General Schwarzkopf died. The Patton of my generation, he was the last famous war hero. Leading up to the first Gulf War, when Sean Lennon was remaking daddy's Give Peace a Chance, and Hollywood liberals were dousing state buildings with blood, and Peter Jennings was fearing boat loads of body bags, General Schwarzkopf proved them wrong. Already there was a powerful stream of Down With America in our country, and knowing that the first Gulf War was all about oil, it wasn't hard for the anti-war crowd to attempt another peace riot era just like the good old days. In many ways, it's what those ex-hippie Boomers had been hoping for. I remember a college professor, still reminiscing about the crazy, hazy days at Haight-Ashbury, bemoaning the lack of passion in my generation. Where is the anger? he once asked. Anger? What anger? It was the late 80s. Reagan had made an end run at Geneva, it looked to all like the Cold War could end peacefully, the economy was rebounding, there appeared to be hope again. And once the Berlin Wall collapsed, the hope seemed justified.
So it must have been with great relief to all those liberals who had chaffed their way through the 80s now saw a perfect chance to rebel, that they grabbed the flags and flowers, and once again made a stand against the Evil Empire. Added to it was the assurance that America, in all its post-Vietnam war glory, was a has been nation. We didn't stand a chance As a college graduate honor bound to join if there was to be the inevitable draft, I watched with trepidation as news cast after news cast predicted the mauling and shredding of our forces at the hands of a superior Republican Guard.
And then in stepped General Schwarzkopf. Wearing his trademark fatigues, he exuded confidence and determination. For a moment, he took us back, back past Oliver Stone's Platoon, back past the drug sopped troops of Vietnam, back past Hawkeye and B.J. lamenting the Korean Conflict, back to a time when America was proud of itself, and proud of its leaders who could win. And win he did. It was almost embarrassing the annihilation of Hussein's fabled elite Guard. The war ended. There was no draft. And that last gasp of a county passing its prime was taken, and enjoyed.
So thank you General Schwarzkopf. He was not a simple poster child for this or that political agenda. He stood outside of it. He was a simple soldier doing his duty. And for that, and the better part of our country's past that he represented, I will always be thankful. Rest in Peace, and may your rest find you at your spirit's end.