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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

CNN.com - Former Secretary of Defense Weinberger dies at 88 - Mar 28, 2006
It's a bad day to be a former Reagan Cabinet member, apparently.
Weinberger, who presided over an unprecedented peacetime military buildup costing more than $1 trillion, began his government career as a cost-cutter.

When he took the defense post in January 1981, Weinberger soon erased the nickname -- "Cap the Knife" -- critics had pinned on him in his penny-pinching days as federal budget director under President Richard Nixon.

Weinberger performed with gusto the task of persuading Congress to spend over $1 trillion on arms in Reagan's first term and billions more after that.

He also steadfastly opposed concessions to Moscow in arms control negotiations advocated by Secretary of State George Shultz and other more moderate members of the Cabinet.

He made himself unpopular with many lawmakers by his unbending, often contentious push for funds for arms and for Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative -- a program, commonly known as "Star Wars," to develop a land- and space-based shield against incoming ballistic missiles.
May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

UPDATE: Some nice stories about "Cap" from The Corner:
Kathryn I wanted to share with you a story about Mr. Weinberger. As a college senior, I wrote my thesis on SDI and its impact on ending the Cold War. On a whim, I figured I'd call Mr. Weinberger to see if he'd be willing to be interviewed for my thesis. I had no expectation that he'd answer my call, much less talk with me. I contacted his office at Forbes and spoke with his secretary. I explained to her what I was doing and she told me that she talk to him and get back to me. 15 minutes later she called back and asked if I had time to talk with him. He then gave me 30 minutes of his time, answering all of my questions and sharing a few stories as well. He could not have been more generous or gracious. I'm writing in hopes that you can in some way share my story with your readers. Too often it seems that we lose perspective on the human side of those serving in government. Here was a former Secretary of Defense willing to take time out of his day to talk to some no name college student he didn't know. I've always been impressed and somewhat awed by this. Anyway, I enjoy reading The Corner, keep up the good work. Best regards, Mike LaFontaine
Kathryn Jean, the Cap Weinberger news ...

... reminded me of the 1999 Baltic cruise, that included Weinberger. We were warned of the high cost of calling long distance from the boat ($7.50/min,) but when we docked at a Danish port, were told there was a phone booth at the dock, with regular international rates.

I looked down at that phone booth, and it had a long line of NRcruisers in front of it...about half way in was Weinberger, waiting as patiently as anyone.

Arn Nelson in CHicago

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