“dumb, stupid animals to be used” as pawns for foreign policy

In Haig’s presence, Kissinger referred pointedly to military men as “dumb, stupid animals to be used” as pawns for foreign policy. Kissinger often took up a post outside the doorway to Haig’s office and dressed him down in front of the secretaries for alleged acts of incompetence with which Haig was not even remotely involved. Once when the Air Force was authorized to resume bombing of North Vietnam, the planes did not fly on certain days because of bad weather. Kissinger assailed Haig. He complained bitterly that the generals had been screaming for the limits to be taken off but that now their pilots were afraid to go up in a little fog. The country needed generals who could win battles, Kissinger said, not good briefers like Haig.

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, The Final Days ((Simon & Schuster, 1976) p. 194.

Context: American involvement in Vietnam was actually used to accelerate its acquiescence to Soviet-backed Communism. While claiming to fight Communism during the cold war, America never managed to fully defeat a Communist-backed or Communist nation in direct combat, despite its impressive arsenal.


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