December 28th, 2012

RIP General Schwarzkopf

General Norman Schwarzkopf has died at the age of 78 of complications from pneumonia. Those of us who were around during the 1991 Gulf War remember him as a television personality explaining it all, and a man who was popular enough to cause some people to wish he would run for office.

The US didn’t stick around after that war to deal with the complications of the aftermath, and left Saddam Hussein in power. Schwarzkopf himself later admitted that decision may not have been so great in light of later events.

I hadn’t realized some interesting things about Schwarzkopf’s father until I read the son’s AP obituary. It turns out that right around the time Norman was born, his father, “Col. H. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr., founder and commander of the New Jersey State Police, was then leading the investigation of the Lindbergh kidnap case.” Later on, father (and son) had another brush with history when “as a teenager Norman accompanied his father to Iran, where the elder Schwarzkopf trained the country’s national police force and was an adviser to Reza Pahlavi, the young Shah of Iran.”


In a strange accident of timing, it appears that President George H.W. Bush, another man intimately involved with decisions during the Gulf War, is fading. He’s in the ICU right now, after having been hospitalized for over a month for bronchitis and now an unexplained fever.

15 Responses to “RIP General Schwarzkopf”

  1. Oldflyer Says:

    RIP General.

    He was a bigger than life, American icon.

    I wonder how history will treat his Generalship. One fact is indisputable; he did the job he was given to do, and did it masterfully.

    I love George H. W. Bush, and my thoughts are certainly with him and his family. As a Naval Aviator, I love the fact that he was the youngest one in WWII. I admire all who flew from carriers in that historical era, in which every launch and every landing was problematical. I admire the man he became, and his life of service.

    As history links President Bush and General Schwarzkopf, many will criticize Bush for not sending Schwarzkopf to finish Hussein. But, Bush had no mandate, and the coalition he skillfully constructed would not have held through an invasion of Iraq. At least that is my take. With regard to the domestic issues of his Presidency, I suspect that Bush was simply too honorable to effectively deal with Democrat obstructionism.

  2. JH Says:

    May God bless him

    But two things I would like to bring here:

    I personally heard that CIA personal was on the ground at the time who went undercover for two week inside Iraq south region, then they came back with advise to Bush senior not pushing US forces toward Baghdad!!

    secondly is General Norman Schwarzkopf was responsible for ‘Highway Of Death’ Slaughter?

    Casualities of War
    by Patrick J. Sloyan, December 2002

  3. Sam L. Says:

    If he was, good on him! Stop the was quickly, and minimize the casualties. Theirs, too.

  4. Sam L. Says:

    was, not was.

  5. Sam L. Says:

    war, not was. Sheesh!

  6. Richard Aubrey Says:

    The highway of death action was killing our enemies so they couldn’t kill our people. It was, however, a peculiar slaughter in that the front and back of the convoy–a very long convoy returning with Kuwaiti loot–were bombed, stopping the convoy.
    The passengers, for the most part, figured out what was coming and took off on foot, leaving a dramatic picture of huge numbers of destroyed vehicles with few people still in them.
    Still, it was good footage for other folks with too much ambition and too little judgment.

  7. Don Carlos Says:

    I am a casual student of obituaries.
    There has emerged in the past 3 yrs or so a tendency to report in obits that someone died of “complications” of a disease all too able to cause death all by its lonesome. What are “complications” of pneumonia, I ask. Respiratory insufficiency? Hypoxemia? Bacteremia? They’re the physiologic or pathologic consequences of the disorder, a victorious pneumonia.

    So notables now die of “complications”, not diseases.

    As a new intern suddenly and un-schooledly responsible for completing death certificates, I put down the cause of death on my first few as”cardio-respiratory arrest” (Oh, how smart am I!), next line “due to” X or Y, until I figured all of these deaths would be listed by the Public Health folks as due to the same, totally uninformative cause (Duh!) since everyone dies of cardio-pulmonary arrest… which is now a “complication”, I guess.

  8. southpaw Says:

    In military historical context, he will be remembered as the Patton of his time. The general who obliterated the 4 th largest army on earth in a few weeks.
    A Brilliant leader and general; hopefully he left behind many protégés.

  9. Oldflyer Says:

    Many people advised Bush not to push toward Baghdad. I believe one of the many reasons given for stopping was to insure a counterweight to Iran in the region.

    Why is the highway of death an issue? Were the people in that convoy not combatants?

  10. DaveindeSwamp Says:

    The Whole “Highway of Death” crap was our own leftist media feeling sorry for monsters The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was so affected by his friends in the media that he violated sound military principle for better press.

  11. Don Carlos Says:

    An “unexplained fever” in medicine is almost always bad news. Occult cancer, for one thing. Or an opportunistic pathogen, sometimes a weird and untreatable fungus.

  12. Don Carlos Says:

    If Bush I were to die, would his obit read “due to complications from bronchitis”?

  13. JH Says:

    Many people advised Bush not to push toward Baghdad. I believe one of the many reasons given for stopping was to insure a counterweight to Iran in the region.

    Oldflyer, give a break…
    As I said previously the bit of new was broadcast by VOA about those CIA team on the ground in southern Iraq and their work and back to their commanders.

    If US done it on abases for stopping was to insure a counterweight to Iran in the region which is un doubtable right, as Iran was much less threat after 8 years of war lost almost 1 million man, then after 2003, US insure a counterweight to Iran in the region by bringing and helping Iranian proxy in Iraq.

  14. IGotBupkis, Legally Recognized Cyberbully in ALL 57 States Says:

    It should be noted that “Stormin’ Norman” was vastly oversold as a general.

    HIS plan for Iraq was to go head to head, overwhelming the Iraqis with extreme firepower.

    Almost certainly, it would have worked, but at a notably higher cost of life.

    The true architect of the war plan that fully utilized American MOBILITY was Colonel John Boyd, a vastly underappreciated military genius who changed not only the face of air warfare via Energy-Maneuverability Theory, but also all aspects of warfare AND business, by developing the concept of the OODA Loop

    In a letter to the editor of Inside the Pentagon, former Commandant of the Marine Corps General Charles C. Krulak is quoted as saying “The Iraqi army collapsed morally and intellectually under the onslaught of American and Coalition forces. John Boyd was an architect of that victory as surely as if he’d commanded a fighter wing or a maneuver division in the desert.”

    “Stormin’ Norman” took full credit for a victory based on a plan largely not his.

    I strongly advise reading Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War by Robert Coram

  15. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Two men that I admire.

    General Schwarzkop was an officer who stayed in and helped reform the Army after Vietnam. That took ethical courage and dedication to duty, honor, country. He was never looking for glory or position, he was looking to win battles. Like most Vietnam vets who had experienced the agony of a no-win war policy, he believed in fighting to win unconditional victory. He prepared to do that in Desert Storm. That goal eluded him because of geopolitics. We have been blessed to have many fine officers lead troops for us. IMO, General Schwarzkop can proudly take his position in the Long Gray Line. R.I.P. General Schwarzkop.

    George H. W. Bush has served this country in so many ways – military, private business, and government. His career has been one of continuous hard work and decency. Probably the best prepared by overall experience to be President we have seen in many a year, he lacked the one quality that a C-in-C really needs – a killer’s instinct.
    When I read his book, “My Life in Letters and Other Writings,”, published after his Presidency, I realized that he was just too nice, too decent, and without the killer instinct. That said, I am in awe of his life story and the service he has rendered to this nation. May he get well soon.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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