- The Washington Times - Friday, September 30, 2005

Nobles: Gen. Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who retired this week after 40 years of service.

As an engineering student at Kansas State University, Gen. Myers enrolled in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program, because, as he says, “Vietnam was heating up, and I had no problem with serving. I just wanted to have some control over how I did it.” He was commissioned in 1965 and soon sent to Vietnam, where he flew F-4s. But the future four-star general didn’t expect to stay in the military.

“I really planned on spending five years in the Air Force and then getting out,” he said, according to American Forces Information Service. However, fate has a way of intervening: “The Air Force kept promoting me and sending me to schools, and I enjoyed life.” As the Pentagon notes in his biography, Gen. Myers has attended the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama; the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania; and the Program for Senior Executives in National and International Security at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He also has a degree in business administration from Auburn University.

Somewhere in all that schooling Gen. Myers managed to log 4,100 flying hours in the T-33, C-37, C-21, F-4, F-15 and F-16, including 600 combat hours in the F-4. It seems the general decided that the military life suited him, and a nation is grateful that it did.

As chairman, Gen. Myers has been both instrumental and indispensable in radically transforming the U.S. military into a 21st-century fighting force. He has presided over two victorious wars, notwithstanding the ongoing struggle in Iraq, while strengthening America’s military dominance. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, whom the general often appeared beside during contentious press conferences, spoke presciently when he said that when the history of this age is written it will remember Gen. Myers.

For a job extremely well done, Gen. Myers is the Noble of the week.

Knaves: Intikab Habib, the New York Fire Department’s most recent Muslim chaplain.

Here’s what happens when naive bureaucracies bow to political correctness. The FDNY apparently thought not to ask questions when its Islamic Society recommended Mr. Habib for the department’s Muslim chaplain position. “We don’t ask new employees about their political views before we hire them,” said a department spokesman, according to Newsday. No doubt that’s a sound policy, except for the fact that it was radicalized Muslims who sent hundreds of New York firefighters to their deaths four years ago, a day Mr. Habib has some unusual (for this country, anyway) ideas about.

“I’ve heard professionals say that nowhere ever in history did a steel building come down with fire alone,” mused the Saudi-trained imam. “It takes two or three weeks to demolish a building like that. But it [the Twin Towers] was pulled down in a couple of hours.” You might be wondering where Mr. Habib is going with this. Well, he continues, “Was it 19 hijackers who brought it down, or was it a conspiracy?” But whoever did it, the imam feels really bad about it. “It was a very wrong thing.”

Mr. Habib got as far as being sworn in yesterday, until resigning almost immediately afterward, which is too bad. New York’s bravest would surely have welcomed Mr. Habib with open arms — or, rather, a fire hose to wash that mouth out.

For getting as far as he did, Mr. Habib is the Knave of the week.


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