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RIP Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf (1934-2012)

by Rodan ( 14 Comments › )
Filed under Breaking News, Special Report at December 27th, 2012 - 10:41 pm

Very sad news today. Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf who commanded Coalition forces during Gulf War I died today.

WASHINGTON –  Truth is, retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf didn’t care much for his popular “Stormin’ Norman” nickname.

The seemingly no-nonsense Desert Storm commander’s reputed temper with aides and subordinates supposedly earned him that rough-and-ready moniker. But others around the general, who died Thursday in Tampa, Fla., at age 78 from complications from pneumonia, knew him as a friendly, talkative and even jovial figure who preferred the somewhat milder sobriquet given by his troops: “The Bear.”

That one perhaps suited him better later in his life, when he supported various national causes and children’s charities while eschewing the spotlight and resisting efforts to draft him to run for political office.

Very sad news indeed. He was a true patriot who served his nation.

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14 Responses to “RIP Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf (1934-2012)”
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  1. Mars
    1 | December 27, 2012 10:51 pm

    Great man, served under him during Desert Storm, saw him once. A much better General and man than many others forced upon us later under Billy Jeff.


  2. 2 | December 27, 2012 11:35 pm

    Damn. Sad news there.


  3. darkwords
    3 | December 28, 2012 12:04 am

    I had confidence in him.


  4. Guggi
    4 | December 28, 2012 3:52 am

    A genuine soldier who knew the importance of military ethic and a skilled warrior. Not a politician dressed up as general as we become used to see since his retirement.

    Rest in peace, general.


  5. ThreeHundred
    5 | December 28, 2012 4:28 am

    By all accounts I have read, this was a man that commanded the respect of all he served. God Bless Norman.


  6. Buckeye Abroad
    6 | December 28, 2012 5:42 am

    This really ends a bad year. RIP General Schwarzkopf.

    I saw him only once-- the armistice signing accepting the Iraqi generals agreement to the terms ending hostilities. He got off his bird and walked down the airfield past my checkpoint. A week later one of the guys in my platoon got a photo op with him (private). Great officer and man.

    Of note: If you ever read “We Were Soldiers”, read to the back of the book and you will find the remnents of the retreating communists were slaughtered by pursuing South Vietmanese forces. Their US advisor on the ground in all this was Major Schwarzkopf. Most people don’t know that.


  7. 7 | December 28, 2012 5:51 am

    So sad. Rest in Peace, General.


  8. Speranza
    8 | December 28, 2012 7:18 am

    He was a good tactician but I do not think that he (like many other generals) was great at geopolitcal strategy. Driving Saddam out of Kuwait was not enough, he needed to have been over thrown. Also agreeing to allow the Iraqis to fly helicopters enabled the slaughter of the Kurds and Shi’as.
    I do recall fondly Stormin’ Norman’s press conferences during the war.


  9. Speranza
    9 | December 28, 2012 7:21 am

    This really ends a bad year.

    Annus horribilis indeed.


  10. 10 | December 28, 2012 9:41 am

    Speranza wrote:

    This really ends a bad year.
    Annus horribilis indeed.

    I don’t anticipate that 2013 will be any better.

    Quite the contrary.


  11. huckfunn
    11 | December 28, 2012 10:27 am

    @ Speranza:
    The geopolitical decisions were made by Bush, Powell, Skowcroft and Cheney. Here is an excellent interview with Schwarzkopf as to all aspects of Desert Storm, from the first discussions all the way through to the end. I believe that Schwarzkopf would have chased Sadam right through the gates of hell had he been told to.

    An Interview With Norman Schwarzkopf.

    Here is an excerpt regarding the “going to Baghdad” issue.

    Q: People always [ask] this--why didn’t you go to Baghdad and finish off the job?

    Schwarzkopf: On the question of going to Baghdad. If you remember the Vietnam war, we had no international legitimacy for what we did. As a result we, first of all, lost the battle of world public opinion and eventually we lost the battle at home.

    In the Gulf War we had great international legitimacy in the form of eight United Nations Resolutions, every one of which said “Kick Iraq out of Kuwait”, did not say one word about going into Iraq, taking Baghdad, conquering the whole country and hanging Saddam Hussein. That’s point number one.

    Point number two, had we gone on to Baghdad, I don’t believe the French would have gone and I’m quite sure that the Arab coalition would not have gone, the coalition would have ruptured and the only people that would have gone would have been the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

    And, oh by the way, I think we’d still be there, we’d be like a dinosaur in a tar pit, we could not have gotten out and we’d still be the occupying power and we’d be paying one hundred percent of all the costs to administer all of Iraq.

    Thirdly, I don’t think we could have found Saddam Hussein if we’d done that. We forget the lessons of Panama. We had ten thousand Americans on the ground in Panama before we went into that very small country, we still couldn’t find a fellow named Noriega, so what makes you think that we would go into a nation the size of Iraq and be able to find one person who has all the ability in the world to escape and hide and fly out of the country.

    But I think, more importantly, there’s a strategic consideration. Saddam Hussein portrayed that war from the very beginning as “This is not a war against Iraqi aggression against Kuwait. This is the Western colonial lackey friends of Israel coming in to destroy the only nation that dare stand up to Israel, that is Iraq”.

    Had we proceeded to go on into Iraq and take all of Iraq, I think that you would have millions of people in that part of the world who would say Saddam was right, that that was the objective.

    Instead we went in, we did what the United Nations mandate asked us to do and we left and we didn’t ask for anything. We didn’t leave permanent military forces over there, we didn’t demand territory, we didn’t demand bases, and the Arabs became convinced that the West was willing to deal with them evenhandedly which has led directly, in my mind, to the progress that’s going on at the peace table an.. between Israel and the Arabs and the Palestinians. It never would have happened if Desert Storm hadn’t occurred.

    So the bottom line, as far as I’m concerned, is that sure, emotionally I would have loved to have gone to Baghdad and grabbed Saddam Hussein, but this was not an emotional decision, it was a strategic decision, and strategically we were smart enough to win the war and win the peace.


  12. Speranza
    12 | December 28, 2012 11:07 am

    @ huckfunn:
    A huge mistake to urge the Iraqis to rise up and when they did we allowed them to be slaughtered. That betrayal (all on Bush by the way) paid us bitter dividends in 2003.


  13. darkwords
    13 | December 28, 2012 1:58 pm

    I remember Swarzkopf berating one of his tank commanders for not being aggressive against the Republican Guard and killing them when able.

    In that part of the world destroying the country to the roots of the religion and rebuilding it is the only thing that works. Muslims ok someplace else but not here where we are standing. A much bigger war than what was fought.

    Failing that we should have made three states out of that area even thought the talking heads laugh at that thought. Leaving a muslim country in status quo operations is never good for our grandkids.


  14. Purre
    14 | December 29, 2012 1:54 pm

    Rest in peace.

    @ Buckeye Abroad:

    I just reread that book and I can only echo your recommendation. He’s mentioned on pages 17, 369-370 and 415. The other notable thing from that book apart what you mentioned is that his temper was born in Vietnam when he begged and pleaded evacuation for his wounded while helicopters would just fly past. Based on what I have read on him, he cared for his troops and had good head on his shoulders.


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