He was... "...the meanest, toughest, most ambitious S.O.B. I ever knew but he'll be a hell of a secretary of state." -- Richard NixonAlexander Meigs Haig, Jr.,, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, who served US Presidents Nixon (as a military adviser, deputy assistant for national-security affairs, and chief of staff), Ford (chief of staff), and Reagan (secretary of state), has died at the age of 85. Haig commanded a batallion during the Vietnam War (where he was seriously wounded), managed the White House during the Watergate scandal that brought down President Nixon, and was himself a former Presidential candidate.
When Vice President George H.W. Bush -- with whom Haig had something of a White House power struggle -- was on a plane flying back to Washington, Haig quickly seized the moment, addressing reporters: "As of now, I am in control here in the White House," he said.
Long before comedians began poking fun at George W Bush’s inventive neologisms and syntax, they were mocking Haig’s frequent “Haigisms”. He was famous for reviving Winston’s Churchill phrase “terminological inexactitude” — Haig’s offending sentence ran: “That’s not a lie. It is a terminological inexactitude. Also, a tactical misrepresentation.” On another occasion he remarked: “The warning message we sent the Russians was a calculated ambiguity that would be clearly understood.”
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