- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 21, 2002

Nobles: The Danielle van Dam jury, for this week recommending the death penalty for David Westerfield.
No one really wants to have the choice to decide whether someone should live or die. Not the most passionate death penalty opponent, not the most die-hard death penalty proponent. No matter how sickening an individual's sins, no matter how black his crime, it's a horrible, awful choice to have. But, in the end, someone has to weigh a guilty individual's life against his actions.
The individuals on the van Dam jury had to do so with David Westerfield after they convicted him a month ago of the murder of 7-year-old Danielle. It took some time for the six men and six women of the jury to decide. For nine days, they deliberated. They thought it through, and they fought it out. They examined each element of evidence, and they considered each question of conscience. Most of them probably prayed. According to the foreman, "Everyone struggled through the decisions that had to be made."
And then … they still weren't sure. A mere two hours before their foreman wrote a note announcing a consensus, he had sent word that the jury was deadlocked until, finally, each juror made the awful choice.
Superior Court Judge William Mudd could overturn their choice of conscience before Westerfields' sentencing on Nov 22., but few expect him to do so.
Deputy District Attorney Jeff Dusek told reporters, "There's certainly no excitement, no joy, no glee." But there is relief relief that the jury did the right thing. Relief that justice has been done.
Knave: The Broadcasting Board of the Voice of America (VOA), for recently forcing VOA Director Bob Reilly to resign.
Before America wins the hearts and minds of radical Islamicists, it will have to win over its own liberal elites. The latter is likely to be a far uglier, far more difficult struggle, if the ongoing battle at VOA is any indication.
The first shot was fired at about the same time that U.S. bombs started falling on the Taliban last fall, when the VOA made the highly controversial decision to air an interview with Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar. Even the State Department objected. But, on Sept. 25 a mere two weeks after September 11 VOA aired the interview anyway.
Three months later, Mr. Reilly made a point to tell his staff that VOA's 2002 appropriation included a provision mandating that VOA not give a microphone to representatives of terrorist states. This caused a flurry of handwringing, as, up to that point, the VOA had been broadcasting interviews with members of the Taliban and state officials from Syria, the Sudan and the Palestinian Authority.
That sort of anti-American arrogance from VOA's board (largely Clinton-era appointees) has continued to this day. According to a report from the BBC, VOA board member Ted Kaufmann told his staff this week, "We've got to think of ourselves as separate from public diplomacy."
As a result, several House Republicans have begun to look into the matter. There is talk of cutting VOA's budget unless board members can explain why they thought it so necessary to thwart Mr. Reilly in his efforts, and instead to use the Voice of America as a voice against America.
It's about time. Someone needs to remind the members of VOA's board that the Voice of America is supposed to be a voice for America especially when there is a war on.

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