Under the Black Flag

Smear Factor

As I’ve often written, The Spectator of London is not only the oldest magazine in the English-speaking world but the most elegant by far.  (As, of course, is Chronicles.)  I’ve been fortunate to have a column in the Speccie, as readers lovingly refer to it, for 40 years, a lifetime when it comes to journalism.  Needless to say, I trust the judgment of the editor—all seven of them whom I have written for.  Spectator editors usually end up as cabinet ministers, Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, being the latest example.  (He was the fifth.)  And our own Freddy Gray is the Speccie’s deputy editor.

Hence I was surprised when I read the Diary by David Frum in a recent issue.  Frum is a vulgar neocon, a fat slob of Canadian extraction whose loyalties lie with Israel’s Likud Party.  He went on and on about Trump and the Russian connection, hinting darkly that The Donald and Vlad are connected at the waist.  Never mind.  This was a one-off, and The Spectator made up for it on the very next page by running Andrew Bacevich’s brilliant piece on Kaiser Donald.  I am a great admirer of Bacevich, a retired professor of history, a West Pointer and commissioned warrior who lost a son in the useless Iraq war for Cheney’s profits and glory, and the author of several important books on Uncle Sam’s limits...

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