Why I liked Norman Schwarzkopf

Retired General Norman Schwarzkopf passed away thursday from complications from pneumonia, he was only 78 years old. Schwarzkopf gained national celebrity status during the Gulf War. He was the primary architect of a strategy that led to what can arguably be called the greatest lopsided defeat in a major war in modern history. But that’s not what I and many others liked about this guy the most.

Schwarzkopf could have used his fame to run for office, maybe even President, and he would have had a terrific chance of winning. He chose not to, demonstrating the sincerest appreciation of civilian command of the military and the most noble of democratic virtues. Every Presidential wanna-bee likes to pretend they’re willing to serve a stint as leader, at great sacrifice, not because they want to, but only because the people demand it and because no one else can do it like they could. A claim made most recently and cynically by the Romney clan.

The Romney’s, and anyone else tempted to falsely claim that mantle, should pause and take note: General Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf was the real red, white, and blue American deal.


  1. busterggi says

    Shallow of me but I liked him also because his father was the narrator for the ‘Gangbuster’ radio show back in the ’30’s.

  2. raymoscow says

    I remember how he explained, at the end of the first Iraq war, why it was a bad idea to invade Baghdad and topple the government. It’s a pity that no one paid the slightest attention after Dubya gained power and used the pretext of 9/11 to justify his (our) invasion.

  3. says

    A general who after retirement runs for office has no bearing on civilian control of the military. I have no doubt that stormin’ would be able to face down the joint chiefs if he had too. And same with Wesley Clark, Colin Powell or any other general. What Petreaus did with Obama with the afghan surge undermined civilian control much more than the former situation.

  4. lpetrich says

    Out of the 44 US Presidents, 12 had been generals: George Washington, Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, Dwight D. Eisenhower

  5. thisisaturingtest says

    @#1, busterggi: This is a little off-topic, as well as irrelevant, but…Schwartzkopf’s father was also the head of the New Jersey State Police at the time of the Lindbergh-baby kidnapping, who was instrumental in putting a possibly innocent man (Hauptmann) in the electric chair. This is not meant as a judgement on the man- I’m sure, in context, he was doing what he thought right at the time, which is all anyone can ever really do without the benefit of hindsight- just noting a historical fact.

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