- The Washington Times - Friday, March 26, 2004

Nobles: Jack Valenti, for almost four decades of distinguished service as the head of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

For 38 years, he has served as the public face of the movie industry. He will not do so much longer. Last Tuesday, the 82-year-old Mr. Valenti announced that he will be stepping down as soon as a replacement can be found.

Mr. Valenti pioneered the movie ratings system. He has been a strong advocate of First Amendment rights and copyright protections. He’s likely one of the few leading lobbyists who still writes his own speeches.

Mr. Valenti flew 51 combat missions as the pilot-commander of a B-25 attack bomber during World War II and earned several awards, including the Distinguished Flying Cross. After the war, Mr. Valenti started a public relations/political consulting firm in his native Texas, only to see bloodshed again as the media coordinator for President Kennedy’s fateful visit to Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. The newly-sworn-in President Johnson brought Mr. Valenti to Washington as a speechwriter and congressional liaison. A few years later, Mr. Valenti left the White House to lead the MPAA, where he has remained ever since.

For an Academy Award-worthy performance as Hollywood’s long-time leading man, Mr. Valenti is the Noble of the week.

Knaves: The Palestinian terrorists turning teen-age boys into time bombs.

On Wednesday, Israeli soldiers at a West Bank checkpoint were startled by a small boy sprinting towards them. They reacted automatically, taking cover and pointing their guns. Shocked, the boy stopped. He raised his hands and removed his sweater, revealing an obscenity — an explosive vest, standard issue for suicide bombers.

Soldiers sent a scissors-carrying robot to the boy when he began crying that he did not wish to blow himself up. After being questioned, the boy — later identified as 16-year-old Hussam Abdo — was returned home to his mother, who told reporters, “This is shocking. To use a child like this is irresponsible, forbidden.”

That may be true, but there has been a disturbing trend of teen-age suicide attackers in the region. Last month, three teens aged 13 to 15 were arrested en route to an attack on a northern Israeli town. Last week, Israeli troops stopped an 11-year old porter with a bomb in his bag (which he probably did not know was there).

Hussam claimed that he knew what he was doing. He might not have realized that he was being victimized by the cruelest possible form of child exploitation. For their vile violation of a child, the terrorists who strapped the explosives onto Hussam are the Knaves of the week.

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