February 20, 2010

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

Said Alexander Haig. He also said "The warning message we sent the Russians was a calculated ambiguity that would be clearly understood," and, most famously, after President Reagan was shot: "As of now, I am in control here in the White House."

That last quote is often misremembered as "I'm in charge here" — including by the BBC in its obituary today — for, yes, Alexander Haig has died. (He was 85.) Here's another obituary. And here's the NYT:
[The day of the Reagan assassination attempt] Secretary of State Haig wrongly declared himself the acting president. “The helm is right here,” he told members of the Reagan cabinet in the White House Situation Room, “and that means right in this chair for now, constitutionally, until the vice president gets here.” His words were tape-recorded by Richard V. Allen, then the national security adviser. His colleagues knew better. “There were three others ahead of Haig in the constitutional succession,” Mr. Allen wrote in 2001. “But Haig’s demeanor signaled that he might be ready for a quarrel, and there was no point in provoking one.”

Mr. Haig then asked, “How do you get to the press room?” He raced upstairs and went directly to the lectern before a television audience of millions. His knuckles whitening, his arms shaking, his knees wobbling, Mr. Haig declared to the world, “I am in control here, in the White House.” He did not give that appearance.

56 comments:

phx said...

Some people must just be fated to be remembered by their worst moments rather than their finest.

AJ Lynch said...

Six Degrees of Separation From this blog:

Haig graduated from Lower Merion HS. That is the school you blogged about the other day [re the computer taking remote photos].

MadisonMan said...

Guess I lost track of him -- who didn't? -- because I thought he was already dead.

AJ Lynch said...

Mad Man:

I think the same thing every time I see Abe Vigoda.

El Pollo Real said...

Al Haig-pissed a lot of the righteous people off-kinda like Dick Cheney-RIP

Skyler said...

He was a man who should never have been included in the staff of an administration.

He choked under pressure and said the stupidest thing you can say after the president was shot. He had no business even holding a press conference. The leadership of our nation is not dependent on a location or a building, it resides in a person.

He forgot himself and his proper loyalties. His loyalty was not to a party or to a person, but to the country.

Most people never have to face such a test of common sense when it has such high stakes, but that should not absolve them from failing to have that common sense.

He failed, miserably.

He's a classic case of a man that never got out of the military after he was no longer in the military.

I'm sure he was a nice man, I don't know much more about him except that he seemed to be regarded well mostly for being able to play power politics, a somewhat suspect trait if you ask me. I'm sure he was kind to children and small animals and his family and friends.

But when the test came, he gave the impression of usurping power where he had no right. That made him dangerous.

Chip Ahoy said...

And where exactly do they get this white-knuckle, shaky-arm, wobble-knee bullshit if not from their own fevered imagination?

That "I'm in control here" episode is the sort of thing I've come to expect from generals. Right or wrong, well, wrong actually in this case, it's all sorted out immediately. You can see for yourself the writer is projecting their own imagery into the obituary. The video draws out the customary YouTube mixture of partisan acclaim and venom.

dbp said...

Gen Haig probably thought the Kremlin had someone just like him who would see the assassination attempt on Reagan as a golden opportunity for a surprise attack.

He had no legal basis for what he did, but if he prevented Armageddon I would give him a pass.

edutcher said...

I remember Larry Speakes making a mess of talking to reporters at the White House that day, babbling along. I'm guessing Haig had the same reaction. I've always thought Haig did what he did and said what he said to make sure everyone knew that, until Bush got back from the West Coast (he was on AF 2), the country wasn't rudderless.

I also think it was yet another Alinsky job by our fine media.

Triangle Man said...

Did he sing a song about a girl's name?

Skyler said...

Chip And where exactly do they get this white-knuckle, shaky-arm, wobble-knee bullshit if not from their own fevered imagination?

I saw a show about the Reagan assassination attempt on tv about a month ago. The interviewed the man standing next to Haig at this press conference. He described in great detail how Haig was nervous, shaky, and totally out of sorts. He said he felt an urge to reach over and keep him from falling over.

I don't think it was in the reporter's imagination if his own colleague thought Haig was in even worse condition than described by the reporter.

PatCA said...

They could have saved themselves the time of writing a hatchet job obit by just saying, hey, remember that crazy general in Dr. Strangelove...? But slicing up a Republican is just too much fun for the NYT.

Haig was also a great warrior. If you want to read about that side of his, Ace of Spaces has it.

RiverRat said...

Military officers are trained, almost from birth, to take charge when political jerks are fumbling with the residue in their shorts.

It doesn't mean they're attempting a coup. I served near Al Haig in Nam. Just a man trained to respond to unimaginable challenge while politicians babble but alway prepared to follow the constitution when political minds regain sanity.

Rest in Peace, Al.

EDH said...

Did anyone expect he'd receive a hagiography from the NYT?

AllenS said...

Wait until John Kerry dies. The NYT will claim that he was the greatest military man this country has ever had. Fuck the NYT.

Paul Zrimsek said...

"No, Al, you're not. That would still be God." -- St. Peter

SMGalbraith said...

Haig served in:
Korea, earned two Silver Stars, a Bronze Star with Valor device, saw seven campaigns in the coldest war of Vietnam, also honored with a DSC and a Purple Heart.

All mentioned in his obits as an afterthought.

Thank you General.

Skyler said...

River Rat: Military officers are trained, almost from birth, to take charge when political jerks are fumbling with the residue in their shorts.

Good grief. There is no pre-natal military training. That's absurd. There are personality traits, certainly, that would predispose one to want to be in the military. I certainly share that trait.

But a man needs to know his place. Taking charge in an emergency is appropriate if there is an emergency. There was no emergency, and it wasn't his role to take charge. His role was to help the person who was in charge to be presented as being in charge.

There's no defending his actions that day. I don't believe for a second that he was being mutinous, but he certainly wasn't being loyal.

MrBuddwing said...

If nothing else, I will be grateful to Alexander Haig for being instrumental in shooting down any suggestion that former Nixon White House aides, particularly H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, receive presidential pardons from President Nixon. (This was when Haig was Nixon's chief of staff.) Of course, Haig was non-commital at first and needed to be talked into rejecting the idea of pardons by Leonard Garment and Fred Buzhardt, but in the end he did come around.

Word verification: clugsmsi

AllenS said...

There was no emergency

The fucking POTUS was just shot, and you say there was no emergency?

William said...

There was an effort to make Reagan look old, befuddled and stupid. Every year this scenario looks less plausible. I don't know if Haig was truly joyless and power greedy or if that was simply the view of the press who covered him. He really did flub his big moment, but it does seem wrong to define a man by one bad moment....In the end, Haig never achieved sufficient fame to attract the interest of revisionists. They say journalism is the first draft of history, but for secondary figures like Haig, the first draft is sometimes the only draft.

AllenS said...

For the record, three other people along with Reagan were shot.

No formal invocation of presidential succession took place, although a controversial statement by Secretary of State Alexander Haig that he was "in control here" marked a short period during which Vice President George H. W. Bush was physically absent, flying back to Washington, D.C. aboard Air Force Two from a speech in Fort Worth, Texas.

Flexo said...

I saw a show about the Reagan assassination attempt on tv about a month ago.

I didn't see a show about it.
I was in my kitchen listening to the radio when a newsflash came on that the President had been shot. I immediately went to the TV, where I stayed for the next several hours.

I saw Al Haig make his statement of being in control at the time he made it. And at that time, I -- and most other people -- were relieved to have somebody step up and assure the nation that we were not like a chicken with our head cut-off. We breathed a sigh of relief and said, thank God.

We knew that it was not inconceivable that the damned Soviets would want to try something -- like invade Poland -- or if the Iranians wanted to try something or if any number of other enemies thought that they could pull a fast one because of the shooting, then Al Haig disabused them of that notion.

The incapacitation of President Reagan, coupled with Vice President Bush's unavailability, opened the door to all kinds of potential mischief by enemies of America. Al Haig slammed that door shut.

And he was right to do so.

Skyler said...

Flexo: I saw Al Haig make his statement of being in control at the time he made it. And at that time, I -- and most other people -- were relieved to have somebody step up and assure the nation that we were not like a chicken with our head cut-off. We breathed a sigh of relief and said, thank God.

I have a bit more faith in our system of laws than that. The only one running around like his head was chopped off was Haig. Bush did not need to be in DC to be in charge. If something happened to Reagan, he was the man in charge. He has only to drive to the nearest federal court and get sworn in by a federal judge.

Haig made us look like we were flailing. He could have just said, the President (why do people like saying potus? Is that the new cool?) is shot, we don't know his condition, the Vice President is enroute. All is well. Instead he got up there and looked wobbly and panicked. He blew it. If the Soviets were inclined to do anything, he would have made it more likely. Bush had codes for attacking the Soviets, he had AF2, which has full command and control capability. Instead, Haig claimed that he was in charge. He contributed to confusion among those who needed to reassured of what was happening.

AllenS, the President was shot and in the hospital, and no one knew whether he would recover or not, but it was not an emergency on the scale that the Secretary of State needed to make the statement that he was in charge. Our country was not in danger of collapse.

Flexo said...

Skyler -- did you actually live through this? Or did you learn everything you know (nothing) about this from some years-after-the-fact TV shows?

AllenS said...

I never said our country was in danger of collapse. I watched the whole thing take place on tv, and I'm old enough to remember when JFK was shot. You do not understand what the world was like back then. Now you can strut around like you got a big set of nuts, but I got news for you, you don't know what the fuck you are talking about.

phx said...

He blew it. If the Soviets were inclined to do anything, he would have made it more likely.

I get what Skyler's saying, but maybe Haig's confusion caused our enemies to resist temptation because of the unpredictability of the USA just in case that weirdo really was in charge.

Skyler said...

Flexo, I'm plenty old enough, but I didn't personally talk to the man standing next to Haig. His interview was on a television show I saw about a month ago.

Allen, you're a little older than me, so I'll be polite to your infirm and feeble mind, but I remember it all happening too, and I remember thinking, "who the hell does he think he is?" I never got the impression that our nation was in trouble until that fool started acting scared.

Our president can get killed and the rule of law will prevail. In fact, the entire federal government can shut down for days at a time or preferrably even longer and I still would have no concern of our future. It's when people start running around ridiculously claiming "I'M IN CHARGE!!!" that I start worrying. The man should have chilled out.

Our nation is not our government. Our government is simply how we conduct our nation's concerns. Without a president, we'll be fine.

AllenS said...

I was never under the impression that Haig was indicating that he was taking over the government. Again, the VP was not present, when Bush showed up protocol was going to take place if Reagan had died. I also remember the hatred that the NYT and the news media in general had towards Reagan from the very beginning.

traditionalguy said...

Haig always seemed to be a rational, thoughtful and loyal man. That is so rare to see in DC that it just plain scared the NYT guys who seriously fear a military coup every time one of their puppets is not in power. McCain even tried a tactic of bowing and scraping to the NYT as a rational political strategy...does he know something we don't? But the NYT still tried to destroy him over their Obama love affair. The seizure that NYT guys will experience the day that President Palin takes her oath of office will be McCain's revenge.

virgil xenophon said...

I watched the Haig press conference live and people should listen to his voice inflection, rather than read the printed word. He distinctly emphasized the word "here" as in; "I am in charge, HERE," i.e., the operations of the WH, NOT the nation nor of the entire govt apparatus. He immediately completed the sentence emphasizing that that the VP was on AF2 heading back, etc. I, for one, certainly did not interpret either his choice of verbiage or tone of voice to indicate a Napoleon complex afoot. Of course, YMMV.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Anyone criticizing what Haig said isn't paying attention. Probably deliberately. He said that he was in charge HERE. Meaning at the White House at that point in time. Not that he thought he was the Commander-in-Chief.

phx said...

He knew, Reagan’s aide Lyn Nofziger once said, that “the third paragraph of his obit” would detail his conduct in the hours after President Reagan was shot, on March 30, 1981. - New York Times Obit, 2nd paragraph.

That day, Secretary of State Haig wrongly declared himself the acting president. “The helm is right here,” he told members of the Reagan cabinet in the White House Situation Room, “and that means right in this chair for now, constitutionally, until the vice president gets here.” His words were taped by Richard V. Allen, then the national security adviser.
- New York Times obit, 3rd paragraph

Duscany said...

Haig always looked to me like he was always in over his head (and trying to cover it up with an overly-assertive personality). But, contrary to what the press always implied, I doubt he was trying to stage a mini-coup (what would be the point in any case of trying to take power "till the vice-president gets here"? The vice president already was in charge from the moment Reagan was shot. He didn't need to be physically in the White House for that authority to be invested in him.

It seems to me that when Haig rushed up the stairs to hold a press conference, what he was really trying to do was calm what he assumed was a jittery public in desperate need of reassurance.

In truth, we didn't need any such reassurance. The only people who were panicked by Reagan's being shot were reporters.

Reporters (it's still true today) see the country like some big airplane that will crash and burn unless there is someone continually at the controls. Haig made the mistake of thinking that because the white press corps was panicky, the country was too. It wasn't.

Duscany said...

Reporters, being liberals, go through life suspecting that when the chips are down they can't cope. Thus their desperate need always to know who is in charge--"who is taking care of me?"

Haig, if had any insight into the herd mentality of reporters, would have suggested they all take a cold shower and a short nap and come back when their heart rates return to normal.

phx said...

Reporters and liberals made Haig do it.

Flexo said...

In a crisis situation, when those who are not technically in command are not around, it is usually disasterous for people to take the attitude of "we can't do anything until the proper authority shows up and tells us what to do."

When planes crashed into the WTC, many people unknown to history stepped up and took charge of the situation of the people around them. People did not complain, "who the hell are you to take charge, you're not the fire chief, you're not the mayor!"

If there is a breach in the side of the boat, somebody needs to take the initiative to plug the hole, and not wait for the captain to get there to take a look and then tell you what to do.

If some lowly lieutenant sees the enemy massing and approaching for an attack on unsuspecting soldiers, he can't wait for the commanding general. Those that do wait, those that do not take control of the situation end up dead, along with their fellow soldiers.

In March 1981, the Soviet Union was a substantial threat to the national security of the United States. Only a few short months previously, they were pushing around that pansy Jimmy Carter with impunity. Somebody needed to stare them down publicly.

Flexo said...

As for the critic quoted in the NYT, Richard Allen, and his tape recording and the question of power grabs, this is what was recorded --
ALLEN: Cap is the -- cap is here.
ALEXANDER HAIG, REAGAN SECRETARY OF STATE: Cap is the -- and the football is near the vice president, so that's fine.
ALLEN: We should get one over here. We have a duplicate one here.
HAIG: Get the football over here.
ALLEN: There's one at the military aide's office. The football is in the closet. I don't think we need the chair of joint chiefs over here, do you?

As is clear from the recording, Haig was completely fine with the football (nuclear codes) being with Vice President Bush. It was Allen who suggested getting the duplicate.
LARRY KING: David Gergen, what was your point at this point? What were you trying to do?
GERGEN: Well, I think I shared with everyone uppermost concern about the health of the president. We didn't know at the beginning how badly he had been shot, but we had a sense he might have been hurt, but we didn't know -- and the original word, of course, was that Jim Brady had been much more grievously wounded.
But I think all of us had memories of '63 and John F. Kennedy in the back of our minds. And as well it was extremely important -- and all of us shared this concern -- that people around the world, other governments in particular, understand that there was a continuity in the United States and they would not take advantage of this moment: if there were a national security implication, if this had been done by a foreign power, that they not take advantage and think America's guard was down. And I think that's what everybody was united behind.
KING: Richard Allen, Vice President Bush was out of the city at this time. Who contacted him, do you know?
ALLEN (erroneously identified as Gergen in the CNN transcript): He was contacted by the group. And as I recall -- and David may have a slightly different recollection -- I thought it was David that placed the call. We finally got through. There was no secure voice communication to the vice president's airplane, which was in the air over Texas.
I recall someone, if not David someone else, handing the phone to Al Haig and shouting into a very scratchy connection: "George, it's Al. Turn around, turn around."
At that point, the milling about became such that it was important to get downstairs behind cipher locks and secure doors.

So, Gergen confirms that EVERYONE was concerned about the national security threats. And it is clear that, far from a power grab, Haig called the VP and told him to return. It is also clear that radio communications with the VP were not good or secure.

The Drill SGT said...

I'm with AllenS on this. The Haig statement was:

Constitutionally, gentlemen, you have the President, the Vice President and the Secretary of State in that order, and should the President decide he wants to transfer the helm to the Vice President, he will do so. He has not done that. As of now, I am in control here, in the White House, pending return of the Vice President and in close touch with him. If something came up, I would check with him, of course.

Of course the Speaker and PPT are in line but must resign to take over. What Haig was doing was making it clear the VP would take over, and he was the senior person at the WH. and the POTUS had not passed control.

SMGalbraith said...

actually, you should rank them, DSC, 2 SS, DFC, BS

I didn't know Haig, but I did know General DePuy, his Division CDR in VN. DePuy didn't suffer fools. He relieved a number of LTC's because he felt that American soldiers deserved the best leaders, not ticket punchers. Haig must have been good.

AllenS, you remember DePuy?

Flexo said...

KING: James Baker, did you hear about the Haig statement later? Did it bother you?
BAKER: No, it didn't bother me particularly, Larry. I agree with Ed. I think that Al got it wrong. He was talking about the constitutional succession, and he simply, I think, simply got it wrong. But his motives were certainly salutary. He was trying to calm the nation and calm the public, and there was nothing -- there was nothing but total appropriateness with that -- with that tendency.
KING: David Gergen, do you accept that? Because you did say, I understand, you said to Haig.
GERGEN: I do, absolutely agree with Jim Baker. And I -- while Al Haig did mangle the constitutional order, I don't think any of us under the circumstances really wanted to get into a quarrel with him over that. We had more important issues to deal with. . . .
KING: Don Regan, how long before George Bush got there?
REGAN: Oh, it was several hours because he had to return from Air Force Two from Houston. So as a result of that, there was no vice president in the situation room until much later in the afternoon. As a matter of fact. . . .
MEESE: Larry, I think it should be pointed out, going back to Al Haig, that he had a good motive. He had heard from the press room that the statement was made that they weren't sure who was in charge, and he went bounding up there. And I think that was really his motivation, to make it clear to foreign leaders that we were not adrift and there was no vacuum.
And so I agree with Jim that I think to some extent he's gotten a bum rap out of this.


So, those who worked with Haig, who were there with him, saw the need for such a statement, especially with it taking several hours for the VP to get back, and they agree that it was appropriate.

HAIG: As of now, I am in control here in the White House pending return of the vice president and in close touch with him. If something came up, I would check with him, of course.

This is hardly the stuff of coups. He never claims to be in control of the entire government.

KING: Richard, how much concern was there about an out-of-country body being involved here and worried about Soviet subs? It seems almost funny at this point.
ALLEN: No. It may seem funny at this point, but at the time, it's useful to remember that there was a very uncertain situation in Poland at that time. Ed Meese and Jim Baker will remember this, of course, because being members of the National Security Council they were concerned with it.
We had had unreliable intelligence regarding Soviet intentions in Poland, and there were unusual troop movements in and around Poland that we could not see by aerial photography, overhead photography. In addition, this larger-number-than-usual of Soviet subs off our coast caused momentary concern until Cap Weinberger accurately assessed that this was changeover day. Some subs were moving in and others were moving out.
But we also still, for an hour and a half, did not have a positive identification on John Hinckley, so it was simple prudence for us to make sure that all other factors concerned were resolved before we turned our attention exclusively to the question of the president.


In short, there is was a national security crisis. And they aren't sure exacly who the shooter is, if he acted alone, or if this was a domestic conspiracy or an foreign conspiracy.

save_the_rustbelt said...

At the Battle of Ap Gu

Haig's official Army citation (Distinguished Service Cross) follows:

When two of his companies were engaged by a large hostile force, Colonel Haig landed amid a hail of fire, personally took charge of the units, called for artillery and air fire support and succeeded in soundly defeating the insurgent force...the next day a barrage of 400 rounds was fired by the Viet Cong, but it was ineffective because of the warning and preparations by Colonel Haig. As the barrage subsided, a force three times larger than his began a series of human wave assaults on the camp. Heedless of the danger himself, Colonel Haig repeatedly braved intense hostile fire to survey the battlefield. His personal courage and determination, and his skillful employment of every defense and support tactic possible, inspired his men to fight with previously unimagined power. Although his force was outnumbered three to one, Colonel Haig succeeded in inflicting 592 casualties on the Viet Cong... (HQ US Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 2318 (May 22, 1967)

Ralph L said...

If you remember, Haig, as Chief of Staff, had been virtual President in 1974 as Nixon's grip on power and reality unwound.

Duscany said...

Phx: "Reporters and liberals made Haig do it."

The way I would say it is that they provided the panicky moment to which Haig reacted like a fool.

Alex said...

He'll be most remembered for his lies about Iraq WMDs in the 2002-2003 leadup to the illegal Iraq war. *spit8

traditionalguy said...

duscany...Haig was no fool. He protected the force integrity in a critical moment as was his duty. In the military engaged with an enemy (in a Cold War) A good action taken now iwins when a perfect action taken too late loses. He was not a loser.

Skyler said...

Flexo, no one seriously thinks that Haig was staging a coup.

He was just looking incompetent and making the situation worse than it was. He panicked and said the wrong things at the wrong time.

madawaskan said...

These two quotes from on article about Alexander Haig at The Washington Post-


"A ghost ship" [...]"You heard the creak of the rigging and the groan of the timbers and sometimes even glimpsed the crew on deck," he wrote. "But which of the crew had the helm?"
[...]
"Nobody has a monopoly on virtue, not even you, senator," Gen. Haig retorted.

He acknowledged to senators that "improper, illegal and immoral" actions had been taken during the Nixon Administration.

"I cannot bring myself to render judgment on Richard Nixon or for that matter Henry Kissinger," he said. "It is not for me, it is not in me, to render moral judgment on them. I leave that to history, to others and to God."


A warrior can now go home to rest.

R.I.P. Alexander Haig

Flexo said...

Hey, where do those goal posts go? Looks like somebody moved them again.

Duscany said...

Traditonalguy: Haig "was not a loser."

Well, we disagree. I never heard the man speak when I didn't think he was in over his head. And why was he so panicky when Reagan was shot? Is this someone we want asserting control over the nuclear launch codes?

Cedarford said...

I'd give kudos to Obama for a classy statement of regret on Haig's death:

"In a statement, President Obama said Gen. Haig "exemplified our finest warrior-diplomat tradition of those who dedicate their lives to public service."

Haig was a true war hero in Korea and Vietnam. He served ably in the early LBJ administration, Nixon's, Ford's, was kept on in Carters as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, and very ably as SOS before geting too big for his britches and dispatched by Reagan as a pain in the ass. (The media, eager to punish Haig for what it thought was the "pardon deal" that even Teddy later admitted was the right and courageous thing of Ford to do - trumped up the whole "I'm in Charge!" crap.
In all that, perhaps his best work was in NATO at what might have been its darkest days. Haig was superb at NATO under 3 Presidents..

Skyler, whether in service or not...completely misses the fact that Haig HAD to plug the hole in the temporary decapitation of leadership back when the Soviets were still formidable, dangerous and others like the Iranians and Cuban proxies of Russia might exploit the occasion. As former NATO commander, Haig had the credibility to instantly shut down the conversations that were happening in the Kremlin and other capitals (Gorbachev's memoirs mention this obliquely as "conversations that happened amongst the generals" that ended when analysts concluded Reagan might have been lightly wounded, certainly when Haig spoke, and the VP finally was in place.)

Skyler somehow overlooks the massive importance continuity of government, chain of command, and who had control of US strategic forces - in characterizing the serious incapacitization of Reagan as "not an emergency":

Our president can get killed and the rule of law will prevail. In fact, the entire federal government can shut down for days at a time or preferrably even longer and I still would have no concern of our future.

No, skip the "rule of law!" blather Skyler, and pretense that the people in strategic forces and the rest of the Fed government could shut down and "no concern for the future" should plausibly exist.

This happened at the 2nd peak of the Cold War. Bad people had the US in their gunsights and Haig's statement saying the US was still in full readiness and the chain of command existed between the VP and the White House. As Gorbachev said, the "Kremlin generals conversations ended when Haig spoke."

If there is any blame the day Reagan was shot and the day after, it was with Reagan's inner circle refusing to evoke the 22nd Amendment and declare Bush I the acting President the moment Reagan went down. Which created mass confusion until Haig stepped up and may not have said the right words and done his announcement perfect - but effective enough that the agitated Haig stopped the Kremlin "conversations" completely.

Had Reagan's old guard acted responsibly...no statement by Haig would have been necessary.
(This sort of stupidity also happened when Eisenhower went down with a huge heart attack and was incapacitated for 3 weeks and Ike's people resisted officially naming Nixon as acting President "because it might hurt Ike's authority when he recovered.)

Skyler said...

CF wrote: Skyler somehow overlooks the massive importance continuity of government, chain of command, and who had control of US strategic forces - in characterizing the serious incapacitization of Reagan as "not an emergency":

Um, cedar, pay attention now. Bush had the football. He had all the communications assets at his disposal for command of the military. There was no reason for him to be physically present in any particular spot.

The President frequently travels around the country, goes to the bathroomm, or falls asleep. The country was doing fine. There was no emergency, and Haig goofed big time. He should have said, Vice President Bush is in control aboard Air Force 2, or wherever he was at the time, and left it at that.

Your assertion, and Haig's, that someone, anyone, just HAD to be in the White House is ludicrous based on the decades that had already gone by in Cold War. No one pulled this stunt when JFK was assassinated because it wasn't necessary.

If the Soviets had done anything provocative at all, our defense department was properly led and had contingency plans and systems in place for knowing who was in charge of our nation's defense, and it was NOT Al Haig.

Flexo said...

Please, everyone, do not let Skyler anywhere near a crisis situation. He is a catastrophe waiting to happen.

Skyler said...

Yes, Flexo. We should all prefer that our elected and unelected officials should panic at every opportunity.

AllenS said...

Drill,

I can't remember General DePuy.
In the late eighties General Westmoreland was at one of our reunions of the 173d. Then, in the
early 90's I was in Washington, DC
for the 50th year anniversay of Airborne and met General Westmoreland. He liked to hang with the grunts. He was another good man, that the media hated. If you get all of your information about military people from the NYT you're a fool.

Opus One Media said...

I'm sorry when anyone dies. it is sad for those who remain and wish to remember him/her in the best possible light.

I'm sure there was some good in this guy. So let's leave it at that. But don't cross the line into patriot.

Sigivald said...

"The trueness of one's truth, Zorak, is clearly based in one's vernacular inaccuracies."