Friday, January 12, 2007

Nobles: Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, whom President Bush this week posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Readers ended 2006 by honoring Petty Office 2nd Class Michael Monsoor, a Navy SEAL, as Noble of the Year. As you no doubt recall, Petty Officer Monsoor saved two of his fellow SEALs by falling on a grenade in Ramadi last year. That kind of courage cannot be taught nor can it ever be asked of another. Which is why, as unbelievable as Petty Officer Monsoor’s action was, it is even more unbelievable that he wasn’t the only one.

On April 14, 2004, Cpl. Dunham’s squad was conducting a reconnaissance mission in Karabilah, Iraq, when a nearby convoy came under fire. Cpl. Dunham led his squad to the scene, where he ordered his men to keep surrounding vehicles from leaving. At that point, a man jumped out of one of the vehicles and lunged at Cpl. Dunham. As the two fought hand-to-hand, Cpl. Dunham noticed that the insurgent held a grenade and ordered his men back. During the fighting, the insurgent dropped the live hand grenade.

From the Defense Department’s own citation: “[W]ithout hesitating Dunham took off his Kevlar helmet, covered the grenade with it, and threw himself on top to smother the blast. Dunham’s actions saved the lives of the other two Marines.”

As the first Marine awarded the Medal of Honor in the war on terror, Cpl. Dunham is the Noble of the week.

Knaves: Rep. Silvestre Reyes, Texas Democrat, who could learn a thing or two about honesty.

Last year, as late as December in fact, Mr. Reyes had sound advice for the Bush administration. “We have to consider the need for additional troops to be in Iraq, to take the militias and stabilize Iraq… I would say 20,000 to 30,000, for the specific purpose of making sure those militias are dismantled, working in concert with the Iraqi military.”

After listening to President Bush’s address to the nation the other night, during which he explicitly stated that he would send 20,000 more troops to Iraq, wouldn’t it appear as if Mr. Reyes got what he wanted?

Incredibly, no. Following the president’s speech, Mr. Reyes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said, “We don’t have the capability to escalate even to this minimal level [20,000 more troops].” Slip of the tongue perhaps? Hardly. On his Web site, Mr. Reyes wrote: “President Bush’s decision to send more troops into Iraq is the wrong one.”

Nothing has fundamentally changed about either the U.S. military or the situation in Iraq in a month for Mr. Reyes to shamelessly contradict himself. If Mr. Reyes thinks otherwise, he should articulate himself to the American people.

Until then, Mr. Reyes is the Knave of the week.

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