- The Washington Times - Friday, December 15, 2006

Nobles: Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army’s chief of staff, for some much needed honesty this holiday season.

Whatever one’s feelings on Iraq or the larger war on terror, it has been apparent for some time now that the U.S. military is much too small to meet America’s needs abroad. In some welcome no-nonsense comments before the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves Thursday, Gen. Schoomaker voiced his concerns.

“The Army is incapable of generating and sustaining the required forces to wage the global war on terror,” the general said. “At this pace, without recurrent access to the reserve components, through remobilization, we will break the active component.” While it’s true few predicted that the military would still be in the middle of two wars nearly four years after the invasion of Iraq, it was always a fantasy to think that pre-September 11 the United States wouldn’t need to maintain a large standing Army.

As Gen. Schoomaker said, “I recommend we grow the Army so that we have choices. Our history is replete with examples where we have guessed wrong: 1941, 1950, 2001, to name a few. We don’t know what’s ahead.”

The general’s point goes far beyond whatever the administration decides in Iraq. Threats loom on the horizon which the United States has been too ready to ignore. One day those threats will need to be dealt with and the military must be ready.

For giving it straight, Gen. Schoomaker is the Noble of the week.

Knaves: Senator-elect Jim Webb, who should have a better excuse than this.

Veterans down in Virginia Beach are quite miffed at Mr. Webb right now. The newly elected Democrat had promised to appear at a Veterans’ Day event, only to back out the last minute. These things happen, especially for an incoming senator, but with Mr. Webb’s petulant explanation, it’s no wonder the veterans are angry.

In a letter to the Virginian-Pilot he wrote: “The logistics involved in getting from Northern Virginia to the event and then back again (four hours drive time each way — there was never an offer by the event’s organizers to fly me there, or otherwise take care of transportation expenses), would have eaten up an entire weekend.” Pity the poor senator-elect, who can’t be expected to go anywhere these days without a private jet, and the great tasks he must attend to.

Such as? He continues: “This would have given me no time to prepare for orientation week.” Orientation week; yes, one sympathizes. But then couldn’t Mr. Webb have prepared in the eight hours of driving time? He concludes, “And quite frankly I am rather perplexed that there would not be a greater understanding of the circumstances that caused me to miss it.”

Let’s have Navy vet Larry McCauley answer that: “I did something I never did before — voted for a Democrat. He owes us.”

For being “perplexed,” Mr. Webb is the Knave of the week.

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