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"It is not simply a good book about history. It is one of those books which makes history. ... "
-- Vladimir Bukovsky, co-founder of the Soviet dissident movement and author of Judgment in Moscow, and Pavel Stroilov, author of Behind the Desert Storm.
"Diana West is distinguished from almost all political commentators because she seeks less to defend ideas and proposals than to investigate and understand what happens and what has happened. This gives her modest and unpretentious books and articles the status of true scientific inquiry, shifting the debate from the field of liking and disliking to being and non-being."
-- Olavo de Carvalho
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
"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
West's lesson to Americans: Reality can't be redacted, buried, fabricated, falsified, or omitted. Her book is eloquent proof of it.
-- Edward Cline, Family Security Matters
"I have read it, and agree wholeheartedly."
-- Angelo Codevilla, Professor Emeritus of International Relations at Boston Unversity, and fellow of the Claremont Institute.
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.
After reading American Betrayal and much of the vituperation generated by neoconservative "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
"A brilliantly researched and argued book."
-- Edward Jay Epstein, author of Deception: The Invisible War between the KGB and the CIA, The Annals 0f Unsolved Crime
"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
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
"American Betrayal is absolutely required reading. Essential. You're sleepwalking without it."
-- Chris Farrell, director of investigations research, Judicial Watch
"Diana West wrote a brilliant book called American Betrayal, which I recommend to everybody ... It is a seminal work that will grow in importance."
-- Newt Gingrich, former House Speaker
"This is a must read for any serious student of history and anyone working to understand the Marxist counter-state in America."
-- John Guandolo, president, Understanding the Threat, former FBI special agent
It is myth, or a series of myths, concerning WW2 that Diana West is aiming to replace with history in 2013’s American Betrayal.
If West’s startling revisionism is anywhere near the historical truth, the book is what Nietzsche wished his writings to be, dynamite.
-- Mark Gullick, British Intelligence
“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, journalist, founder, Danish Free Press Society
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
No book has ever frightened me as much as American Betrayal. ... [West] patiently builds a story outlining a network of subversion so bizarrely immense that to write it down will seem too fantastic to anyone without the book’s detailed breadth and depth. 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. ... By the time you put the book down, you have a very different view of America’s war aims and strategies. The core question is, did the USA follow a strategy that served its own best interests, or Stalin’s? And it’s not that it was Stalin’s that is so compelling, since you knew that had to be the answer, but the evidence in detail that West provides that makes this a book you cannot ignore.
-- Steven Kates, RMIT (Australia) Associate Professor of Economics, Quadrant
"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
[American Betrayal is] the most important anti-Communist book of our time ... a book that can open people's eyes to the historical roots of our present malaise ... full of insights, factual corroboration, and psychological nuance.
-- J.R. Nyquist, author, Origins of the Fourth World War
Although I know [Christopher] Andrew well, and have met [Oleg] Gordievsky twice, I now doubt their characterization of Hopkins -- also embraced by Radosh and the scholarly community. I now support West's conclusions after rereading KGB: The Inside Story account 23 years later [relevant passages cited in American Betrayal]. It does not ring true that Hopkins was an innocent dupe dedicated solely to defeating the Nazis. Hopkins comes over in history as crafty, secretive and no one's fool, hardly the personality traits of a naïve fellow traveler. And his fingerprints are on the large majority of pro-Soviet policies implemented by the Roosevelt administration. West deserves respect for cutting through the dross that obscures the evidence about Hopkins, and for screaming from the rooftops that the U.S. was the victim of a successful Soviet intelligence operation.
-- Bernie Reeves, founder of The Raleigh Spy Conference, American Thinker
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
In American Betrayal, Ms. West's well-established reputation for attacking "sacred cows" remains intact. The resulting beneficiaries are the readers, especially those who can deal with the truth.
-- Wes Vernon, Renew America
Tuesday, July 20, 2010 2:17 AM
Ann Marlowe of the Hudson Institute considers "the war over the war" among Republicans sparked by Michael Steele, arguing we're due for a belated "reckoning" on controversial if prevailing counterinsurgency policy. She also cites recent comments by Newt Gingrich on the cultural disjunction between us and Afghans that is at the flawed heart of the matter.
Writing at the Daily Beast, Marlowe, who recently completed her sixth "embed" with American troops in Afghanistan, writes:
The former House Speaker cautioned that it wasn't quite so simple, saying that "counterinsurgency doctrine doesn't go deep enough for some place like Afghanistan. You're dealing with Afghan culture that is fundamentally different than us, in ways we don't understand."
Or won't understand beause it contradicts multicultural dogma on universalism.
I wish more Republicans would follow suit, neither claiming support for the war as a litmus test for Republican loyalty nor, like Steele, disowning the war as the Democrats' problem.
Patriotism means that we must support our troops while they're in Afghanistan—but not that we must agree that they should be there, or that they're doing the right things. There's nothing wrong with being a Republican and being deeply skeptical about our war strategy.
Many of the American soldiers I know in Afghanistan are themselves deeply skeptical of the American non-strategy. And many of these soldiers are Republicans. They often find themselves "enacting governance on the local level," in the words of Captain Mike Tumlin of the 82nd Airborne, trying to sideline or remove Afghan officials who steal from, or murder and rape the very people they're supposed to serve, only to see their hard and sometimes bloody work brought to naught by corrupt higher-ups in Kabul. They're not fighting for a good government against the evil Taliban, but for one evil against another.
Michael Steele was foolish to try to position Afghanistan as a Democratic mistake. But he is also wrong to believe Afghanistan was unwinnable from the start.
In his speech this week, Gingrich got to the heart of the problem. We've been applying counterinsurgency doctrine (and that haphazardly), assuming that the people are the center of gravity.
Or, as Gen. Petraeus put it in his Fourth of July message to military forces in Afghanistan, "the decisive terrain in Afghanistan is the human terrain."
Win the people over to support their government and you win the war. But if counterinsurgency is "a war of perceptions," to use a phrase favored by ousted General Stanley McChrystal, it behooves us to understand how Afghans perceive things.
As Newt says, we don't.
Or, again, we won't, fearing the PC consequences. Marlowe continues:
Many American observers were shocked when Dr. Abdullah Abdullah dropped out of the runoff election with President Hamid Karzai this November. It seemed irresponsible and wrong. But Afghan supporters of the opposition candidate—whom I admire—explained to me that in Afghan terms, a candidate who couldn't "protect" his supporters' votes was likely to lose their support. Even if Abdullah lost the second round because Karzai repeated his massive fraud, his supporters would blame him, just as an Afghan father might kill his daughter if she is raped, because that fact alone brings dishonor on the family.
We don't understand, and we may not be so good at predicting how the Afghans will respond to our actions.
Bingo. "Predicting how the Afghans will respond to our actions" -- just as predicting how the Iraqis will respond to our actions -- is the cracked keystone of COIN, the "prediction" our government has been staking the lives of our troops on, the gold of our treasury on and the well-being of our nation on for many years now. "Irresponsible" isn't the word for this see-no-Islam PC policy. In a better world, a Congressional investigation into who could have possibly signed off on the sheer lunacy of it all would be long overdue, as would be pink slips to Pentagon brass, and retirement to pliant yes-men civilian leaders.
We've spent $51.5 billion to date on the Afghan war, about four years' worth of that country's GDP—enough to give every Afghan $2,000 to $2,500. About half of our expenditure has gone to standing up the Afghan National Security Forces. That $25 billion also equals the entire Israeli defense budget for two years.
For what we've spent, we could have re-created the Israeli Army, Air Force and Navy in Afghanistan. Only we didn't. Instead, at enormous cost, we have fielded a marginally competent army and a barely capable police force, both of which lose between 25 percent and 70 percent of their men annually.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal recently reported that more than $3 billion has been openly flown out of Kabul Airport since 2007.
What we have in Afghanistan is a counterinsurgency strategy of tactics. COIN is a set of tactics: station your troops among the people, conduct a lot of meetings with tribal elders to find out what bribes they want, protect them from the insurgents, connect them with their officials—every private knows the mantra. But COIN is not a strategy.
Or, COIN is a bad strategy.
Strategy requires a political vision. Throughout history, counterinsurgency has barely worked when conducted by a government with substantial popular support.
Where is the historic model? I asked this question of COIN strategist Frederick Kagan back in March 2009 at a Washington conference that in many ways previewed the Obama administration war policy. At the time I wrote (in a column):
Onto Afghanistan, where we are told U.S. national security depends on denying sanctuary to Al Qaeda and related jihadists. Meanwhile, the world is riddled with jihadism in the form of active agents, sleeper cells, propagandists and sympathizers from the Bekaa Valley to Belgium, from Iran to London, from Saudi Arabia to South Florida. Nearly eight years after 9/11, the United States still has unsecured borders, but it is Afghanistan where we must establish security and clean government -- for our own good.
Why? Frederick Kagan said "we have to establish the legitimacy of the Afghan government (because) that's how you end an insurgency." John Nagl was more emphatic still, stating, "If we ever want to leave, we have to build an Afghan government that can accomplish those goals (of good government) on its own."
If we ever want to leave?
During a coffee break, I asked military historian Frederick Kagan whether there was any successful historical model for this strategy. Ticking off a few non-matches including the Boer War in South Africa, Malaya, and civil war in El Salvador, he, a little sheepishly, offered Iraq.
Iraq? Heaven help the United States.
Back to Marlowe, who writes:
It is much more of a challenge, when the government, like Karzai's, lacks almost all support.
Why should Republicans tolerate waste of our tax money, merely because it happens in Afghanistan? Exactly which Republican values do the Karzai brothers—merchants in drugs and explosives, skimmers of contracts and runners of protection rackets—exemplify? Why is it honorable for Republicans to sacrifice the best of our young people for a miserable kleptocracy?
Good questions. How about some answers?