Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Tom Brokaw: Saddam Hanging Fuels Sectarian Violence

Retired NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw did a beautiful job with his eulogy of former President Gerald Ford at his funeral at the National Cathedral this morning. Mr. Brokaw had this to say to radio show host Don Imus earlier in the day, speaking about the United States' role in this week's hanging of Saddam Hussein:

.... we portray ourselves around the world as the champions of democracy and the rule of law — -

- - First of all, that began to unravel in the eyes of a lot of people in that part of world with Abu Ghraib and the great cruelties and indignities that were imposed on people there. The debate goes on here about Guantanamo and about access to people’s private records - -

And then to say that we are going to install in Iraq a judicial system and a democratic form of government and have something that resembled the worst kind of nightmare out of the old American West. Not much dignity. He was, he was a god awful man and he did have a trial, but not have control of the execution, and to have it really just fuel more sectarian violence at a time when we are trying to dampen that is not helpful, which is an understatement.

Excerpt from Mr. Brokaw's comments at the funeral of former President Gerald R. Ford:

Gerald Ford brought to the political arena no demons, no hidden agenda, no hit list or acts of vengeance. He knew who he was and he didn’t require consultants or gurus to change him. Moreover, the country knew who he was and despite occasional differences, large and small, it never lost its affection for this man from Michigan, the football player, the lawyer and the veteran, the Congressman and suburban husband, the champion of Main Street values who brought all of those qualities to the White House.

Once there, he stayed true to form, never believing that he was suddenly wiser and infallible because he drank his morning coffee from a cup with a presidential seal.

He didn’t seek the office. And yet, as he told his friend, the late, great journalist Hugh Sidey, he was not frightened of the task before him.

Full transcript of Mr. Brokaw's eulogy at NYT (subsc req) The wonderfully silly story about the Chickenhead will live forever. ;)


Patty Ann Smith said...

We were given a few days of grace this week with President Gerald Ford back in our Capitol. By the tributes that were given, his spirit was everywhere. It was a few days of healing reminders of what is "right" with America. And, we need to keep that in our hearts as we continue our battles with so much that is "wrong".

Iddybud said...

I agree, Patty Ann. I was especially heartened to hear about former President Ford's wish to see reconciliation among Episcopalians in America. The theme at the base of President Ford's hope is closely related to the theme we should all put forward in 2007, which is reconciliation for citizens of America, regardless of our polarizing differences regarding our culture. President Ford loved his church as much as he loved his country, not for the differences in the people who make up those institutions, but for the strength of the many common ties that bind us. Successful teamwork, whether in the church or the nation, leaves a lot of breathing room for a respect for all of our differences. President Ford "got it" and he made difficult choices that were often seen as politically incorrect. In retrospect, they were for the strength of the nation he loved so much.

Patty Ann Smith said...

You know, Jude, after this week, it makes me "feel good" to think about Grand Rapids, Michigan and what it might be like to live there and go to the Grace Episcopal Church! :)