- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 19, 2002

Noble: Recently-deceased historian Stephen Ambrose, for bringing the "Greatest Generation" to life.
It's hard to believe that the man who helped us see the terrible carnage at Omaha Beach in "D-Day, June 6, 1944," feel the freeze of piloting an unheated B-24 Liberator at 20,000 feet in "The Wild Blue" and feel the shock of German artillery along Hell's Highway in Holland in "Band of Brothers" spent only a short time in uniform. However, a stint in the Army and Navy ROTC as an undergraduate at Wisconsin University provided this chronicler of World War II his only first-hand knowledge of life as a solder.
The rest he acquired from the thousands of interviews he did with those who saw and survived the action. While he was inspired to become a historian at Wisconsin, he worked in near-obscurity for almost his entire career. As he recalled in November 1999, "Until I was 60 years old, I lived on a professor's salary and wrote books."
That changed when his narrative of the invasion of Normandy became a best-seller. Most of his subsequent work was about the determined American dogfaces who defeated Hitler, but he also told the tale of the building of the Transcontinental Railroad in "Nothing Like it in the World" and gave an inspiring account of the journey of Lewis and Clark in "Undaunted Courage."
Mr. Ambrose was accused of plagiarism toward the end of his career, but he vigorously denied the charges, and it's worth remembering that the passages in question were written on about 10 of the 15,000 or so pages he produced in his lifetime.
Even more than giving a voice to those who survived the ordeal of combat, he unabashedly promoted the ideals that inspired them. Mr. Ambrose was both a prolific writer and a proud patriot. He poured millions of his earnings into the Eisenhower Center and the museum he founded, the National D-Day Museum. Calling it, "the thing I'm most proud of," he told an interviewer, "What this museum is demonstrating is that democracy beat everything else. And it especially beats totalitarianism."
At the age of 66, Mr. Ambrose got beaten by lung cancer. When another beloved World War II chronicler was laid to rest on the island of Ie Shima, his soldier friends provided a simple plaque that read "At this spot, the 77th Infantry Division lost a Buddy, Ernie Pyle, 18 April 1945." On Oct. 13, 2002, the Greatest Generation lost a Buddy, Stephen Ambrose.

Knave: American turncoat Ana Belen Montes, who became a crown jewel for the Cuban Intelligence Service before being sentenced this week to 25 years in jail for espionage.
Montes probably amazed more than a few of her superiors at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) by her insights into the minds of Cuban policy-makers. Her near clairvoyance almost certainly helped her become the DIA's most senior Cuba analyst, with access to untold numbers of secrets.
However, Montes was cheating. More specifically, she was spying. She was passing Washington's guarded secrets on to Havana, via coded pager messages and phone calls from pay phones throughout the area. She gave away the names of four undercover agents, passed on classified photos and files, and provided classified bits about the war games conducted by the U.S. Atlantic Command. At the same time, she was making U.S. policy on Cuba she was the main force behind the Pentagon's shift to a softer line on the potential threat of terrorism posed by Fidel Castro.
At her sentencing, Montes was defiant. She told U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina that, in her opinion, the U.S. government's policy toward Cuba had been "cruel," "unfair" and "profoundly unneighborly." Now, for many this time of year, responding to an unneighborly neighbor means blowing leaves onto his neighbor's yard. And while no one blamed the judge for raking her over, Judge Urbina simply told Montes, "If you can't love your country, then at the least do it no wrong."

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