- The Washington Times - Friday, May 6, 2005

Nobles: The Marine Corps, for clearing a corporal from any wrongdoing during the fight for Fallujah.

Before the Marines launched their November assault on the insurgent-held city of Fallujah, commanders told their infantrymen to use deadly force against those deemed to have hostile intent. This meant that the Marines were allowed to shoot first.

The world got a clear understanding of this order when an NBC News cameraman embedded with the Marines in Fallujah captured footage of an unidentified Marine corporal shooting an unarmed insurgent in a mosque. The Arab media howled, while in the West the usual suspects — Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the United Nations — demanded an investigation. It almost seemed that none of these groups had a clue about how brutal urban guerrilla warfare can be. Meanwhile, the Marines, aided by the Army, continued to lose soldiers in bloody fighting. By their grit and determination, Fallujah was retaken.

The Marines answered their armchair critics this week when Maj. Gen. Richard F. Natonski said that a review of the evidence showed that the corporal’s actions were “consistent with the established rules of engagement and the law of armed conflict.” Perhaps this Marine was simply tired of seeing his buddies blown up by insurgents pretending to be dead.

For confirming to their men that they will not be punished for doing their jobs, the Marine Corps is the Noble of the week.

Knaves: The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s office, for teaching high-school kids how to make methamphetamines.

What do students at Elma High School in Washington state learn about methamphetamines? After being told to “just say no,” they learn how to make them.

A demonstration that the county sheriff’s office has apparently been doing for years teaches students what a “meth” lab looks like and how it works. Footage of the demonstration provided to KOMO-TV shows a member of the county drug task force “cooking” the meth in class, while saying, “Then you’ll have a little bit down at the bottom, the white stuff, and that’s your meth.” Any questions?

If this demonstration was done before concerned parents, then it wouldn’t be so outrageous. Parents should know what a meth “kitchen” looks like, just as they should know that you don’t smoke tobacco out of a plastic tube — what the kids call a marijuana “bong.” But you don’t show kids this kind of stuff for the same reason you wouldn’t show them how to make a pipe bomb out of household chemicals: Adolescents, particularly high schoolers, have a hazardous tendency to experiment.

For teaching teen-agers a little more than they need to know, the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s office is the Knave of the week.

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