- The Washington Times - Friday, June 10, 2005

Nobles: Hungarian Ambassador Andras Simonyi, for rocking in the free world, as Neil Young once said.

Visiting Walter Reed Army Medical Center Tuesday, Mr. Simonyi had some encouraging words for our wounded troops. “The war on terror is not just a war on America, it is a war on all of us,” he said, according to the American Forces Press Service. “Hungary was one of the first countries to support the real coalition of the willing. We have to be grateful for the men and women who are on the ground fighting.” Indeed.

Mr. Simonyi called the international alliance in Iraq the “real” coalition of the willing, because soon after honoring the troops with words he shouldered his electric guitar and jammed for them with his rock band, The Coalition of the Willing. His bandmates included former American government officials, as well as Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, formerly of Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers.

Their set list comprised mostly of rock classics, like “Secret Agent Man,” Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire” and The Who’s “I Can See for Miles,” apparently one of Mr. Simonyi’s all-time favorites.

Rock ‘n’ roll “was our bridge to the free world,” Mr. Simonyi said, referring to his years growing up in Communist Hungary. As a boy, the future ambassador of a free Hungary would listen to forbidden stations like Radio Free Europe and Radio Luxembourg to hear his favorite artists.

The wounded troops seemed grateful. “I think it’s really cool that the ambassador and the band came out here to play,” said 1st Lt. Ryan Hollin, who lost his leg in Iraq.

For rocking and rolling for the wounded, Mr. Simonyi is the Noble of the week.

Knaves: Rep. Charles Rangel, for following Amnesty International’s use of offensive comparisons.Appearing on WWRL Radio’s The Steve Malzberg Show, Mr. Rangel waxed indignant at the Iraq war. “It’s the biggest fraud ever committed on the people of this country,” he said. “This is just as bad as six million Jews being killed. The whole world knew it and they were quiet about it, because it wasn’t their ox that was being gored.”

What Mr. Rangel really meant to say is that “people’s silence when they know terrible things are happening is the same thing as the Holocaust.”

Yes, it’s a gross comparison, but let’s take Mr. Rangel at his words. First, while the “whole world” may have not used the Holocaust as a causus belli in World War II, it did nevertheless send millions of young men in harm’s way to stop it. Second, where was Mr. Rangel’s concern over the 26 million Iraqis under the iron boot of Saddam Hussein? It is precisely because the United States and its allies refused to remain quiet about Saddam’s atrocities that Iraqis now have a chance for freedom. Finally, “silence”? Never has silence been so loud. A quick Google search on the Iraq war returns 41 million hits — no, wait, make that 41 million and one.

For yet another banality, Mr. Rangel is the Knave of the week.

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