Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010

Alexander Haig

Before he was a warrior-statesman, Al Haig was a warrior-monk. The White House is not known for its spacious offices; as my deputy on national security, sequestered in his tiny, cell-like space, Al worked indefatigably, in a way ferociously — as if he could vindicate by his intensity his comrades left behind on the battlefield and the people they were defending. He had a distinguished record in Vietnam, but he was also aware of the political context in which military action must take place. And so in the various positions that he held — National Security Adviser, NATO commander, Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan — he was very conscious of relating American power to American purposes. As Nixon's chief of staff during Watergate, he had the grueling assignment of holding our government together as its presidency disintegrated in the worst constitutional crisis since the Civil War. Al almost single-handedly saw us through this travail. He shared his country's anguish. He knew also that confidence in America was essential to maintain our alliances. Al Haig will be remembered with respect, affection and the special gratitude reserved for those who stood by their country in times of need.

Henry Kissinger

Kissinger was President Nixon's Secretary of State