Nobles: Vice Adm. James Stockdale, for a lifetime of extraordinary heroism and service.
Before Adm. Stockdale was shot down by North Vietnamese guns in 1965, he had flown 201 missions in Vietnam. He was soon captured and spent the next seven years of his life locked in a POW camp, better known to those American servicemen who stayed there as the “Hanoi Hilton.” He endured four of those years in solitary confinement.
Upon release in 1973, Adm. Stockdale was awarded the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor. The citation reads: “Recognized by his captors as the leader of the Prisoners’ of War resistance to interrogation and in their refusal to participate in propaganda exploitation, Rear Adm. Stockdale was singled out for interrogation and attendant torture after he was detected in a covert communications attempt … He deliberately inflicted a near-mortal wound to his person in order to convince his captors of his willingness to give up his life rather than capitulate.”
Devotion like that is what enemies of the West will never understand. During Adm. Stockdale’s service, the enemy was Communism. Now, it’s Islamofascism. But their contempt for the West — which America embodies — is the same: We are decadent and weak. Adm. Stockdale was neither. In addition to the Medal of Honor, Adm. Stockdale received 26 combat awards, including two Purple Hearts, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and four Silver Star Medals.
He went on to a successful writing career and briefly entered politics in the 1992 presidential campaign as Ross Perot’s running mate. He died Tuesday at 81.
For his willingness to give the last full measure of devotion, Adm. Stockdale is the Noble of the week.
Knaves: George Galloway, the radical British MP with no sense of respect.
It’s usually wise not to take seriously anyone who attends the Socialist Workers Party “Marxism 2005” conference a day after his country experiences the horror of terrorism. But Mr. Galloway crossed the line Thursday when he blamed the London attacks on Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush.
Just hours after the attack, Mr. Galloway said: “We argued … that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorist attack in Britain. Tragically Londoners have now paid the price of the government ignoring such warnings … We urge the government to remove the people in this country from harm’s way, as the Spanish government acted … by ending the occupation of Iraq … Only then will the innocents here and abroad be able to enjoy a life free of the threat of needless violence.”
Ah, yes, as would thousands of Britons not have died in the blitz if only Prime Minister Winston Churchill had surrendered to Hitler. This level of bile is to be expected, though typically there’s a reasonable grace period — say, at least until the dead have been counted — before it begins.
For his ruthless eulogy, Mr. Galloway is the Knave of the week.