The Kensington Review

18 October 2004

Latest Commentary:

Quartermaster Platoon in Iraq Refuses Convoy Duty -- In general, any soldier who refuses a direct order is committing the most serious offense imaginable. Indeed, following orders is so vital in the military that the Nuremberg defendants used it as a justification for their crimes. But the Nuremberg Trials rested on a very simple belief that some orders can legitimately be disobeyed, in fact that one’s duty is to disobey. Which brings up the action of 19 members of a platoon, which in the 343rd Quartermaster Company based in Rock Hill, S.C. They refused to transport helicopter fuel out of safety concerns and the fact that the fuel was contaminated with diesel, making it useless to helicopters.

Zimbabwe Opposition Leader Not Guilty of Treason -- Morgan Tsvangirai is the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe, the opposition to the two-decade misrule Dictator Robert Mugabe. A court on Friday acquitted him of treason. The government alleged he had conspired to kill Mr. Mugabe ahead of the 2002 elections. Mr. Tsvangirai is not out of the woods yet, since he faces a second trial for treason on the grounds that he called for street protests to oppose the way in which Mr. Mugabe’s victory in those elections. If Mr. Tsvangirai were really as determined to betray his country as these allegations maintain, Mr. Mugabe must have the greatest security for in the world. In truth, he’s just using the legal system to keep his rival under guard and under duress.

Marsh & McLennan Companies Sued for Cheating Customers -- Insurance brokers Marsh & McLennan Companies, which is owned by insurance giant American International Group, found itself on the receiving end of New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s subpoena-writing pen last week. The NYSAG alleges that M&M gave steered clients to insurers who paid “contingent commissions” (“kickbacks” to some) rather than to the insurer who offered the most advantageous rate. Insurance stocks tumbled, M&M has suspended all contingent commissions, and Mr. Spitzer’s chances of being Governor of New York improved. Above all, this incident proves that Adam Smith was right – markets need regulation.

David Beckham Draws Deliberate Yellow, Everyone Cries “Foul” -- David Beckham is soccer’s most famous face. Married to “Posh Spice” of the Spice Girls, rolling in glory form his days in the Premier League and rolling in cash now that he plays for Real Madrid, he’s got it all. Except for brains. He really must learn that the secret to getting away with something lies in not bragging about it to the press afterwards. Since he is an unknown in the US, this might just be one instance in which the Americans are showing greater sense than their European cousins.



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