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Alexander Haig, US Army General and former Secretary of State, dead at 85

Alexander Haig died today at the age of 85. He had a remarkable military career as a four-star general, Supreme Allied Commander, and Vice Chief of Staff of the Army. His career was puncuated by many commendations and awards for bravery and valor, including the Distinguished Service Cross and Silver Star with oak leaf cluster. After his many years in the military, he served as Chief of Staff for both Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and Secretary of State for Ronald Reagan. More from Fox News:

Former Secretary of State Alexander Haig, who served Republican presidents and ran for the office himself, has died.

Haig died Saturday at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore from complications associated with an infection, his family said. He was 85.

The four-star general served as a top adviser to three presidents and had presidential ambitions of his own. President Richard Nixon appointed him White House chief of staff in 1973. In that role, Haig helped the president prepare his impeachment defense and handled many of the day-to-day decisions normally made by the chief executive.

In later years, Haig spoke of Nixon in cautious terms.

"I found with President Nixon -- and I'm sure there are similarities today -- that these are very political beings," he told Fox News in 1998. "They wouldn't be in that office if they weren't politically astute."

Haig later served as secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan.

The Boston Globe has an article with a lot of very interesting and lesser known information. Here's a portion:

Alexander M. Haig Jr., who as secretary of state declared "I'm in control here" when Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981, and as White House chief of staff seven years earlier was so much in control as to be effectively running the government during the final days of the Nixon administration, died today of complications from an infection, at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where he was surrounded by his family, according to two of his children, Alexander and Barbara.

A hospital spokesman, Gary Stephenson, said Haig died at about 1:30 a.m. He was 85.

President Barack Obama praised Haig as a public servant who "exemplified our finest warrior-diplomat tradition of those who dedicate their lives to public service."

"I think of him as a patriot's patriot," said George P. Shultz, who succeeded Haig as the country's top diplomat in 1982. "No matter how you sliced him it came out red, white and blue. He was always willing to serve."

Richard Nixon once described General Haig as "the meanest, toughest, most ambitious s.o.b." he'd ever known. Nixon, who was instrumental in Reagan's appointing General Haig secretary of state, meant it as a compliment.

In the restrained, deliberate world of international diplomacy, General Haig stood out dramatically. His blend of forcefulness and volatility inspired both respect and wariness. So aggressive was his demeanor that Reagan administration rivals dubbed General Haig "CinCWorld" (for "commander in chief, world").

The nickname punned on CinCEur, which had been General Haig's designation as commander in chief of US forces in Europe, a position he held from 1974 to 1979.

General Haig's rise to that position had contributed to his controversial image. Thanks to the sponsorship of Nixon and Henry Kissinger, whom he had served as deputy national security adviser, he rose from colonel, in 1969, to four-star general, in 1973. "Four stars in four years," his biographer Roger Morris termed it, "promotions comparable only to Dwight Eisenhower's in the tumult of World War II."

Although General Haig saw combat in two wars and earned several medals for valor, so rapid an ascent fostered the belief he was a "political general" who owed his rank to the favor of civilian superiors. General Haig's tenure as White House chief of staff during the final 16 months of the Nixon presidency did nothing to dispel that notion. Further underscoring his political reputation was his flirtation with running for the Republican presidential nomination in 1980 and his actively seeking it in 1988. (He withdrew after a dismal showing in the Iowa caucuses.)

General Haig's interest in politics did not extend to oratory. The Washington Post's George F. Will called him as "an aerobic instructor for the English language, making it twist and stretch." His instructions took the form of "Haigspeak," which uniquely combined periphrasis, convolution, and bureaucratese, with a healthy salting of neologisms. "Caveat" was a verb in Haigspeak, and "epistemologicallywise" an adverb.

Rest in peace, General Haig.


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Comments (10)

Rest in peace <br /... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Rest in peace
which is more than Alexander Haig gave to the four American nuns/church women who were raped and murdered by the El Salvador security foces allied with death squads, that the Reagan administration supported in the early 80's.
Akexander HAIG who knew the real facts-

On the night of Dec. 2, 1980, two of the women, Dorothy Kazel and Jean Donovan, drove a white mini-van to the international airport outside San Salvador. There, they picked up Ita Ford and Maura Clarke who had attended a conference in Nicaragua.

Leaving the airport, the van turned onto the road that heads into the capital city. At a roadblock, a squad of soldiers stopped the van and took the women into custody. After a phone call apparently to a superior officer, the sergeant in charge said the orders were to kill the women. The soldiers raped them first and then executed the women with high-powered rifles

but Haig in front of a televised Congressional Committee lied against the evidence of our ambassador in El Salvador Robert White, that the nuns ran a road block and that the nuns, incredulously were likely armed, "THERE MAY HAVE HAVE BEEN AN EXCHANGE OF FIRE", and brought upon their own deaths.

Steve Crickmore, you're rea... (Below threshold)

Steve Crickmore, you're real class.

General Haig was a highly t... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

General Haig was a highly talented and mostly honest man who deserves great credit for his long military record as well as urging President Nixon to resign as a result of his misconduct in office. When the shocking news came about the wounding of President Reagan by the deranged gunman, General Haig only sought to reassure the country that everything was stable with the government.

Even President Obama had very kind words for General Haig today. Whether you're a Democrat like me, or a Republican, you had to only admire his long service to this nation. I think he might have made a very honest president myself.

Clay, if you mean I should ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Clay, if you mean I should respect the dead more, I have never been entirely comfortable with that. I think it is the living who deserve respect, the dead deserve the truth. And I'm sure there will be many who will vouch for Haig's patriotism, loyalty, public and war service.

I was just pointing out another important aspect of Secretary of State Haig's/Reagan administration history in Latin America, neglected in Priesthap's summary.

I'm in charge here! RIP. No... (Below threshold)

I'm in charge here! RIP. No matter what Steve says, the man should be respected at this time. ww

So, Mr Crickmore, what are ... (Below threshold)
Sky Captain:

So, Mr Crickmore, what are your views on the late Senator Ted Kennedy as Mr Kennedy had an actual body count?

A big strike against him, b... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

A big strike against him, but many alluded to that, even Obama on his eulogy.

Rest in Peace Old soldier.<... (Below threshold)

Rest in Peace Old soldier.

Agreed WildWille, may he Re... (Below threshold)

Agreed WildWille, may he Rest in Peace. Quite a legacy.

This is a great loss, I hop... (Below threshold)

This is a great loss, I hope that the memory of General Haig is never forgotten






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