- The Washington Times - Friday, March 25, 2005

Nobles: Canadian bureaucrat Brian Goodman, for rejecting bogus asylum claims by an American Army deserter.

Canada has long been alluring to American draft dodgers and deserters. Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau declared his country a refuge during Vietnam and took in as many as 50,000 American duty-shirkers. But this week, Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board denied political asylum to an Army paratrooper who fled Fort Bragg, N.C., in January 2004 to avoid serving in Iraq.

Spc. Jeremy Hinzman, 26, made a creative argument for asylum. Call it “part-time pacifism.” Spc. Hinzman told the board he would be willing to complete his four-year obligation to the Army — but not if he had to fight. He believed the war in Iraq was illegal and unjust, he explained, but would serve if he could do so in some non-combat capacity.

Mr. Goodman told Spc. Hinzman to pack his bags. “I find Mr. Hinzman’s position to be inherently contradictory,” he wrote. “Surely an intelligent young man like Mr. Hinzman who believes the war in Iraq to be illegal, unjust and waged for economic reasons, would be unwilling to participate in any capacity, whether as combatant or noncombatant.” The ruling has implications for as many as 100 other American deserters who fled to Canada after the Iraq war started.

For calling a deserter a deserter, Brian Goodman is the Noble of the week.

Knaves: Playgirl magazine, for firing its Republican editor.

Far be it for conservatives to advise smut-peddlers on their hiring decisions. But if you believe Playgirl editor Michele Zipp, being Republican was the only reason the pornographer-in-chief got axed. After she dropped the R-bomb in an interview in early March, her staff rebelled. They “expressed their disinterest of working for an outed Republican editor,” she told the Drudge Report Web site. Soon after, she got her pink slip.

If you believe pornographers, they’re fervent believers in First Amendment rights. But that belief apparently didn’t apply in Ms. Zipp’s case. She thinks Playgirl was afraid of the idea of a Republican woman editor, telling Drudge about “the fear the liberal left has about a woman with power possessing Republican views.” In a classic non-denial denial, the magazine’s press release said: “Playgirl values all political affiliations and anyone on its staff is free to express those opinions.” But as a top magazine executive reportedly told Ms. Zipp: “I wouldn’t have hired you if I knew you were a Republican.”

Quashing dissent is remarkable from a magazine that regularly invokes the First Amendment to peddle its smut. Just three years ago, in Playgirl Inc. v. Solano, “Baywatch” actor Jose Solano sued the magazine for wrongly implying on its cover that he had posed nude in its pages. He hadn’t posed at all. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled against Playgirl: “The First Amendment does not protect knowingly false speech.”

For showing gross intolerance while hypocritically invoking free-speech rights to sell porn, Playgirl magazine is the Knave of the week.

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