Magazine article The Spectator

Friend and Foes

Magazine article The Spectator

Friend and Foes

Article excerpt

Friends Friend foes and foes



Some days you pick up the newspaper and you don't know whether to laugh or cry,' writes Thomas Friedman of the New York Times. Actually, I haven't been shedding too many crocodile tears lately, until, that is, a Sam Schulman column reached me via the miracle of the post. Talk about bursting out laughing. Schulman is an American friend of mine whom I once entrusted with running a section of the New York Press, Taki's Top Drawer, now mercifully extinct. Schulman's thesis in a jiffy: anyone who is anti-war is objectively if not intentionally helping to bring about genocide of the Jews. He writes of `complicitous pacifists', and counts Jews among their number.

This is the kind of nonsense being hawked about by neo-cons nowadays, but before I get to those chappies, a brief defence of the 'cowardly' Frogs. It's apparently very patriotic nowadays in the Land of Free Speech for blacks, Jews, Hispanics, Orientals and Eskimos to call the French all sorts of epithets, the kindest of which is weasel, mother-er, yellow-bellied ... you get my drift. (French rifle for sale. Never been fired. Only dropped once.) This might make sense coming from a descendant of the 300 Spartans who fell to a man at Thermopylae, but, when beerbellied Mr New Jersey hawks it about, frankly it makes one reach for the sick bag. Just off the bat, the French lost 120,000 dead by June 1940 - more than twice the number of Americans killed over ten years in Vietnam.

In Dienbienphu the French-led garrison fought like Spartans - without air cover, only 105 mm guns, limited ammo and at the end no medical supplies - a condition no American soldier would have accepted ten years later in that miserable country. (Can you see an American general Patton excluded - naming his outposts after his many mistresses, Dominique, Elianne, Gabrielle, Beatrice, Isabelle, as de Castries did?) La gloire of France, its culture (by far the greatest in Europe), its laws and traditions, its great history, its beautiful cities, its generals and kings are things as foreign to Mr New Jersey as combat is to Tony Blair. But never mind. It gets a lot worse.

In the American Conservative's last issue Pat Buchanan wrote a devastating piece accusing a neo-conservative clique of seeking to ensnare America in a series of wars that are not in Uncle Sam's interest. …

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