Alexander Haig Quotes

Alexander Meigs Haig, Jr, 1924 – 2010

Born: 2 December 1924, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died: 20 February 2010, Baltimore, Maryland

The second of three children, raised by his mother after his father died when Al was ten. He graduated from Lower Merion High School at Ardmore, Pennsylvania, studied at Notre Dame for two years, then transferred to the United States Military Academy (West Point) where he graduated in 1947. He was on Douglas MacArthur’s staff in Japan, he participated in and was decorated for valor in four campaigns in Korea. In 1950 he married MacArthur’s daughter. He earned an MBA from Columbia Business School (1955) and a master’s degree in international relations from Georgetown University (1961), his theses addressing the role of military officers in national policy. He was a staff officer at the Pentagon, then an assistant to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, and took command of the First Infantry in Vietnam in late 1965, where he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and a Purple Heart. He was Regimental Commander of cadets at West Point and then became an assistant to Henry Kissinger. Nixon promoted Haig to Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security, during which he helped negotiate the final Vietnam cease fire. In 1973 he was Vice Chief of Staff of the Army until Nixon tapped him as chief of staff. During this period he essentially was the acting president as Nixon was involved in his Watergate defense. Haig presided over the removal of Vice President Spiro Agnew and later the removal of President Nixon, apparently negotiating Nixon’s pardon with Gerald Ford. He was Supreme Commander of NATO (1974 – 1979), then served as president and CEO of United Technologies, the first civilian job he held since high school. Reagan picked him to serve as Secretary of State (1981 – 1982), where he became well-known for “Haigspeak”, a particularly verbose, obscure, and semantically strained style of rhetoric, some of which is evident in our quotes. He made a short-lived run for president in 1988. More recently he hosted two television programs discussing business topics, World Business Review and 21st Century Business. He was admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital at Baltimore on 28 January 2010 for treatment of a staphylococcal infection, from which he died.

Alexander Haig quotes:

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. As for now, I’m in control here, in the White House, pending the return of the vice president and in close touch with him.
    Alexander Haig

I probably carry more scar tissue on my derrière than any other candidate – that’s political scar tissue.
    Alexander Haig

I’m the only American alive or dead who presided unhappily over the removal of a vice president and a president.
    Alexander Haig

If they analyze the situation as thoroughly as they should, Muslims will realize they are the first targets. What are the fundamentalists really after? Simply taking over Islam and then turning its back on modernity.
    Alexander Haig

In Desert Storm, we had too many troops; in Afghanistan probably not enough for the major commitment we have made.
    Alexander Haig

Israel is the largest American aircraft carrier in the world that cannot be sunk, does not carry even one American soldier, and is located in a critical region for American national security.
    Alexander Haig

It didn’t take long for the world to realize that the Shah was an enlightened liberal next to the bloody reactionary regime that followed, and which executed more people in three months than the Shah had done in 30 years.
    Alexander Haig

Let them march all they want, as long as they continue to pay their taxes.
    Alexander Haig

More often than not, Americans and Westerners overestimated the power and capability of the Soviet Union.
    Alexander Haig

Practice rather than preach. Make of your life an affirmation, defined by your ideals, not the negation of others. Dare to the level of your capability then go beyond to a higher level.
    Alexander Haig

Prior to his takeover of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini was camping near Paris, giving daily news conferences to a fawning international press corps without a murmur of complaint to France from the United States about the disaster it was coddling in the incredibly naive liberal belief that this extremist cleric would be an improvement over the Shah.
    Alexander Haig

Propaganda was an important arm of the Soviet diplomacy, very important.
    Alexander Haig

That’s not a lie, it’s a terminological inexactitude. Also, a tactical misrepresentation.
    Alexander Haig

The warning message we sent the Russians was a calculated ambiguity that would be clearly understood.
    Alexander Haig

There are contingency plans in the NATO doctrine to fire a nuclear weapon for demonstrative purposes, to demonstrate to the other side that they are exceeding the limits of toleration in the conventional area.
    Alexander Haig

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