The Legacy of General Norman Schwarzkopf

Friday, December 28, 2012

US General Norman Schwarzkopf decorated with the medal of Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor in July 1994. (Eric Cabanis/Getty)

General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of American-led forces during the 1991 Persian Gulf war, died of complications from pneumonia on Thursday.  Schwarzkopf became the nation’s most acclaimed military hero since the mid-century after crushing Iraqi forces.

He was born on August 22, 1934, in Trenton, New Jersey, the son of a West Point graduate who fought in World Wars I and II. He graduated from West Point in 1956, and then served two years with airborne units in America and Europe.  He went on to serve in Vietnam and teach at West Point before rising in the ranks to command American-led forces in the Persian Gulf war. 

He was a general for a new era.  He invented the live TV military briefings that have become so common in every U.S. military conflict. Schwarzkopf's briefings were electrifying television during the liberation of Kuwait from Iraq in a sweeping operation that forced a surrender of Iraqi forces mere days after the operation began. 

Schwarzkopf did not ask for this global stage, but as a man given an opportunity at a moment in history he made the most of it. 

Peter Petre, co-author of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf's memoir "It Doesn't Take A Hero" and retired Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner  remember his legacy.



IN: “I am a religious man - and there's an old saying - there are no atheists in fox holes - let me assure there are no atheists in command bunkers either..... ”
Scharwatckopf did not ask for this global stage... but as a man given an opportunity at a moment in history he made the most of it.... and he brought his personality and an honesty and openness that often got him into trouble... but it also endeared him to American viewers hungry for a victory on the battlefield. 
IN: “Really my nickname among the troops for many years was the Bear - which I think has more to do with my size - it was given to me byu the troops in Alaska - but the Stormin Norman label is I'm afraid hung around my neck in perperuity - so that's it now..... ”
The object of that Storming was often his superiors.... Dick Cheney Secratery of Defense.... Colin Powell chairman of the Joint Chiefs...
IN: “Let me put it this way - it is important the system should always be challenged..
OUT's your obligation to step up and say so..... ”
"We've lost an American original," the White House said in a statement yesterday. "Gen. Schwarzkopf stood tall for the country and Army he loved. Our prayers are with the Schwarzkopf family, who tonight can know that his legacy will endure in a nation that is more secure because of his patriotic service."
Former President George H.W. Bush, hospitalized himself with an illness in Texas, called Schwarzkopf "a true American patriot and one of the great military leaders of his generation."
Norman Schwartzkopf West Point 1956... born in New Jersey, the son of a general who served in both world war one and two... called Vietnam a cesspool and vowed never to repeat its mistakes.... whatever has come from the era that began with the first Gulf War against Iraq.... Norman Schawartzkopf seemed to have leared the lessons of vietnam. 



Col. Sam Gardiner and Peter Petre

Comments [2]

Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

I always admire military men who avoid going into politics after they serve. They know too much about the corruption in our political system and how that translates into young men dying unnecessarily.

Dec. 28 2012 05:09 PM

It was a Democratic Party controlled Congress that started the Vietnam War and then chose to lose it in 1975.
That fact is naturally omitted in the essay while sardonically including movie clips and General Schwarzkopf's "legendary" dust ups with the Bush Administration.

Should the terms of the Persian Gulf cease fire that the General conducted in 1991 have been accepted as a sham and endlessly ignored as Saddam Hussein violated it? The politically pliable media narrative at the time was that Hussein won the war and thus did Bush 41 no electoral favors but did lead to Clinton's Iraq Liberation Act in 1998.

Perhaps if the invasion of Iraq happened in 1991 when the Iraqi people began to revolt, the carnage the Iraqi peopled suffered in the 1990's as a result of the corrupt Oil for Food Program could have been avoided.
Progressive cherry picking recent history is rather insulting to those who lived through those times and remember the deliberately obscured political nuances that are contrary to the modern media narratives peddled about Iraq.

Dec. 28 2012 09:41 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.