Alexander Haig Obituary: A great American General and Patriot

Posted in Other | 24-Feb-10 | Author: Hubertus Hoffmann

Pentagon strategist and mentor Dr. Fritz Kraemer promoted in 1968 LtCol Alexander Haig in a letter to then National Security Advisor Dr. Henry Kissinger thus transforming him from a career officer into a statesman and later Secretary of State for U.S. President Ronald Reagan: "Above all he is a man of strong character, besides being intelligent and gifted, with an innate understanding of political and psychological imponderabilities. Haig had struck me as a man of superior qualities."

Alexander Haig Jr. passed away on February 20, 2010, aged 85, and with him went one of the great American generals and patriots of our time, a noble man of strong will and character who dedicated his entire life to serving his nation and the good cause of freedom through a strong alliance.

He was always a passionate and excellent soldier first, and had the good fortune to be discovered by my mentor Dr. Fritz Kraemer when he was an unknown Lt Col at West Point. Alexander Haig thanked Fritz Kramer, the geo-strategist on the Potomac River, for his political career up to becoming Secretary of State in the Reagan administration. In 1968, when then National Security Advisor Dr. Henry Kissinger was looking for a military assistant, his mentor Fritz Kraemer put down Haig’s name as the only candidate on the Pentagon list for this post, and wrote a very heart-felt letter of recommendation to Kissinger. Kraemer had noted the brilliance of the then Major Alexander Haig years before in the Pentagon, and wanted a man of character to support Kissinger in the White House.

Fritz Kraemer wrote in the book On Excellence: "That I was able to make Alexander Haig the military assistant of Henry Kissinger was pure coincidence. I happened to pass the office of Colonel Hamblin. We had been in the 84th Infantry Division (“The Railsplitters”) together where Henry Kissinger was serving too in WW II. He told me that he had been given the job to find a military advisor for Henry Kissinger and had asked the G 1 officer to send him names of seven officers with outstanding military records and a PhD.

I said to him "Ham, are you nuts? I have two PhDs, and I assure you they mean nothing! They tell you nothing about the person. He can be a fool or a coward. Could I have a look at the list?"

The colonel gave me the list. I looked at the names. The first was brilliant, but one of the few wicked ones in our military. The second one had studied at Oxford, was a Rhodes Scholar, and imitated a British accent. I knew five of the seven personally.

“Seven years ago, a first-class lieutenant colonel sat here at the Pentagon who even had McNamara’s respect and worked for him directly. He even contradicted the Secretary of Defense to his face and he praised him nonetheless". Ham asked: "Who is it?". I replied: "Goddamn, I have forgotten his name, but I remember he had the name of a high-ranking British general in the Great War." Ham was pleased: "Gee, God damn it! You mean Al Haig. I should have thought of him. He is the one!"

Both of us decided then and there to send Haig to Kissinger and forget the list. Colonel Hamblin recommended only one man to his Chief of Staff: Alexander Haig.

I sent Henry Kissinger a personal letter requesting him to take this man. I had written: "Above all he is a man of strong character, besides being intelligent and gifted, with an innate understanding of political and psychological imponderabilities"

Thus Alexander Haig was transformed from a career officer into a potential statesman. Haig had struck me as a man of superior qualities."

Now in the Nixon White House with Henry Kissinger, Al Haig was involved in the Vietnam war and during the Watergate crisis became his White House Chief of Staff (1973-1974). Later promoted as SACEUR, he served NATO and the alliance and he became the trusted face of the U.S. in Europe from 1974-1979.

Elected President U.S. Ronald Reagan appointed Alexander Haig in 1981 as Secretary of State, overestimating the diplomatic skills of this strong-willed and characterful general. Haig got lost in the power play behind Washington’s closed doors after only one year and resigned in 1982.

To honor Gen. Alexander Haig, we publish the article he wrote for my book about his mentorFritz Kraemer On Excellence: Missionary, Mentor and Pentagon Strategist”, which shows his everlasting commitment to high moral values. (more in