Remembering Alexander Haig…a warrior and a statesman

Alexander Haig died yesterday morning at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore. Raised at Philadelphia, he spent two years at Notre Dame before transferring to West Point(1947). He served on Douglas MacArthur's staff in Korea, participated in and was decorated for valor in four campaigns, worked at the Pentagon, then returned to action in Vietnam, earning a Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Cross. He was assistant to Henry Kissinger, then National Security Advisor to Richard Nixon (1969 – 1972) and White House Chief of Staff (1973 – 1974). In this capacity he handled the removal from office of both Vice President Agnew and President Nixon. He was Supreme Commander of NATO (1974 – 1979), then served as president and CEO of United Technologies, the first civilian job he held since high school. Reagan picked him to serve as Secretary of State (1981 – 1982), and he more recently hosted two television programs on business topics. He was well-known for "Haigspeak" dating to his time as Secretary of State,although he could also speak plainly at times.

Below are some of his more memorable quotes:

“That's not a lie, it's a terminological inexactitude. Also, a tactical misrepresentation.”

“The warning message we sent the Russians was a calculated ambiguity that would be clearly understood.”

“Let them march all they want, as long as they continue to pay their taxes.”

“Practice rather than preach. Make of your life an affirmation, defined by your ideals, not the negation of others. Dare to the level of your capability then go beyond to a higher level.”

“More often than not, Americans and Westerners overestimated the power and capability of the Soviet Union.”

“We didn't lose Vietnam. We quit Vietnam.”

     All from Alexander Haig, 1924 – 2010

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James A. Restucci is the author of this blog. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Internal License.

2 Responses to Remembering Alexander Haig…a warrior and a statesman

  1. AvatarLibby says:

    My favorite quote is #3. He was definitely a pragmatist IMO.

  2. AvatarTVNews says:

    He was right.