Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
When I mentioned to Barry yesterday that I was preparing a post on Haig he said, ‘Which one?’ The name also struck a chord with Nonizamboni from ‘Peacock Blue’.
Alexander Haig was a distinguished and much decorated army officer, retiring as a four-star general in 1979, and eventually becoming the 59th United States Secretary of State from 1981 to 1982 under President Ronald Reagan. He died last February 2010, aged 85.
In the mid-60s Barry attended a meeting at which Alexander Haig, then a Lieutenant Colonel, was speaking. A questioner from the floor asked, ‘What makes you think you can defeat the Viet Cong?’ He replied that the war would be won because present-day American soldiers were superior to those in WWII, in that they were better-educated. WWII soldiers had prevailed against the Germans and so the modern army would succeed in Vietnam. He entirely missed the point that there is a major difference between fighting a just war and engaging in an unjust one.
Years later, Barry met some of the Vietnamese generals, but that’s a story for another day.