Monday, February 11, 2008

Tom Lantos requiescat in pace

I didn't know this about Tom Lantos, but apparently his rescue from Nazi-occupied eastern Europe included help from the amazing Raoul Wallenberg. Talk about a life that left ripples spreading through generations-- Wallenberg saved thousands of Jews, and presuming certain math formulae for reproduction and for aliyah (emigration to Israel), it is certain that Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish aristocrat, can be personally credited with making life possible for a substantial portion of the population of present day Israel. The Wallenberg story, even though it's been made into a movie, has not yet been told enough, in my view.

At 80, the old geezer Lantos has finally left us, heart failure the cause.

Tom Lantos, lately remembered for his thinly veiled insults to General Petraeus in the hearings last fall, lived a full and uniquely American life.

He was the only holocaust survivor in Congress, and for the most part he had convictions equal to his experience. Lately, though, he had registered such profound opposition to Bush's foreign policy pursuits in the middle east that he had begun to sound like a typical liberal democrat rather than a moderate to conservative, old fashioned democrat, which he was for decades.

His Hungarian accent never seemed to diminish, no matter how many decades he was 'American by choice'. I recall back in the '90s, when Admiral Jeremy Boorda was discovered to be wearing medals he had not earned and killed himself over it, Lantos was prone to bring that up in discussions; his 'Mission: Impossible' style, 'generic eastern Eurovillain' accent was quite entertaining when he pronounced the word 'suicide'.

But everyone will remember him for this:

"With all due respect, General Petraeus, I don't buy it."

It came out "eye doan bie eeet."

Congressman Tom Lantos (D. Hungary); he will live on, as long as those audio clips are still useful to talk radio and network news.

eye doan bie eet.

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