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27 December 2012


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This guy was not the architect of the Gulf War invasion. Despite throwing temper tantrums like a spoiled child when not getting his way, he was just a dumb figurehead with a closely managed image and nothing more.



yes. pl


Worked for him on ARSTAFF (DAMO-SS/MidEast Policy-strategy desk officer as 48G) as young 0-5 when he was DCSOPS..well regarded but hard to brief (big on details & background). If you tubed a brief to him, he'd fry your bacon then dismiss you & had called your boss…or bosses boss (waiting for you when you got back) to fry you a tad more. Good officer, wicked smart, fierce temper but never held hot when you encountered him next...fresh start each time. And Kevin’s observation about not being architect of ‘Hail Mary’ and great ‘Left Hook’ rings true; it was a then obscure group of junior field grades from Leavenworth (The Jedi Knights) who cobbled the attack op plan together after Norm stepped on his poncho in his initial concept brief to the OJCS (Powell et al) where he declared he was going to ‘run up the gut’…a full frontal attack. ‘Wrong answer’, says the E Ring. Regardless, he was the face of the first Iraq dust-up and was a good mud soldier.



I was not a fan. He didn't like SF or spooks or anyone who would argue with him. I was in all those groups and had the duty (as the JCS planer) for telling his staff that they were underestimating the speed with which the Iraqis could deploy to the Kuwait-Basra area. This was in the contingency planning before the Iraqis invaded Kuwait. DIA ended up being right but he was a great screamer. pl

The Twisted Genius

"He didn't like SF or spooks"

Now I'm curious about what he said at that MOTC graduation or why he was there in the first place. I do remember the school staff being all a twitter about him coming down. Probably just kissing up to the incoming CENTCOM commander. I was just happy for the free beer.


Again, with limited actual contact of him during his days as DCSOPS & while not necessary fond of him, my recollection of the general impression of him pervasive in the trenches of ODCSOPS action officers was good. He moved actions along, was decisive & left no doubt who was driving the bus. The Army CoS was GEN Carl Vuono with GEN Kicklighter as DCoS…let’s say I’m not a fan of either…& hard days for the Army & for us in the E Ring. But ole’ Stormin Norman had us hoping. And no, he didn’t like SF or DIA. Some of that may have been because of experience with DIA’s less than stellar outcome in the Grenada operation or some personal dislike for DIA Director LTG Perroots. S the changing national security environment featuring the new threats of terrorism, global volatility, and low-intensity conflict. As DCSOPS, Schwartzkopf grappled the changing national security environment featuring the new threats of terrorism, global volatility, & low-intensity conflict. I don’t think he liked or then well-understood these game changers.


My indelible impression of General Schwartzkopf is a story that went around the collection world.

I do not know if it is really true. It seems that The general demanded more coverage by one of the "national technical means." He demanded that a low earth orbiter "hover" over the AO so he could get what he needed. Some smart young Major supposedly said something to the effect of "Sorry, Sir, Kepler won't allow it." As the story goes, Stormin Norman said, "oh yeah? Well, get Kepler in here, I want to talk with him."

Johannes Kepler would have been quakin' in his boots, no doubt.


So is that a Ranger Battalion beret in the photo? Just curious.

The Twisted Genius

Good story. If true, he didn't remember much from his graduate degree in missile engineering. Good to see you haven't lost your sense of humor, Basilisk. Welcome back.


No, battalion/brigade ARVN advisers (my MACV tour) had the co vans wearing a dark blue beret with ARVN rank afixed. I was a Dai Uy and still have my beret. I truly didn't look good in that headgear and preferred the issued soft hat.. Schwartzkopf was with the ARVN Airborne, so i don't know as his beret may have been maroon...


No, ARVN advisors (MACV co vans) worn a dark blue beret with ARVN rank attached. As he was assigned to the airborne, his may have been maroon.


Yes, welcome back, Basilisk. Still looking for that '46?


Welcome back. I can't help going nerdy on your Kepler story. Yesterday was his birthday and it turns out that he lived a very interesting life:



"some personal dislike for DIA Director LTG Perroots" Yes, he disliked Lennie because Lennie wouldn't take any of his "bully boy" crap and backed me up when I wouldn't either. pl


Glad Lennie supported you. I was on a trip overseas with him. I still remember the off color joke he told a large gathering of locals. Hopefully, they didn't understand. I was in the trenches with DIA during some of those battles with CENTCOM about the Iragi threat to the Gulf states. The CENTCOM threat projection seemed driven by CENTCOM's capabilities and budget requests. As late as July 1990 at the Naval War College's Global War Game, the 5 plus CENTCOM representatives were intellectually unprepared for the possibility that that Iraq would stop at the border with Saudi Arabia and not invade that country too. The CENTCOM reps had a bit of difficulty adjusting to the scenario we had written which did just that.



Yes, rough around the edges but just the kind of guy you needed for support. pl



- He went to CENTCOM to shut the place down after the collapse of the USSR. His pals saw this as a way to get him a fourth star.

- DIA provided a study of how Iraq could invade Kuwait easily. NS then began doing contingency planning in the hope that a JCS approved plan might keep his command in existence

- DIA supported that but we would not accept the unrealistic assumptions having to do with warning times and movement times on both sides that he wanted in the plan as a convenience to him. Without the warning time in the plan that he wanted he could not get his "deterrant force" in place before the Iraqis could attack Kuwait in force. Plans exist within the universe created by their assumptions. DIA knew a great deal about Iraq's forces in the aftermath of the IR/IZ War. We were sure that a realistic deployment time for the Iraqis into their assembly areas would be 7 days. NS wanted 21 days. He could not get the plan approved if we would not sign off on it. I offered CENTCOM ten days. You all jumped all over me for that. I deserved it. In the event the Iraqis deployed in a week.

- NS wanted to attack Iraqi forces frontally with his half a million men. Powell disapproved that and the Jedi Knights were brought in to write the plan for envelopment that was used. NS had nothing to do with writing the plan.

- He would not alllow us to deploy HUMINT or SOF assets into Iraqi held territory before Desert Saber started. he said that they might be captured and that would be embarrasing.

- DIA supported NS's incompetent CENTCOM intelligence staff with 2,000 people for eight months. 600 were deployed to Riyadh to do the work for his people. Jim Ritchie never got the credit for running that. C-130s flew continuously to SA carrying all the work DIA did for him. Many phone lines were kept open for all that time so that a continuous support was offered. NS's gratitude to DIA for all the agency did for him was expressend in congressional hearings in which he bitched about not having had perfect knowledge of the enemy. What a clown!

- His behavior with regard to his security in theater was ludicrous. I traveled to Riyadh several times with groups of US senators. His PSD wore civilian clothes and followed us around his headquarters in MODA while pointing their damned sub-machine guns at members of the senate. I was not polite to the goons.

- in the immediate aftermath of the war and before he retired he got himself a personal "agent" and started telling the rest of DoD that we should talk to his agent if we wanted an appointment. He was the first post-modern general.

Everyone can spare me the BS about what a great commander he was. pl


General Scharwarzcoft did have character; unlike the current four stars who tweet on Twitter. But, he did not resign his commission when the advance was halted by his superiors without destroying the Republican Guard or overthrowing Saddam Hussein. The Iraq War continued on for two more decades with 4488 American casualties. 30,000 American contractors are still stationed in Baghdad.

Or, perhaps, the Iraq War is really over like the media says and the contractors have returned home. Nowadays, it is really hard to know.



Bush 41 and Powell were revolted by the carnage along the Kuwait border and ordered the halt. NS should have experienced a communications failure for a few hours while the retreating Iraqis were trapped. you don't understand the OB then. what the Iraqis saved were their staffs and division structures. The Republican guard was just another part of the Iraqi Army. With the division and corps structures more or less intact the Iraqis quickly re-built their force. The neocons wanted to occupy Iraq then. Do you think that was a good idea? pl


Obviously you had a better/more painful seat in the crowd than I. Again, with only actual contact a couple times so cannot provide personal assessment. He fried my 0-6 DAMO-SS division chief, and for that, we AOs were grateful. I know NS was the bull in the Wedgewood store. Regardless, sorry to see him go (as go we all must) & hope he was at peace with those around him.



There was no pain, none at all. I have known real pain. being a rat at VMI was real pain, hard to beat in the pain department. I like tough guys. Bob Kingston was a friend, a real tough guy. NS was incredibly abusive to briefers. i had a deputy who was a USAF captain who knew more about the ME than NS could conceive of. i watched NS ridicule this guy for 45 minutes. A lot of it was the rank and the service. After that i briefed NS myself. BTW if any of the CENTCOM J-2 clowns want to talk about their actual role in Desert Storm, I am here for you. pl


Was holding back really wrong though, in hindsight? Was the destruction of the Sunni goverment and the creation of a Shiite one really in our interests? The consequences of the 2003 invasion are still rippling the region to disastrous effect.

FB Ali

One of the criticisms of NS later on was his permitting the Iraqi military to use helicopters after the ceasefire. This greatly helped Saddam Hussain in crushing the Shia uprising.

It was said that the US encouraged the Shia to revolt but then abandoned them later. I don't know how accurate the first proposition is.


When with DIA/JSI-5 in the early 80's as the Iran-Iraq war was getting nastier, 2 of us then 0-4s spent 45 'anxious' minutes with 'Barbwire Bob' Kingston talking the bridging used by the Iraqis in the Majnoon island area.(Styrofoam largely it was!) Then LTG Kingston couldn't have been easier to brief; engaged, good questions, let us finish sentences and slides...wwe walked out and thought 'that went very well'. He was a hard guy (noted on class A's), but very good senior officer. CENTCOM was a mixed bag then..I know I didn't want to go to Tampa! Yeah, I heerd tell about the VMI..many good combat arms, close running mates of mine over the years were products thereof...good officers all.

Charles I

And if you ever want to talk about all your actual roles in history, all the unpublishable stuff, I am here for you.

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