The Spectacle Blog

My Bad

By on 3.13.06 | 6:00AM

International War Crimes Tribunal, not World Court.

Slobbo and the Beeb

By on 3.13.06 | 5:38AM


During the Balkan wars, the BBC was unbelievably hostile to Serb spokesman and partisans. I never could exactly figure out why. Because they were the Orthodox side? Muslim PC tenderness? Milosovic's death lets them revive that hoity-toity down-the-nose moralising the Beeb does so well.

I would rather have seen Milosovic live and finish his trial so the world could say, with a yawn, "All that and now only this?" Because of course the Hague wouldn't hang him. As things stand, the endless bureaucracy of the World Court will go on -- and how much can it do without a police force? We might have seen some restraint in its use, just out of sheer exhaustion. Now, the WC types are just champing to get to work again, as indeed the chief prosecutor said on the BBC last night.

Re: Question

By on 3.12.06 | 9:46PM

Jed -- the EU aches in crestfallen frustration at the sudden uselessness of its proud tribunal. "Soft power" drops the pretense of patience, and the war criminal-rendition drop-dead date brandished at Belgrade now becomes Europa's flaming sword. International law -- European law -- must be proven decisive. The atavistic Yugo is the Continent's Eliza Doolittle.

Old World rite of passage: serving Serbia a red-faced ultimatum.


By on 3.12.06 | 7:13PM

Guys: Is it more important that Slobo is dead than the effect on the international war crimes tribunal? Is it possible that he died of sheer boredom at the progress of the trial? Or am I being slightly uncharitable? The BBC thinks it's a tragedy that Slobo died before the trial ended. Isn't it enough that the old murderer has gone?

Iran, All According To Plan

By on 3.12.06 | 12:09PM

Uncharitably I predicted for '06 that "the Iranians will toy with the Russian proposal, embrace it again, demur again, raise questions, withhold answers, tinker furiously, and let their actions constitute a de facto rejection."


Next: "...the Security Council will pass an unenforceable resolution..."


By on 3.11.06 | 5:21PM

The Butcher of Belgrade is assuming room temperature. I don't know if anyone cares to reopen the Balkans debates that divided the Right in the 90s, but for what it's worth, here's what I wrote in 2003, in the context of the prewar Iraq debate:

He’s Their What?

By on 3.11.06 | 3:55PM

If history repeats itself first as tragedy, then as farce the Palestinians are only up to the tragedy stage. In context, the leaders of Hamas - the terrorists now elected to lead the Palestinian "government" - are only following in the shallow footsteps of Yassir Arafat, the KGB-trained terrorist kleptocrat by touring arab capitals seeking funds from the usual suspects. One report of the GWOT fundraiser in the Saudi governnment daily Arab News caught my eye. Think about this, taken from that report :

A five-member delegation of Hamas leaders arrived in the Kingdom yesterday. The delegation is headed by the group’s Politburo chief, Khaled Meshaal, and its members are expected to discuss with the Kingdom’s leadership the financial problems an incoming Palestinian government faces, Hamas official Ezzat El-Resheq said.

Zogby’s Bias Fuels Murtha’s Madness

By on 3.11.06 | 2:08PM

A piece in yesterday's Philly Inquirer by Tim Kane exposes the absurd bias of the Zogby poll that propelled Murtha's statements last week on CBS Face the Nation. Murtha was ranting about how more than 70% of the US troops in Iraq wanted to come home. But as the Kane piece shows, the Zogby's work was the quintessential push poll: the questions were phrased to produce the answers Zogby wanted and they did. Nevermore shall a Zogby poll on any aspect of the war hold any credibility.

Rewriting the Torah, Again

By on 3.10.06 | 4:43PM

Not so much on the politics beat, but, for those who may be interested, here's a story I wrote on a local orthodox Jewish community here in Boston who are trying to keep the last commandment of the torah by collectively writing their own.

New Labor Grievance

By on 3.10.06 | 3:46PM

Umar Abdul-Jalil, the executive director of ministerial services -- i.e., the chief chaplain - to the New York City prison system has been suspended according to this NY Post story. His offense? He claimed Muslims were being tortured in Gitmo. Er, no. He claimed they were being tortured in NY jails. And he claimed that the, "greatest terrorists in the world occupy the White House."

We have received no reports on which union Mr. Abdul-Jalil belongs to, though that fact is crucial to the future of this case. If he is a member of the teachers' union, the city may be paralyzed by a general strike. If he is a member of the Teamsters or the Longshoremens', his grievance may be considered by the same arbitrators who adjudged that of Jimmy Hoffa.

The important lesson in this is to be found in the doctrinal consistency between this guy's claims and those coming out of current and former Gitmo inmates.