- The Washington Times - Friday, August 6, 2004

Nobles: Army Staff Sgt. Hilbert Caesar, for reminding us about the cost of service and the gift of citizenship.

In July 2002 President Bush issued an executive order expediting the naturalization of citizenship for immigrants who have been serving in the military since the September 11 attacks. One of those who recently was granted his U.S. citizenship was Sgt. Caesar, a native of the small South American nation of Guyana.

According to The Washington Post, Sgt. Caesar’s family emigrated from Guyana to New York when he was 11 years old. At the age of 20, Sgt. Caesar enlisted with the Army and was stationed with the 1st Armored Division. On April 18, his convoy was headed to Baghdad when it was ambushed by roadside bombs, injuring Sgt. Caesar and several of his fellow soldiers. Sgt. Caesar’s next four months were spent at Walter Reed Army Hospital. But for the rest of his life the 26-year-old will walk with a limp — the result of an amputated right leg.

On Tuesday, Sgt. Caesar, along with 33 other immigrants, sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” and took the oath of citizenship. At the conclusion of the ceremony, Sgt. Caesar let out a loud “Hoo-ah!” — the traditional Army cry of commitment and approval.

Speaking afterward, Sgt. Caesar gave words to the sentiment of millions of others who hope to one day become citizens of the this country: “I knew I was an American before this. I always knew I was an American.”

For embodying the heart of America before he was ever an American, Sgt. Caesar is the Noble of the week.

Knaves: Former presidential candidate Howard Dean, for using a time of terror to score political points.

The Democratic National Convention in Boston ended on Thursday, July 29. On Sunday, Aug. 1, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge raised the terror warning for Washington, New York and Newark, N.J.

The closeness of the two events was simply too much for Mr. Dean. He quickly took to the pulpit to issue this statement: “I am concerned that every time something happens that is not good for President Bush, he plays this trump card, which is terrorism. It’s just impossible to know how much of this is real and how much of this is politics. I suspect there’s some of both in it.”

Hmm. Now that Mr. Dean mentions it, the coincidence is uncanny. Still, we can’t help but wonder that if Sunday was such a great day to boost the president’s poll numbers, why not Saturday, or, even better, during the Convention? Oh, right, that would be too obvious.

Speaking on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” later in the week, the unrepentant Mr. Dean tried to show us just how deep the rabbit hole really goes, with such conspiracy-laced phrases as “isn’t it unusual;” “the timing bothers me deeply;” “it’s a very peculiar coincidence;” and “a very disturbing pattern.”

Indeed, it’s almost as disturbing as Mr. Bush knowing about September 11 in advance, a theory Mr.Dean trotted out in December: “The most interesting theory thatI’ve heard so far,” Mr. Dean said on NPR, “is that [Mr. Bush] was warned ahead of time by the Saudis. Now who knows what the real situation is?”

For convincing us of nothing except that the former governor should up his dosage, Mr. Dean is the Knave of the week.

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