- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 7, 2002

Noble: Henry Kissinger, for taking a great commission he didn't need and enduring a firestorm he didn't want for the sake of September 11th answers that families want and security recommendations that the nation needs.
As critics of Mr. Kissinger's potential conflicts-of-interest over his numerous consulting contracts inadvertently point out, this elder statesman of U.S. diplomacy has plenty of other things he could and possibly would prefer to be doing writing another book, tutoring younger statesmen, or even filming another television commercial for New York City.
Moreover, Mr. Kissinger had to know that his appointment as chairman of the president's September 11 commission would provide an excuse for every Nixon-hater to dip his pen in poison. They haven't disappointed. The dependably vindictive Maureen Dowd compared him to "Dr. Strangelove," while CNN's Mark Shields likened Mr. Kissinger's appointment to putting Dracula in charge of the local blood bank.
Those rather monstrous suggestions are easily countered by the common sense suggestion that, in taking on this national service at this point in his 79-year life, Mr. Kissinger has little to gain and a great deal to lose. He certainly doesn't need the money, there's little luster to add to a career that includes a Nobel Peace Prize (1973) and simultaneous service as national security adviser and secretary of state to two presidents (he's the only person to ever have done this). He also has a thorough understanding of and thus the ability to cut through the dodges and dubious explanations that arise like smog out of Foggy Bottom.
Given all that, Mr. Kissinger has certainly earned his chance to add the capstone of this latest commission to his legacy. In fact, that's all he's asked. He told Fox News' Tony Snow: "This is a national service, and it will be carried out, and you will all be able to judge by the results."
We will look forward to doing so.

Knave: Vanderbilt mathematics professor Jonathan David Farley.
There's no doubt that Mr. Farley has a brilliant calculating mind. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard, won Oxford's highest mathematics awards, and was awarded a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Award. The problem is that his values abacus (not to mention his historical sense) is so skewed.
In a recent commentary in the Nashville Tennessean, Mr. Farley said that every Confederate solder should have been hanged, compared Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest with Hitler, and suggested that the country could have eliminated most of the race problems by decimating much of Confederacy's populace.
There's little doubt that leaders of the Confederacy miscalculated when they chose war with the Union, and even less question that the Confederacy's soldiers were supporting the wrong values. But the deeds of nobility and honor were as common among the men in gray as they were among the men in blue. Unionists recognized that their battlefield foes were largely brothers in spirit and sometimes brothers in fact.
Mr. Farley's proposals exceed the most radical ideas of even the most radical Republicans of the era, although he does not belong to that party. Rather, he seems to consider himself a revolutionary his photo on his university Web page shows him posed proudly next to a poster of Ernesto "Che" Guevara.
If that's the case, Mr. Farley should be paying more attention to the words of another revolutionary from the Civil War era who, in recognizing the value inherent in all Americans, famously concluded his second inaugural, "With malice towards none, with charity for all …"

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