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Tom Brokaw’s Huff Po Interview


Tom Brokaw gave an extensive interview to The Huffington Post to promote his new book, Boom. Some interesting excerpts.

Brokaw thinks the Dem decision to authorize the Iraq war had more to do with politics than anything else:

But do you think the lessons [of Vietnam] were even remotely learned?

I was surprised there wasn’t more discussion about it. My own personal opinion is that the Democratic party, and those members of the Democratic party who voted for authorization of this war were haunted more by ‘91 than they were by Vietnam — you may not remember this, but in ‘91 the Democratic party was deeply divided on whether
Or not they should authorize military action against Saddam Hussein in Desert Storm I. And then it went well and they paid a political price for it, in their judgment. I think that haunted them this time more than Vietnam did.

Brokaw on crime in the inner cities, immigration and gang violence:

The reminds me of the kerfuffle a couple of weeks ago when Brian talked about the ’attack on marriage’ — that’s where marriage is being not “attacked” but certainly undermined in the black community.

Yeah. I know. I know it is — and there’s a helluva lot of concern for the people who came through the civil rights movement, and worked so hard and made so many sacrifices. They think (a) there’s an underappreciation of what they went through and (b) there’s great despair that people are now in reverse, they’re not in forward gear anymore.

I did a documentary in Jackson, Mississippi after Katrina because we decided that we could show that it’s not just in New Orleans — and Jackson had historic roots in the civil rights campaign, obviously, and we came up with these great stories of — The entire city of Jackson now in its power structure is black — the editor of the paper’s black, the police chief’s black, the most prominent law firm in town is black — and in the old Georgetown black neighborhood, so many of the families are in worse shape now than they would have been 40 years ago, because of drugs and missing fathers and no premium on education because the bright kids in the area have gone away from the near high school. It’s going on in Watts as well — Stan Sanders talks about it in the book (p. 310) — he goes back and he’s depressed by what he finds at Jordan High School [armed gangs]. Watts is really in the grips of violent, well-organized gangs, organized around the drug culture.

Tancredo’s using that. The gang culture is being used as a wedge to push the immigration agenda forward.

Yes, but there is a reality about the presence of these gangs and the amount of violence in the inner cities of America. Forty years ago you didn’t have these kinds of drive-by shootings and lethal, heavily-armed gangs at war with each other, in the streets of Los Angeles, Chicago — you name the city. I was just in Philadelphia, they’ve got a horrendous problem with homicides

And the missing question from the debates:

What would you like to see come up? Besides these issues?

Well, I — Tim [Russert] and I talked about this on a panel the other day: The American airline industry is broken. You can’t travel in this country — you get delays, you lose your bags, you stand in lines, you can’t figure out what the price structure is — and this is the greatest industrial country in the world! And air transportation is a central part of how we move goods and people, and we should expect it to operate at the highest possible levels.

I don’t think those are the issues exciting people on political strategy teams…I guess they don’t poll well.

They may not poll well but this is where people live — they don’t poll well among the kind of hard-core dedicated people who are in the primaries. But at some point somebody’s going to have to start addressing these things.


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