Who Hijacked Our Country

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Alexander Haig

Alexander Haig — an integral part of the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations — has died at the age of 85. He died as a result of complications from an infection.

He was a four star general before he joined the Nixon Administration. He ran for president in 1988.

Right after Reagan’s assassination attempt in 1981, Haig (then Secretary of State) went on the air to announce: “As of now, I am in control here in the White House, pending the return of the vice president.”

During the Watergate scandal, Haig tried to explain that famous 18-minute gap in one of Nixon’s tape recordings as the work of “some sort of sinister force.”

Even though his political views were way to the right (for his time — today’s Republicans would probably hate him for being too liberal), he always seemed to have a certain decency and likeability. For one thing, he played a large role in abolishing the draft and switching to an all-volunteer force.

And I remember reading somewhere, around 1980 or ‘81, that his two favorite TV shows were Saturday Night Live and Fridays (an SNL wannabe starring Michael Richards and Larry David; Michael Richards was already doing “Kramer” ten years before Seinfeld started.)




Blogger Holte Ender said...

I remember Haig mainly for his diplomatic involvement in the Falklands War, he shuttled back and forth from London to Buenos Aires for 12 days trying to find a solution to please both sides. Didn't get it done, but he tried.

February 20, 2010 at 1:37 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Holte: I didn't know that; or maybe I just forgot. That whole Falklands War seemed so surreal, I thought it had to be a joke when I first read about it. "It's the 1980s and England and Argentina are about to go to war over some island I haven't even heard of?"

February 20, 2010 at 2:30 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Much like Nixon, Haig wasn't cast from the neocon/movement-conservative mold. He had and expressed some ideas movement conservatives didn't like at all.

Some on the left tried to make out that Haig's "I am in control" statement indicated a desire to grab power or revealed delusions of grandeur. Military vets like myself knew he almost certainly acted reflexively on an important piece of military training.

Soldiers, sailors and airmen, whether officers or enlisted, are taught in basic training that if something happens to whomever is in charge, the most-senior person of the highest rank on hand has a duty to take charge. It's not an option, mind you, but a duty, and you can be penalized for failing in that duty.

There have been situations where things went badly enough that a buck sergeant wound up taking command after officers from colonel on down were killed or incapacitated in a short space of time — and the sergeant was commended for not hesitating to assume command. In earlier days, in that situation, a wounded officer could verbally promote the sergeant to officer rank, say lieutenant, on the spot, to make his task easier. I don't think battlefield promotions of that kind have been the practice since at least WWII.

February 20, 2010 at 3:02 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: I actually had forgotten about Haig's "I am in control" speech. Today's news article mentioned it so I put it in the post.

Very true about the next-in-command taking charge in an emergency. I never had anything like that first hand when I was in the Navy, but we all had training lectures and films periodically, telling everybody what to do in case of an emergency.

February 20, 2010 at 3:21 PM  
Blogger Teeluck said...

Didn't know the guy but with an 18 yr old son and a 16 yr old daughter, I am indebted to him for stopping the draft.

February 20, 2010 at 6:48 PM  
Anonymous Jolly Roger said...

Haig was ill-suited for the SoS job. Doesn't say anything about him as a person; I actually saw him as one of the less detestable ones in Saint Ronnie's first bunch.

It is for certain the cabal of cowards who run the Rushpubliscum Party these days would have little use for him.

February 20, 2010 at 10:47 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Teeluck: Ending the draft -- definitely something to be grateful for.

JR: Today's Rushpubliscum Party would have nothing but contempt for somebody like Haig.

February 21, 2010 at 10:39 AM  
Blogger TomCat said...

At the time, I did not like him. Looking back, he seems mild in comparison to today's more rabid right. May he rest in peace.

February 21, 2010 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger Beekeepers Apprentice said...

I suspect that today's republicans would have no use for either Reagan or Haig...possibly Meese, though, he was a real asshat.

February 21, 2010 at 4:03 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

TomCat: Compared to Gingrich, Cheney, Palin -- he looks like a liberal.

Bee: No doubt, Haig would be way too far to the left for today's rightwing nutcases.

February 21, 2010 at 5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was trying to find my copy of Woodstien's "The Final Days" to confirm but as I remember they said Haig graduated near the bottom of his class at Westpoint and had an uneventful career - until Nixon took a liking to him and gave him some fast promotions.

Does anybody else remember?


February 21, 2010 at 10:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I remember they said Haig graduated near the bottom of his class at Westpoint and had an uneventful career "

hey if Obama can become president anything is possible. Word is he was hardly ever in class.

February 22, 2010 at 12:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: I never heard about that; or if I did I've forgotten.

Anonymous: I seriously doubt that. Whoever told you that must have known they had a live one.

February 22, 2010 at 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course you doubt it Tom. You are obviously in denial. By the way are you enjoying the decline of the country under Obama's watchful eye?
You will be on the outside looking in soon enough,although those of us in the real world are already there.

February 23, 2010 at 1:39 PM  

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