Saturday, June 4, 2011

Lawrence Eagleburger, RIP

We note today the passing of former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, who died yesterday at the age of 81.

Now if you remember Eagleburger at all--a sensible career State Department employee of the very old school--you likely remember him for two things: he was one of the few of that species who ran toward Republicanism, and he was, er, um, a man of great size.

Actually he went beyond that. He was tremendously obese--as in 350 lbs+ obese. And yet that did not harm his career in the least, which is a testimony of how great a man he truly was. (The joke on Capitol Hill was that "You can always tell where Lawrence Eagleburger stands on any issue; there are dents in the floor.")

But he bore that with dignity and never let it get in the way of his true vocation, which was to preserving peace and advancing the interests of the United States (not always in that order, but that was his job).

He also had a great sense of humor. From the Fox story:
Asked at a Senate confirmation hearing if he had ever in public or private pinched a woman's behind, Eagleburger replied: "Can I divide that into two questions?"

Asked by reporters how he planned to run the State Department after Baker's departure, Eagleburger responded: "Badly."

He named each of his three sons Lawrence -- they used their middle names Scott, Andrew and Jason -- and had a lack of pretension that was appreciated on Capitol Hill, and elsewhere.

"It was ego," Eagleburger told The Washington Post about giving his sons the same first name. "And secondly, I wanted to screw up the Social Security system."

He also played a major role in bringing peace to the former Yugoslavia and in stopping Serbian aggression there--for which he received little thanks.

A life well lived, Mr. Eagleburger. I salute you. Rest in peace.

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Keep it clean for gene.