The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
MARGARET WARNER: Good evening, I'm Margaret Warner. Jim Lehrer is on vacation. On the NewsHour tonight, our summary of the news, then: Updates from severalAsian countries devastated by the tsunami, with a special focus on Indonesia, where the death toll has nearly doubled in the last 24 hours; that crisis, and other events of 2004 as seen by NewsHour regulars Michael Beschloss, Ellen Fitzpatrick, and Richard Norton Smith; and a closing tribute to jazz great Shirley Horn.
MARGARET WARNER: At least 117,000 people are now believed dead from Sunday's devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Of the 11 nations affected, Indonesia was hardest hit. The death toll there jumped to 80,000 today. The number of dead also rose in Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand. Some relief shipments are beginning to arrive, but teams have yet to reach more remote areas. And officials say they expect the death toll to rise further still. Kwame Holman narrates this report.
KWAME HOLMAN: The number of dead seems incalculable, as tens of thousands more bodies have been found all across the Indian Ocean rim. Thousands of people of many nationalities still are missing, including more than 2,000 Americans who have not yet been heard from. Fourteen Americans are known dead. Much of the western coastline of Indonesia's Sumatra Island was swallowed up in the tsunami, and the death toll there of 80,000 is expected to climb. Sumatra, particularly its Aceh Province, was closest to the epicenter of Sunday's 9.0 magnitude quake. In Washington today, Secretary of State Colin Powell made a round of visits to the embassies of nations affected by the disaster and pledged the U.S. would do everything necessary to help.
COLIN POWELL: As the need becomes better known and established, you can expect that the United States will add more to the funds that we have already provided. It's important that we do this right, deal with the initial humanitarian tragedy, and help people who are in desperate need now, but don't lose sight of the need for rehabilitation, reconstruction of homes and businesses and the economy later on.
KWAME HOLMAN: Aid shipments reached some of the more remote areas today, but not without difficulty. Many roads were completely destroyed. Some survivors lined up for their first food in days. At the United Nations in New York, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he was satisfied with the pledges of relief money so far but acknowledged the scope of the disaster is overwhelming.
KOFI ANNAN: It's so huge that no one agency or one country can deal with it alone, and that we need to coordinate our efforts and pool our efforts to have maximum impact on the crisis. And everybody seems to be aware that is going to require lots of money, lots of effort, and for the longer term. (Sirens)
KWAME HOLMAN: A fresh panic briefly shook people along the coastlines of Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia today as sirens blared, warning of another tsunami. Thousands fled into the streets. It turned out to be a false alarm.
MARGARET WARNER: Late today a White House Spokesman said Secretary of State Powell and Florida Governor Jeb Bush would head a U.S. delegation to the region, they'll depart this weekend. We'll have more on the tsunami and its aftermath right after the News Summary. In Iraq today, the U.S. Military announced twenty-five insurgents and one American soldier died last night in a major firefight in Mosul. Insurgents tried to ram a truck packed with half a ton of explosives into a U.S. Military post, they then ambushed U.S. reinforcements when they arrived. The American troops responded with gunfire and air strikes. The incident comes a week after a suicide bomb attack in a military mess hall in Mosulkilled 22 people, mostly American servicemen. The Defense Department plans to cut its big weapons budget request for the first time since the 9/11 attacks. The New York Times reported today the proposed cuts would total $60 billion over six years. They include: Retiring one of the Navy's 12 aircraft carriers, and putting off the purchase of more destroyers, buying fewer amphibious landing ships for the Marines and curtailing the Air Force's F-22 fighter program. The proposals are responding to a White House request for cuts from all federal agencies. But the Times noted the Pentagon is planning to ask Congress early next year for an additional $80 billion to support the war in Iraq. Ukraine's central election commission today rejected the prime minister's appeal of last weekend's presidential re-run. Viktor Yanukovich had alleged massive voting irregularities in Sunday's election. But, the commission said there was no evidence to support that claim. Initial results show opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko winning the run-off by more than two million votes. In Washington, a State Department spokesman said Ukraine should move promptly to finalize the election.
RICHARD BOUCHER: As far as we're concerned we do look to the Ukrainians to resolve these matters swiftly. I think the election commission has made some decisions today, there's still a judicial possibility, a judicial process. That needs to be resolved. But we would hope those things would be resolved in a spirit of fairness and quickly.
MARGARET WARNER: A Yanukovich aide said the prime minister will appeal the commission's ruling to the Supreme Court. Today, that court turned down four minor complaints from Yanukovich over alleged procedural flaws in the election. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon struck a deal with Israel's opposition labor party today. He named its leader, Shimon Peres, his senior deputy. That opens the way for labor to join Sharon's ruling Likud Party in a unity government, possibly as early as next week. Sharon has sought an accord with labor, to support his plan to withdraw Israeli settlers from Gaza next year. Back in the U.S., 58 days after the election, and three vote counts later, Democrat Christine Gregoire was certified the winner in Washington State's governor's race today. She won an historic hand recount, by 129 votes, out of almost three million cast. The initial count and a machine re-count had given the win to her Republican rival, Dino Rossi. He responded to today's result by calling for a new election. Gregoire said it's time to move forward. On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost almost 29 points, to close at 10800. The NASDAQ rose one point, to close above 2178. And legendary ban leader Artie Shaw died at his Los Angeles home today after years of declining health. His 1938 hit, "Begin the Begine" earned him the title King of Swing, it became one of the best selling records in history. Artie Shaw was 94 years old. And that's it for the News Summary tonight. Now it's on to: The tsunami disaster; a special focus on hard-hit Indonesia; Beschloss, Fitzpatrick and Smith; and jazz great Shirley Horn.
UPDATE - TSUNAMI DISASTER
MARGARET WARNER: We begin our tsunami coverage with three reports from Independent Television News. The first is from the island nation of Sri Lanka. The correspondent is Katie Razzall.
KATIE RAZZALL: What's left of beach front, a thousand bodies recovered so far. A fisherman told us the sea rose up 20 feet, flooding the area -- people swimming for their lives. Everybody is touched by death. Like many Sri Lankans, this man works to support his family. Now they are gone.
MAN: My wife and my baby...
KATIE RAZZALL: I'm so sorry.
MAN: So what can I do? What can I do?
KATIE RAZZALL: You can see how high the ocean rose up, sweeping tiles off that house, throwing this boat up onto the roof of this house, this with a Sunday market going on over there, thousands of people in this area, sea coming in, destroying everything as far as the eye can see -- a mosque that was there, completely destroyed. A tenth of the population is homeless, most of the help we've seen was donated by Sri Lankans themselves. Food and water isn't a problem here, but authorities don't have gloves, masks, equipment to cope with the corpses, disease a real concern.
MAN: My uncle, he died.
KATIE RAZZALL: To the west, constant reminders of loss in the wreckage of homes. Everyone is still dazed. The ocean is always been a friend to this fishing and tourist town, but on Sunday it turned on them with no warning at all. There are stories of miraculous survival. This man rushed his family onto their roof, and then fished drowning people from the 8-foot high torrent in the street below.
BANDULA JAYASURIJYA: I seen, I take up this rope, I throw, I pick up. Pick up some people here.
KATIE RAZZALL: Normal life goes on where it can. Incredibly, this fishing boat and its cargo was swept by the water over the reef of the fish market, winched down again yesterday intact and the tuna is headed for the capital... but such stories are rare in a place now an island in mourning.
MAN: From this home, a mother and daughter lost, from another home, father and small daughter lost.
KATIE RAZZALL: This was a country on the verge of prosperity after years of civil war. But within minutes, lives and businesses washed away. This man's guest houses are in ruins, no insurance, no money to start again and no prospect of tourists returning soon.
MARGARET WARNER: Now ITN's Lucy Manning reports from India's South Coast, which was once dotted with fishing villages.
LUCY MANNING: In Nagappattinam, they knew the sea, lived by it, fished in it, but none could imagine what it could do to them. Half of India's victims killed here. Upturned boats mirroring lives turned upside down. This could pass as wasteland, but a thousand families lived here on this back water stretch -- the smoke now rising from where their homes one stood, 700 cremated here. "My grandsons, my grandsons," she cries, here some of the tens of thousands of homeless stay, this their temporary home was a wedding hall, now only sorrow in a place more used to joy. The four children of this family survived, but they lost both their mother and father. On the streets, they clamor for the bread that volunteers hand out. These people were fishing families, getting their food from the same sea that has now reduced them to handouts. The aid effort has been criticized, too slow and too little. And it certainly looks haphazard as clothes are handed out,. Minutes later another truck arrives to pick up all the unwanted items that have just been delivered. And the local politicians come, but the volunteers say they do nothing.
MAN ON STREET: They're all coming, making a, out making a big show, going away. No help has come so far.
LUCY MANNING: But some look like they are beyond help, just sitting in the rubble where they once lived. Others struggle for normality, when there is none to be found.
MARGARET WARNER: New earthquake aftershocks in the Indian Ocean today sparked panic along the coasts of Sri Lanka and India. The Indian government issued a tsunami warning at midday, then retracted it hours later. ITN's Martin Geissler reports from India's Andaman Islands.
MARTIN GEISSLER: Panic. This was Port Blair on Andaman Island today. "Run," shouts these men and hundreds fleeing for their lives, they'd heard another tsunami was coming. Some though, couldn't move, they weren't able, they could only wait, bewildered. Here, a simple river can do this. And that is causing these islanders desperate, desperate, concern.
MAN: We get the feeling that we might get stepped on by the sea at any time, it's very insecure because of this fear.
MARTIN GEISSLER: The people on these islands feel exposed in every sense, just a few hundred miles from the earthquake's epicenter, the Indian government has warned them one big aftershock could bring the seas back upon them once again. More than 10,000 are still missing here on one island cluster alone. The media are being denied access to the worst affected places, and so, alarmingly, are some of the world's biggest aid agencies. One group interrupted a government press conference this evening to make their frustrations clear.
STUART ZIMBLE, Doctors Without Borders: From a medical humanitarian perspective, we would like to be invited to go in, any helicopter or boat trip going to any of these outlying areas, in order to help and to look and to assess what is going on. Would you allow us to do that?
MARTIN GEISSLER: "We'll think about it in the morning," they were told. It will be weeks, if not months, before the world learns the full story of what has happened here. Sadly, time is something the worst affected on these islands, don't have.
MARGARET WARNER: Now, we focus on the hardest-hit nation of all, Indonesia, the death toll there has reached nearly 80,000. We start with a report by Dan Rivers of Independent Television News from Aceh Province on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
DAN RIVERS: The first glimpse of what the Indonesians are calling their ground zero. The West Coast of Aceh Province was hardest hit. This amateur footage shows the town of Malabo; officially 3,000 died here. Unofficially, some think perhaps half the 30,000 residents have perished. It is a town still cut off from the outside world, five days after this catastrophe. This is all that remains of Tenom, not a single building left standing. And this is Chelang, it's been wiped off the map. It was filmed by conservationist Mike Griffiths. He showed it to the deputy governor of Aceh Province today. He was horrified, unaware of just how bad the west coast now is. Later, we ventured down Aceh's nightmarish seaboard, driving through mile after mile of desolation. This is just typical of the scenes we've encountered on this road. The tsunami smashed its way through here. You can see before the tsunami came you couldn't see to the horizon, now you can see all the way out to sea. It deposited all this debris here and after the waves had come through, the villagers say there were screams of people still trapped alive and drowned. The next day this entire place had fallen silent. The people here are starving; this 60-year-old woman survived but will die unless she gets food. She told me she hasn't eaten for five days. This woman has been found on a nearby hill; she's weak and has had no water since Sunday. We helped her into an ambulance bound for Banda Aceh. We've just given this woman 100,000 rupee which is a few pounds and they say it might make the difference between surviving and not surviving. They are taking her to the hospital; she's been up in thejungle for four days with no food and no water. This is one example of just hundreds of thousands of people here. This old man has been pulling corpses from the rubble, without help, without water. We give him ours, he's too tired, too traumatized, to talk. The bodies are everywhere, rotting in the road. Just horrific. Laid out without ceremony, grotesquely deformed. Mike had seen this from the air, but nothing could prepare him for experiencing it up close.
MIKE GRIFFITHS: It does remind me of the pictures we see of Nagasaki or Hiroshima, where there was just, I think, one building, one cathedral standing, a gutted cathedral standing and the rest was leveled -- a level plain of shards. And that's more or less the situation here, we have one big building to our left and the rest is just nothing except debris.
DAN RIVERS: These people are on their own, there's no aid here yet. They're walking to escape, but this road leads nowhere.
MARGARET WARNER: For more, we turn to Zamira Loebis, a reporter for Time Magazine in Indonesia. Born and raised there, she also teaches English literature at the university of Indonesia. She's just returned to Jakarta after spending three days in Banda Aceh. And we spoke by phone late this afternoon.
Zamira Loebis, welcome. You were in Banda Aceh for three days, give us your impressions of what you saw.
ZAMIRA LOEBIS: The first impression was that the whole city, it's a city that I used to know, you know, full of bustling and full of happy people around strolling; it has been turned into a huge garbage dump basically and full of debris everywhere -- from debris of wooden planks, cars, bicycles, and, you know, dead bodies from animals like snakes, rats, chickens, goats, even a water buffalo and unfortunately human beings. The most, you know, significant is the change in front of the beautiful old grand mosque. It was a mosque built in the 19th century. Prior to the big tidal wave, if you go to the mosque you see very nice cozy, green grass in front of the mosque. I remember people strolling there in the afternoon back then. But the other day the place was full of muddy debris.
MARGARET WARNER: You talk about these bodies. Were they, had they been stacked up, had they been sort of arranged in any kind of way, or were they just lying there randomly three or four days after the tsunami?
ZAMIRA LOEBIS: Sunday night they started collecting the bodies, and in the beginning they still had enough carpet or mattresses or whatever they had to cover the bodies, but in the end there were so many of them they ended up not having anything, so they just took up the bodies from the debris and just left them, you know, lying there until the Red Cross picked them up. But they only had two ambulances that night, so there were not enough people to help bring in the bodies --
MARGARET WARNER: Now tell me what kind of relief efforts, what kind of aid you saw while you were there, that had actually gotten in, either in the way of supplies or in the way of relief workers.
ZAMIRA LOEBIS: Unfortunately I only saw relief efforts only when I was about to leave. I actually went down on the second day, and on our way back to Banda Aceh, I saw dozens of them bringing in food or water, and gasoline, on my way back in the morning on the third day. But before that people just, you know, tried to help each other out with whatever they had, and practically everybody was a victim in Banda Aceh.
MARGARET WARNER: We're reading reports of relief supplies stacked up at the airport, both at Jakarta and at Banda Aceh but not able to be distributed. Did you see any of that?
ZAMIRA LOEBIS: Yes, when I returned, and in Banda Aceh before... I saw food and medicine still intact, in a hangar of the airport. I think that was because there was not enough workers to actually, you know, load these things to a truck. Even if you have enough workers, then there are not enough trucks there.
MARGARET WARNER: So in the absence of relief assistance, how are the survivors that you spoke with, how were they coping?
ZAMIRA LOEBIS: You know, Acehnese are very strong people and resilient. But I'm afraid that scene of people starting to eat instant noodles without cooking it first because there is no clean water, and some of them have even started to use the contaminated water because they couldn't stand it any more. So definitely, you know, the relief workers will have to work very, very fast before diseases start to spread.
MARGARET WARNER: All right. Zamira Loebis, thank you so much.
ZAMIRA LOEBIS: You're welcome.
MARGARET WARNER: Now, an official view of the situation in Indonesia. We get that from Soemadi Brotodiningrat; he's Indonesia's ambassador to the United States.
Mr. Ambassador, welcome. And, first, our deepest sympathies --
SOEMADI BROTODININGRAT: Thank you very much.
MARGARET WARNER: The death toll in Indonesia just jumped horribly in the last 24 hours from 45,000 to 80,000.
SOEMADI BROTODININGRAT: Yes.
MARGARET WARNER: Was that because regions were so inaccessible you just had no sense earlier of how many had died?
SOEMADI BROTODININGRAT: Well, yes. One is because it happened in the less developed part of Aceh. You know the eastern part of Aceh is the region which is more developed and the western is less developed. So even under normal circumstances, this is already, it's accessible, it was accessible, but not as easily as in the east part. And the second is that the loss of life is such that practically all the government, the local government are paralyzed. You know, I got the information that, the man you just saw in the picture, even he couldn't find his secretary - so, you know, it was a slow thing because everything is paralyzed. But then the vice president came and then things get a little bit step by step moving.
MARGARET WARNER: Do you have reason to think that the death toll will get higher?
SOEMADI BROTODININGRAT: I think yes, because yesterday I was with C-Span, and my office, the official count that I got is still 27,175. That's yesterday morning. And when I was about to leave my office in the early evening yesterday, it was already 32,000, almost 33,000. And when I came back early this morning to my office, it was already past 45,000. So the number of 80,000 perhaps not yet certified, but with the rate of increase that we experienced in the last two days, I don't think that it is an exaggerated --
MARGARET WARNER: You said the local government there had really been just about paralyzed. Does that help explain the difficulty in distributing relief supplies that are coming in?
SOEMADI BROTODININGRAT: Part of it. But the other part is the damage in the communication network, like the roads and so on. That's the most means of communications which we are now needing are helicopters which can pass by the damaged roads.
MARGARET WARNER: I see, you mean and air drop in the supplies?
SOEMADI BROTODININGRAT: Not drop in, but the helicopter can land, and come back again to take because trucks can reach only a certain point. There are roads, half of it damaged, so four-wheel vehicle cannot pass. But motorcycle could still pass. But what can a motorcycle carry. So helicopter is the key.
MARGARET WARNER: Now, this Aceh Province as we know, has been the scene of a guerrilla war that's been going on for a long time there and your government declared marshal law, what, 18 months ago.
SOEMADI BROTODININGRAT: Yes.
MARGARET WARNER: And had some 40,000 soldiers up there. Did most of them survive? What have they been able to do?
SOEMADI BROTODININGRAT: Well, they are part of the victims too. I think they are perished by the hundreds, the soldiers. But this one is actually, I wouldn't say that we were lucky, but still because of the presence there, then although we are not yet fully effective, they begin already to do the relief operations. But then again, they themselves are part of the victims, they perished by the hundreds.
MARGARET WARNER: I had read that when marshal law was declared, your government had not only banned journalists from Aceh Province but really international relief organizations.
SOEMADI BROTODININGRAT: Yes.
MARGARET WARNER: Did that compound your problem of getting up and running now, because these organizations had nothing on the ground?
SOEMADI BROTODININGRAT: No, because this lasted, this martial law lasted only eight months and then we replace it with a civilian emergency.
MARGARET WARNER: With a civilian emergency?
SOEMADI BROTODININGRAT: Yes. And when it happened, Aceh was already under civilian emergency. There were already some NGO's, civilian operations there, there were already some outsiders there, but yes under the civilian emergency, meaning that there were still some restrictions.
MARGARET WARNER: Is the fact, though, that there has been this guerrilla conflict up there, is that hampering the relief effort in any way?
SOEMADI BROTODININGRAT: No, now no longer. I think both the central government, the military and hopefully the guerrillas, they come to their sense that we have something much more urgent to deal with. And our military commander has already declared that they will convert all the military police into the relief operation.
MARGARET WARNER: Going back to the survivors, we interviewed a top expert at the World Health Organization here yesterday, and he warned, as he has elsewhere, of the danger of now disease claiming so many more lives. Are you, do you have any reliable reports yet about whether serious disease has set in there?
SOEMADI BROTODININGRAT: I'm glad that we touched upon this, because up till now the public attention are now focused on the dead; this is the most shocking of course. But then we, we don't have to forget that there are those living victims which need to be taken care of urgently. And we begin, the government begin to do whatever they can, and also coming from all parts of Indonesia, and also from abroad out there, but as you know we still are being hampered by the distribution network because of the damage in the communication network.
MARGARET WARNER: So are you saying that really enough aid is arriving or in the pipeline, but it really is just being blocked by all these distribution problems?
SOEMADI BROTODININGRAT: Well, I can say that is already enough ... but even those who are not yet enough there, we still have the difficulty to really get into the remote areas. I don't think the difficulty still persists in Banda Aceh - it's very much --
MARGARET WARNER: Because it's right there at the tip of the island.
SOEMADI BROTODININGRAT: Right. But in the western coast, especially in the remote area and small islands off the coast, I think it's very difficult still.
MARGARET WARNER: Finally, do you have, and this may be an unfair question, but any sense of - I mean, we just saw all those leveled flattened buildings, just whole blocks, of what percentage of the buildings, the infrastructure has been completely destroyed?
SOEMADI BROTODININGRAT: It depends on the place. For instance in the city of Malabo, for instance, it's more than 20 percent of the buildings is flattened to the ground.
MARGARET WARNER: All right. Mr. Ambassador, thank you for being with us.
SOEMADI BROTODININGRAT: Thank you very much.
FOCUS - YEAR IN REVIEW
MARGARET WARNER: For an historical perspective on this crisis and the year just ending we go to Terence Smith.
TERENCE SMITH: For that we turn to NewsHour regulars Ellen Fitzpatrick, professor of history at the University of New Hampshire, presidential historian Michael Beschloss;
and Richard Norton Smith, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
Welcome to all three of you once more in this year.
Michael, when you look back at the U.S. reaction at least so far and the role that it has to play in a situation like this tsunami, this catastrophe, how do you think people will see it as they look back on 2004?
MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: Well, you know, Terry, we're the world's only superpower right now, so everyone notices every bit of what we do or don't do. And you look back at history, we've done wonderful things, the Marshal Plan is the most obvious. After World War II, we spent billions of dollars to rebuild Europe or at least part of Europe after the devastation of World War II. The big test here is going to be if we can help in a significant way without the kind of foreign policy imperative that there was in the late 1940s. We did the Marshal Plan out of charity, but we also did it to keep the Russians from getting deeply into Europe. People said at the time famine builds communism, unless we do something about it you might have a red Europe.
TERENCE SMITH: So Richard Norton Smith, does geo politics often trump the charitable instinct?
RICHARD NORTON SMITH: Well, it sometimes trumps it. Ideally it complements it. It's interesting there was this kind of unseemly dustup earlier in the week, some people who were calling in to question the generosity of the administration. In fact it was almost a little like the first hours of 9/11, remember the total chaos as all the struggle to deal with the enormity of what was happening to us. I don't think anyone on Sunday morning or Sunday afternoon including those countries that have been most severely affected had any grasp of the almost biblical dimensions of this disaster. One thing to keep in mind, because the United States has already indicated that if the early numbers will be multiplied many times over, a number of other countries have done the same, and that process will go on I suspect for a long time to come. But remember when we're talking about the "American response" to any disaster, we should keep in mind something that DeToqueville discovered when he visited this country in the 1830s, that it's not just a government response, an official response, it's a popular response. The American people are not uniquely, but characteristically the most spontaneously generous in the world and you're seeing that all over this country in websites of charitable organizations that are crashing because of the overwhelming desire on the part of ordinary people to help out.
TERENCE SMITH: Ellen Fitzpatrick when you look at the reaction so far and again this role, this special role that we have to play in a situation like this, what strikes you?
ELLEN FITZPATRICK: Well, one thing that's interesting is if you think about the late 19th century when the horrible Krakatoa Earthquake occurred and the tsunami that followed, there was an article in the New York Times about two inches high indicating that the Netherlands was looking for private donations. There was no sense in the late 19th century of the United States being a power that would be impelled to help out in a situation like that. Obviously a century and more later there's a very different expectation. I think one of the things a disaster like this does is highlight the discrepancy between the standard of living in this country and in other parts of the world. When you think about the fact that FEMA earmarked about $7 billion for the Northridge California earthquake, and the initial response in America is talking about a contribution in the range of 15 million, and that of course will grow and has grown already, I think it accents the enormous impact of poverty in a weak infrastructure that turns a natural disaster into a human disaster in the poorest parts of the world.
TERENCE SMITH: Michael Beschloss, how does this compare? As Eleanor referred to Krakatoa as another incredible catastrophe, but how does this compare in history as a natural disaster?
MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: Well, I think the word was Richard used was biblical, and that's the best way to describe it. One thing that's frustrating to us historians is that really before much of the 19th century, the kind of records that we would want to be able to compare something like this, we don't have. One thing that makes this so momentous is that in real time at the moment, we find out the kind of numbers that we're talking about, the horrible things that we saw earlier in this program, you know, before relatively recently those were the kind of things that you only read about much later in a newspaper or even in a book.
TERENCE SMITH: Richard, you felt that, I sensed, that any criticism of the administration as being slow off the mark was itself premature?
RICHARD NORTON SMITH: I think it's premature. I can tell you this, criticism of the Swedish government, for example, for its response, it said there may be a thousand Swedes who have been lost in this disaster, there's much harsher criticism, perhaps more deserved of governments in Thailand and elsewhere around South Asia because there was no early warning system in place in the Indian Ocean, unlike in the Pacific. So the fact is, first of all, this terrible thing happened on Christmas Day, our government was all but shut down, you know, this is not a good week in the year to get a hold of a lot of people. And almost overnight, a response is being put together, is growing rapidly, unfortunately it's being outpaced by the growth of the enormity of the disaster itself. One quick historical anecdote: Sometimes an individual act of generosity will trump geo politics. Back in 1970 there was a terrible earthquake in Peru, and Pat Nixon was deeply affected by the numbers, 50,000 people dead, 800,000 homeless, and she said she wanted to do something, and so the president got on the phone and he said first of all the government of Peru which was hostile to the United States at that point, would they even receive the first lady. A week later she was in Lima with Air Force One with nine tons of supplies. She and the first lady of Peru went into the affected area, they spent five hours walking through the rubble, it was an extraordinary personal manifestation of American concern.
TERENCE SMITH: Ellen Fitzpatrick, broaden it out a little for us, if you will. Take a look at the year 2004. How do you think it will be remembered? Will it be the tsunami that occurred at the end of it or something completely different?
ELLEN FITZPATRICK: I think certainly this has been just a most horrific natural disaster. And I think we should also think about it in the context of the ongoing war in Iraq. This is an event that's going to require an international coordination of effort. And whatever the merits of the criticism of the United States, the briskness with which it was leveled I think reflects some of the hostility that we're seeing internationally to the United States, and remembering as well that these are Muslim areas of the world, and there have been Islamic separatist movements within them. And the destabilization that occurs certainly accents the centrality of this tragedy. In the broader context of the year as a whole, I think the ongoing war in Iraq is the other major news story, as historians look back to this time in and the early 20th century, we're living in an age of contradiction, of enormous advancement in so many ways, and yet you just think about information technology, the digital age, and yet one of the things we see in our new information technology on the Internet are beheadings, a medieval, horrible forms of torture. So the modernity and barbarism alas I think coincide in the year 2004.
TERENCE SMITH: Michael what about for you, what stands out or is likely to stand out as people look back on the year?
MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: I think a lot of what was just said relates to something that's central and that is the re-election of George Bush, not just the fact that he got reelected, and that was a feat, this was someone who had, as Ellen was suggesting had been fighting a war that was pretty unpopular this year, and also had views that were in many cases very controversial, despite that became the first Republican president to have both Houses of Congress be reelected since Theodore Roosevelt in 1904. It's not a small thing to do. But above and beyond that what was he trying to do? He's trying to change the way that we Americans relate to the world in a fundamental way, as he would say, he would say that we're trying to use a moment in which we are the world's only superpower to make this a more peaceful and democratic world. One of the ways that he did it was to declare and fight the war on terrorism, another way was to fight the war against Iraq. Oddly enough, this tsunami provides another opportunity to show the way a nation uses power when it's in this kind of dominant position, helping nations and people in those nations who have been badly hurt.
TERENCE SMITH: Richard, what's your view?
RICHARD NORTON SMITH: Well, I think Michael is absolutely right about the historical significance of this election. We really won't know until 2005 what 2004 actually meant. I mean, on the domestic front this is a president who thinks as big as he does, for better or worse, on the global stage. He is trying nothing less than to redefine conservatism, which for most of the last 100 years has been defined as resistance to change. Very rarely was it seen as an agent of change, or a force for reform. Yet this president is talking about reforming Social Security, tax reform in a major way, and it will be fascinating to see as 2005 unfolds because he really has only about a year before, to the dismay of our viewers, people like us will be sitting around talking about off year elections in 2006.
TERENCE SMITH: Ellen, is there anything in the cultural or attitudinal field that strikes you as significant in the year 2004, and I mean beyond the Red Sox.
ELLEN FITZPATRICK: The Red Sox are a very important story up here in New England and elsewhere. And culturally actually the removal of the curse of the bambino has left us all reeling and uncertain about how to proceed in the world and of course the New England Patriots victory in the Super Bowl. So it's been a momentous year up here in dreary winter time New England. I guess more seriously, I don't mean to be unduly negative, I think sometimes about our own culture as in some ways resembling the generation living after the First World War in which we've seen just such enormous strides in our times, and such enormous progress in the advance of civilization, and yet we also see, you know, the horrors of our world, whether through these natural disasters or through the terrible violence. And there is a way in which I think it impacts all of us, seeing this as we do, on the news, cable news making it available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the immediacy of it. Thinking of those people pleading for their lives on those tapes we saw out of Iraq, it's just a kind of burden that's imposed on the human spirit, never mind the tragedy endured by these families. And I do wonder if in some ways we will be seen as a lost generation that was really dealing with both enormous progress and also these terrible tragedies.
TERENCE SMITH: All right. Ellen, Richard, Michael, thank you all three very much; The time unfortunately is slipping a way like the year. Thank you. Happy New Year to all three of you.
FOCUS - JAZZ MASTER
MARGARET WARNER: Finally tonight, kudos for a jazz master. Arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown has that story.
SHIRLEY HORN SINGING: No complaints and no regrets ( applause ) I still believe in chasing dreams
and placing bets...
JEFFREY BROWN: At Washington, DC's, Kennedy Center recently, a concert to celebrate the life of jazz great Shirley Horn. Health problems have now forced the 70-year-old singer and pianist to use a wheelchair, but not kept her from performing and recording.
SHIRLEY HORN: And if you can't take it easy take it easy as you can...
JEFFREY BROWN: Horn has long been adored by musicians and lovers of vocal jazz. Now, reaching to the wider public, the National Endowment for the Arts has named her a "jazz master," along with fellow honorees including Artie Shaw and Kenny Burrell. On this night, a group of musicians young and old came out to pay tribute, and play songs that Horn has recorded in her 50-year career. An old friend, saxophonist Buck Hill, performed "A Beautiful Friendship." (Saxophone playing) Violinist Regina Carter, who's equally adept in classical music and jazz, played "Too Late Now." (Violin playing) And Jeremy Pelt soloed on "You Won't Forget Me." (Trumpet playing) Taking the part that Miles Davis played in Shirley Horn's 1991 album of that name. It was Miles Davis, in fact, who gave the young Shirley Horn her first big break, bringing her to New York to open for him at the famous village Vanguard Club in 1961. She told us about it recently at her suburban Washington home.
SHIRLEY HORN: It was wonderful, a little frightening because it was big, really big, you know. All these... and being on the same stage with Miles Davis and the musicians that he had there -- just looking at all the people who were there. Sidney Poitier came up to me and said how much he enjoyed my music and kissed my hand. I almost fainted.
SHIRLEY HORN SINGING: Come a little closer and I will sing my song...
JEFFREY BROWN: After several albums and some early success, she decided to stay close to home to raise her daughter. And for more than a decade she kept a low profile. But in the '80s, with her daughter grown, Horn began a series of recordings and performances that brought her new fame. "Here's to Life," from 1992, lushly orchestrated by Johnny Mandel, remains her best-selling album. "I Remember Miles" won her a Grammy for best jazz vocals in 1998.
SHIRLEY HORN SINGING: Let me have one smile at a time...
JEFFREY BROWN: Shirley Horn, one music critic has written, "suspends time." She is renowned, for her touching, "oh so slow" ballads.
SHIRLEY HORN SINGING: Let me have one kiss at a time...
SHIRLEY HORN: Singing too fast, you can't understand the lyric. So I take my time and sing, spread out in front of me. This is my story, you know. Don't rush, you know? This is kind of the way my life, you know, is-- slow but sure, you know? Walk softly and carry a big stick. (Laughs) (piano playing)
JEFFREY BROWN: Kenny Barron, a leading jazz pianist, performed at the Kennedy Center celebration. He says the key to Shirley Horn's music is her use of spacing, with and between notes, including the use of silence.
KENNY BARRON: Silence builds up the anticipation for the next note, you know, or it lets the note you just heard, it lets it breathe, so there's some space there. Many players, for instance, will fill up every beat and there's no space, there's no breath. But Shirley lets the music breathe.
SHIRLEY HORN SINGING: Yesterday love was such an easy game to play; now I need a place to hide away 'cause I believe in yesterday.
JEFFREY BROWN: Three years ago, complications from diabetes led to the amputation of Horn's right foot, forcing her to let someone else play the piano while she sang on her most recent recording. But her problems have not diminished the love of music this newly minted "jazz master" feels.
SHIRLEY HORN: When I was born, I think God said, "give her a big dose of music."
JEFFREY BROWN: And you still feel that passion for the music?
SHIRLEY HORN: Oh yeah, oh yeah. Still learning. Still want it. Gotta have it. Somebody asked me, "You're going to retire? Why?" ( Laughs ) No. I'll never retire. I'll just always be doing the music that I love so much.
SHIRLEY HORN SINGING: There's a "yes" in yesterday and who knows what tomorrow brings...
JEFFREY BROWN: At the Kennedy Center concert, Shirley Horn surprised her fans by going to the piano, to end the evening with what's become her signature song, "Here's to Life."
SHIRLEY HORN SINGING: Here's to life -- here's to love -- here's to you. (Applause) (piano playing song end) (cheers and applause)
MARGARET WARNER: Again, the major developments of the day. At least 117,000 people are now believed dead in the Indian Ocean tsunami. President Bush said a U.S. delegation headed by Secretary of State Powell and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will head to the devastated region this weekend. And Ukraine's central election commission rejected the prime minister's appeal of last weekend's presidential rerun.
MARGARET WARNER: And again, to our honor roll of American service personnel killed in Iraq. We add them as their deaths are made official and photographs become available. Here, in silence, are eight more.
MARGARET WARNER: We'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening with Shields and Brooks, among others. I'm Margaret Warner. Thanks for being with us. Good night.
- The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
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- This episode's headline: Tsunami Disaster; Year in Review; Jazz Master. ANCHOR: JIM LEHRER; GUESTS: ZAMIRA LOEBIS; SOEMADI BROTODININGRAT; MICHAEL BESCHLOSS; ELLEN FITZPATRICK; RICHARD NORTON SMITH; CORRESPONDENTS: KWAME HOLMAN; RAY SUAREZ; SPENCER MICHELS; MARGARET WARNER; GWEN IFILL; TERENCE SMITH; KWAME HOLMAN
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- Chicago: “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” 2004-12-30, NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 9, 2020, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-507-p55db7wh3q.
- MLA: “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.” 2004-12-30. NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 9, 2020. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-507-p55db7wh3q>.
- APA: The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Boston, MA: NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-507-p55db7wh3q