Saturday, February 20, 2010

Alexander Haig, Rest in Peace

General Alexander Haig, adviser to three Republican United States Presidents and Secretary of State, died today at the age of 85. A veteran of the Korean and Vietnamese Wars, he rose to the rank of four-star General, serving as Supreme NATO Commander. Haig was highly decorated for his bravery in Vietnam.

As White House Chief of Staff under President Richard M. Nixon, Haig took on administrative duties while Nixon was embroiled in the Watergate scandal. Haig helped prepare the president’s defense, but when it became apparent that the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives would impeach Nixon and the Democratically-controlled Senate would likely convict him, Haig advised the President to resign. He continued in the same office under President Gerald R. Ford, advising him to pardon his predecessor in order to end the “long national nightmare,” as Ford referred to the Watergate scandal. The courageous decision was the right one, but it cost Ford politically; he lost one of the closest presidential elections in American history in 1976.

Haig served as Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan from 1981-1982. The liberal media most remembers Haig’s attempt to reassure the American people after the assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981. While the president was in surgery for a near-fatal gunshot wound, Vice President George H.W. Bush was incommunicado aboard an airplane returning from Texas. Secretary Haig declared that he was in charge at the White House. Although the liberal media ridiculed the statement as arrogant and falsely portrayed it as an attempted coup d’etat because the Democratic Speaker of the House was next in line under the Presidential Succession Act, followed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Secretary Haig meant that he was administratively filling the gap until the Vice President landed, which was an important message to convey to the Soviets and any other enemies who might have been tempted to exploit the opportunity. Contrary to the liberal media, what Secretary Haig was most remembered for as Secretary of State was his shuttle diplomacy between Argentina and the United Kingdom after the former invaded the British-ruled Falkland Islands, which Argentina claimed as its territory. Although Secretary Haig’s efforts were unsuccessful in averting war, they were a testimony to American efforts to resolve the crisis peacefully, which gave the U.S. the diplomatic cover to support its ally, the U.K.

After completing his public service, Haig unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for president in 1988. He was a political commentator for many years.

Alexander Haig, a Pennsylvanian and graduate of St. Joseph University in Philadelphia, was a patriot who devoted his life to serving the United States of America. May he rest in peace.

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