- The Washington Times - Friday, June 13, 2003

Nobles: Amtrak officer Rodney Chambers for a real grasp of courage and a great grip on a grenade.

A grenade might not be the ideal weapon for a routine robbery, but it certainly gets everyone’s attention. Last Tuesday, Juann Tubbs tried to use a “pineapple” grenade for a “hands-up or you blow-up” robbery at Union Station. When confronted shortly afterward by Officer Chambers, Mr. Tubbs looked him straight in the face and pulled the pin on his grenade. Officer Chambers thought the grenade was live — he learned what real grenades look like and feel like during an Army stint in which he won an “expert” rating in grenade handling. He also knew that he had to hold down the grenade’s trigger or it would detonate.

As Officer Chambers grabbed for the grenade, Michael DeCarlo, an officer with the U.S. Capitol Police, tackled Mr. Tubbs. While Officer DeCarlo cuffed Mr. Tubbs, Officer Chambers stepped away. With the grenade in his hand, he started counting seconds. He thought they would be his last. As he recounted, “When I was done counting, and it didn’t blow up, I said, ‘OK, you’re probably not going to die now.’ ”

He and the people around him could have, had his hand come off the grenade’s trigger. So, he found a comfortable spot to rest his arm while maintaining a death grip on the grenade. Officer DeCarlo kept him company for the 15 or 20 tense minutes before the bomb squad arrived.

The grenade turned out to be a fake, but there was nothing phony about the heroism displayed by Officers Chambers and DeCarlo. For seizing the moment and maintaining his grip, Officer Chambers is the noble of the week.

Knaves: Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix, for his illegitimate allegations about America.

During his long tenure as a weapons inspector, Mr. Blix hasn’t seen a whole lot of evil in Iraq. For instance, he completely missed the nuclear weapons development program that sprouted under his nose while he was director-general for the International Atomic Energy Agency. Even when he saw some evil — such as the cluster bombs capable of delivering chemical and biological agents that his teams uncovered in Iraq last March — Mr. Blix didn’t bother to say much about it.

But now, scant weeks from his retirement, even as his movers are probably packing up crates marked “Stockholm or Bust,” Mr. Blix is finally talking. This week, in a candid interview with the London Guardian, he told reporter Helena Smith exactly what evil he saw … in the United States.

Specifically, Mr. Blix said, “I have my detractors in Washington. There are bastards who spread things around, of course, who planted nasty things in the media.” He went on to allege that the Bush administration had leaned on his inspectors to put more aggressive language in their reports; that a cabal of lower-level officers in the Pentagon had run a smear campaign to discredit him; and that other individuals in Washington regarded the United Nations as an “alien power,” and hoped that it would sink into the East River.

These are serious allegations, and Mr. Blix undoubtedly has specific evidence to back them up. He must have names of the persons behind the smear campaign against him. (If he doesn’t, there are probably plenty of officers at the Pentagon who would gleefully volunteer to say something truly appropriate.) We’d like to know the identity of the person(s) who seriously believe that something could sink into New York’s East River.

Before he leaves for his well-deserved retirement and much-needed rest, we’d suggest that Mr. Blix make a formal presentation of his findings. Perhaps he should do so at the United Nations — before it sinks into the East River.

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