- The Washington Times - Friday, September 17, 2004

Nobles: The citizens of Florida, for enduring three deadly hurricanes in one horrific month.

Even now, the remnants of hurricane Ivan are slowly moving their way northward, leaving behind the ravaged homes and lives of those in Florida, Louisiana, Georgia and Mississippi. As Ivan drenches the Mid-Atlantic region this weekend — its fury stilled — all Americans should be mindful of the loss and mental anguish of their fellow citizens just a few hundred miles south.

For Florida, Ivan was simply the third hurricane in five weeks to ravage its shores — a truly abnormal phenomenon that no state, no matter how prepared, can hope to manage alone. Adding to the $12 billion in insured damages from Hurricanes Charley and Frances, Ivan is expected to add between $3 billion to $10 billion, much of that cost along Florida’s panhandle region.

The human toll, unfortunately, is beyond price. Not only in lives lost, but also in lives ruined, the hurricanes guarantee that the autumn of 2004 will be one Floridians will never fully pay off. In addition to the lives lost, millions were evacuated and thousands have had their homes, businesses and property destroyed.

And tragically, it appears that the eastern shores of Florida will not escape the butcher’s bill. Weather forecasters are closely watching tropical storm Jeanne as it moves its way northward, expecting it to hit the eastern part of Florida sometime early next week. The people of Florida, and all who have been affected by the hurricanes, should be in the thoughts and prayers of Americans this weekend.

For their resilience and for their sacrifice, the people of Florida are the Nobles of the week.

Knaves: U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, for honoring the fallen in the Iraq war by calling their service “illegal.”

Speaking to the BBC last weekend, Mr. Annan recklessly said, “From the [the U.N.’s] point of view, from the [U.N. Charter’s] point of view, [the Iraq war] was illegal … I hope we do not see another Iraq-type operation for a long time.”

Here are some things many in the world would not like to see for a long time, Mr. Annan. They would not like to see dictators torturing their own people and threatening others. They would not like to see another Saddam Hussein ignore 16 U.N. Security Council resolutions. They would not like to see the one international body charged with stopping these murderers display indifference to their crimes. They would not like to see the same body sitting on its hands while evil regimes like the one in Iran produce nuclear weapons. They would not like to see the people of Sudan slaughtered while you dither over the proper use of the word “genocide.” They would not like to see the millions of dollars sent by caring nations to alleviate the hunger of the starving go toward lining your subordinates’ pockets, like in the oil-for-food scandal.

Spare the world, the 30 allied nations and the thousand Americans lost in Iraq your kindergarten rhetoric, Mr. Annan.

For comments far beyond the realm of appropriate, Mr. Annan is the Knave of the week.

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