Touchdown an obituary of Alexander Haig by Steve Payne
says: what if Ronald Reagan had died on the operating table? Please note
that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the
views of the author(s).
In 2010, Alexander Meigs
Haig, Jr. died in Baltimore on this day aged eight-five; both critics and
supports generally agree that he cut the most controversial figure of the
Cold War era.
A veteran of both the Korean and Vietnam Wars, he was decorated with the
Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star with oak leaf cluster and the
Purple Heart. Promoted to General, he rose to the number two position in
the ranks, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army.
In 1973, he was appointed White House Chief of Staff where he rescued
the Administration from the chaos of Watergate, finally convincing Nixon
to resign the Presidency. After serving under his successor Gerald Ford,
he returned to the army serving as Supreme Allied Commander Europe,
commanding all U.S. and NATO forces in Europe.
"There are contingency plans in the Nato doctrine
to fire a nuclear weapon for demonstrative purposes, to demonstrate to the
other side that they are exceeding the limits of toleration in the
conventional area"And in 1981, he was the natural choice for
Secretary of State for Ronald Reagan who was keen to appoint a hawkish
character of steel; indeed his glittering credentials qualified Haig as
the ultimate cold warrier. The trouble was, he was right. Because when
Reagan was assassinated just 69 days into his Presidency, Haig's reaction
was based on unbending text book Cold War logic.
"There are contingency plans in the Nato
doctrine to fire a nuclear weapon for demonstrative purposes, to
demonstrate to the other side that they are exceeding the limits of
toleration in the conventional area"
With Reagan dieing on an operating table, and Vice President George
Bush uncontactable in an aeroplane over Texas, Haig exceeded his
constitutional authority by announcing "I'm in charge here" at a hastily
organised press conference. And despite the fact that three Cabinet
secretaries were ahead of him in the hierarchy, he also took possession of
"the football", the briefcase that travels with the president and contains
the codes for launching nuclear missiles.
"I think of him as a patriot's patriot. No
matter how you sliced him it came out red, white and blue" ~ George
SchultzDuring the succession crisis, the Soviet Union had sent a
submarine on a closer approach to US interests than normal. And in the
confusion surrounding the assassination, the Soviets unwisely chose to
test American resolve. Haig ordered an underwater detonation of a nuclear
weapon that would not destroy the submarines, but render its command and
control systems unusable, thus forcing it to surface and enter US custody.
It was an incredibly bold and infinitely dangerous move that Captain James
T. Kirk would have hesitated to call.
says this alternative biography is based on an article on the
BBC Web Site,
with significant content also repurposed from
Other Alternate Obituaries
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Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit
differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items
explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist
superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy
Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting