Norman Schwarzkopf died today at the age of 78. He received his fame as the General who commanded forces in the first Gulf War, driving the forces of Sadaam Hussein from Kuwait in 1991. He was a decorated officer serving in Vietnam, and received the nickname “Stormin Norman” because of his temper.
A graduate from the U.S. Military Academy in 1956, he served two tours of duty in Vietnam. In 1988 he was appointed commander of the U.S. central command. When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, he was in control of 700,000 coalition troops who waged an air assault against the forces of Sadaam Hussein in 1991. The air assault was followed by a swift ground attack that forced the forces of Iraq out of Kuwait.
He died at his residence in Tampa, Florida. President George Herbert Walker Bush labeled him, “a true American patriot and one of the great military leaders of his generation.”
Sadly, one of he reasons we mistakenly invaded Iraq was because at the end of the first Gulf War, Bush promised the Shiites that we would support them in their insurrection against Hussein. He lied, and Schwarzkopf and his forces went home, resulting in the massacre of thousands of Shiites.
I met “Stormin Norman” once. I was working in a casino in downtown Reno, Nevada. I don’t discount that he was a superb general with great tactical abilities, but my personal encounter with him left me with less than admirable definitions of the man.
He was a blackjack player. He was rude, and demanding to the point of making him one of the most disliked players in the casino. He was included in the hierarchy of the Safari Club who invade Reno every year in late winter. His arrogance confirmed the name “Stormin Norman” which demonstrated his horrible temper.
Great Generals do not make great men. Napoleon Bonaparte was a great strategist, but a horrible leader who was known for his notorious executions of those who opposed him.
The bottom line is that Schwarzkopf was revered for driving an inferior force out of a country, a feat that could have been accomplished by any competent commander.
I think it’s time we stopped celebrating those who are un-deserving. Most of our true heroes live ordinary lives, often accomplishing great things, and no one ever knows about them.
News Correspondent-The Guardian Express