished. I have a whole library of books on communism, but -- "Witness" excepted -- this may be the best.

-- Jack Cashill, author of Deconstructing Obama: The Lives, Loves and Letters of America's First Postmodern President and First Strike: TWA Flight 800 and the Attack on America

Diana West masterfully reminds us of what history is for: to suggest action for the present. She paints for us the broad picture of our own long record of failing to recognize bullies and villains. She shows how American denial today reflects a pattern that held strongly in the period of the Soviet Union. She is the Michelangelo of Denial.

-- Amity Shlaes, author of Coolidge and The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression

American Betrayal is a monumental achievement. Brilliant and important.

-- Monica Crowley, Fox News analyst, radio host and author of What the Bleep Just Happened: The Happy Warriors Guide to the Great American Comeback

"If you haven't read Diana West's "American Betrayal" yet, you're missing out on a terrific, real-life thriller."

-- Brad Thor, author of the New York Times bestsellers Hidden Order, Black List and The Last Patriot.


If the Soviet penetration of Washington, D.C., was so wide and so deep that it functioned like an occupation …
 
If, as a result of that occupation, American statecraft became an extension of Soviet strategy …
 
If the people who caught on – investigators, politicians, defectors – and tried to warn the American public were demonized, ridiculed and destroyed for the good of that occupation and to further that strategy …
 
And if the truth was suppressed by an increasingly complicit Uncle Sam …

Would you feel betrayed?

Now available from St. Martin's Press, American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character

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Jul 24

Written by: Diana West
Friday, July 24, 2009 9:54 AM 

It has been an extremely unsettling experience witnessing the public geysers of adulation rising up and over the life and times of Walter Cronkite for many reasons, but the myths and lies being re-perpetrated about the 1968 Tet Offensive, which figure so prominently in the making of Cronkite's outsized prominence on the American stage, deserve special mention.

In obituary after obituary, the media have made the glib, matter-of-fact, even approving link between Cronkite's Tet "stalemate" broadcast and LBJ's "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America" reversal on Vietnam without ever noting that Tet, contrary to Cronkite's and other MSM reports, was a military and political fiasco for North Vietnam -- not for the US and South Vietnam. At least not until the the story was turned into the Big Lie back in the US., and psychological and proganda victory for the communists ensued.

Such historical ignorance on Tet is evident among pretty much all our public pronouncers, including  conservative(ish) media as well, whether it's Bill O'Reilly and Bernard Goldberg on Fox News, as Cliff Kincaid has noted, or James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal, who, quoting his own paper's "stalemate"-to-LBJ-"lost Cronkite-lost America" progression, seizes on Cronkite's editorialing as his only sin, never noting that his editorializing was based on false information about Tet delivered, uncorrected, across the Cronkite-led MSM. Writing in the Wash Post, Kathleen Parker does gloss over the conflict over Tet, but fails to note any ramifications for the war, and further implies it is partly just a partisan squable, writing:

Cronkite's critics and others now say that the Tet Offensive was a defeat for the North Vietnamese and blame him for the birth of media bias that has undermined American faith in journalism ever since.

That said, she blithely, incomprehensibly concludes:

Whether one judges Cronkite right or wrong in that respect, he brought dignity to news delivery and helped guide a period without cynicism or smugness. 

He brought dignity to news delivery? Behold the MSM in full beatification-mode.  

I sat reading the late Peter Braestrup's massive and meticulous analysis of Tet (mis)coverage in Big Story for a few days this week before writing the column (below), and grew angry all over again with my fellow journalists then and now for their prominent role in distorting not just the news, of course, but the fate of the war itself. The Braestrup book is now out  of print -- naturally -- and my paperback edition lists online for something like $80, $90, but it should be mandatory reading in both US history and all journalism courses. And certainly for all working journalists. 

Another piece of writing I came across this week was by Gen. Frederick C. Weyand (USA ret.), someone Braestrup' described as "widely respected among newsmen" in Vietnam, where Weyand spent five years. In 2000, Weyand received the George C. Marshall Medal from the Association of the US Army, and, in his acceptance speech, made the following remarks:

After Tet, General Westmoreland sent Walter Cronkite out to interview me. I was in Command of the Forces in the South around Saigon and below and I was proud of what we'd done. We had done a good job there. So, Walter came down and he spent about an hour and a half interviewing me. And when we got done, he said, “Well you've got a fine story. But I'm not going to use any of it because I've been up to Hue. I've seen the thousands of bodies up there in mass graves and I'm determined to do all in my power to bring this war to an end as soon as possible.”

 It didn't seem to matter that those thousands of bodies were of South Vietnamese citizens who had been killed by the Hanoi soldiers, and Walter wasn't alone in this because I think many in the media mirrored his view.

And then this from Weyand:

When I was in Paris at the Peace Talks, it was the most frustrating assignment I think I ever had. Sitting in that conference, week after week listening to the Hanoi negotiators, Le Duc Tho and his friends lecture us. Reading from the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Herald Tribune, the Atlanta Constitution, NBC, CBS, you name it. Their message was always the same. “Hey, read your newspapers, listen to your TV. The American people want you out of Vietnam. Now, why don't you just go ahead and get out?” So finally a Peace Agreement was signed that everyone knew would be violated and with no recourse or hope of enforcement on our part.

Incredible.

Now, I am in no way blaming the media for the loss of South Vietnam; the blame, if you can call it that, is very widespread....

Widespread, indeed, from the Johnson administration on down, and don't forget the anti-war movement. But that doesn't mean the media shouldn't claim their share.

"Cronkite's Offensive HIstory"

It's time for a post-Cronkite post-mortem, but not on the late "icon" himself -- the "most trusted man in America," the "voice of God," "the gold standard," the "proxy for a nation," or, in plainer English, the lush-lived celebrity "anchor" who died this month at age 92. No, the Cronkite post-mortem that's needed is for the zombies who conjured up the hollow rapture and the living dead who fell for it.

Harsh words? You bet. But I don't know how else to begin to assess a nation that sees fit to celebrate, crown, even worship a man who said his "proudest moment" was when he declared on CBS, having misinterpreted the 1968 Tet offensive as a victory for North Vietnam, that the Vietnam war was unwinnable for the United States. "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America," almost every Cronkite obituary approvingly quoted President Lyndon B. Johnson as having said in response -- never mind that Cronkite was flat-out wrong in his reporting.

This was the infamous "stalemate" broadcast in which Cronkite editorialized in unprecedented manner: "It is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who ... did the best they could." Despite his obit-omnipotence, Cronkite alone wasn't responsible for LBJ's offer again to negotiate with Hanoi, his decision not to run for re-election, the ultimate flagging of America's commitment to South Vietnam, or one million-plus boat people who fled the communist regime, but the famed broadcaster was without doubt a key influence in persuading the nation, particularly its elites, to accept, if not court, American defeat in Vietnam.

So, to use his own words, was Walter Cronkite an honorable journalist who did the best he could?

No. What may -- may -- have resulted from forgivable misimpressions due to the "fog of war" long ago crystallized into obdurate lies. Cronkite never clarified the record, never admitted that the Tet offensive -- the Vietcong's surprise holiday attack on cities across South Vietnam -- resulted in a military and political fiasco for North Vietnam.

This was becoming apparent even before the dust had settled in 1968, as we learn in Peter Braestrup's indispensable "The Big Story" (1977), one of the signal historical works of the 20th century, which meticulously analyzes the media's failure to assess Tet correctly as a defeat for North Vietnam. Even Leftist journalist Frances Fitzgerald in her Pulitzer Prize-winning "Fire in the Lake" (1972) reported that Tet had "seriously depleted" Vietcong forces and "wiped out" many of their "most experienced cadres," noting that such losses drove "the southern movement for the first time into almost total dependency on the north." Her conclusion: "By all the indices available to the American military, the Tet offensive was a major defeat for the enemy."

And the enemy agreed. In a 1995 interview with the Wall Street Journal, Bui Tin, a member of the North Vietnamese general staff who in 1975 personally received the unconditional surrender of South Vietnam, called North Vietnam's losses in Tet "staggering." Communist forces in the South, he explained, "were nearly wiped out by all the fighting in 1968. It took us until 1971 to re-establish our presence, but we had to use North Vietnamese troops as local guerillas. If the American forces had not begun to withdraw under Nixon in 1969," he added, "they could have punished us severely." And who knows? If Cronkite had not used Tet to nudge for negotiations, maybe American forces would not have begun to withdraw.

Bui Tin said North Vietnamese commander Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap told him Tet was "a military defeat though we had gained the planned political advantages when Johnson agreed to negotiate and did not run for re-election."

Well, who could blame him? The president had "lost Cronkite."

And so be it. The president lost Cronkite, the United States lost Vietnam. But why are the rest of us still stuck with Cronkite's Orwellian packaging as "America's most trusted newsman" 41 years after he totally and calamitously and obstinately blew Tet? The ongoing genuflection before "Uncle Walter" reveals something mighty weird about this body politic -- something beyond the ken of a mere journalist, something more in the line of work of a really good shrink.

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