12.27.12

Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf’s Best Quotes

The general who commanded coalition troops in the first Gulf War was known for his straight talk as well as his battle prowess. The Daily Beast assembles some of the most pithy remarks of Norman Schwarzkopf, who died Thursday at age 78.

America loves a tough, no-nonsense general with a few stars on his collar and patriotic and wise battle talk coming from his mouth. Such was the case with Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who became a legend after leading American and coalition forces to victory in the Persian Gulf War. The 78-year-old retired member of the military’s top brass was known for his inspiring quips and one-liners and his bluntly expressed opinions. We round up some of the most pithy comments from the general, who died Thursday of complications of pneumonia.

“War is a profane thing.”

“The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.”

“It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.”

“The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.”

“You learn far more from negative leadership than from positive leadership. Because you learn how not to do it. And, therefore, you learn how to do it.”

“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.”

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Three months before his retirement in 1991, General Schwarzkopf told soon-to-be soldiers about the importance of protecting the nation.

“Any soldier worth his salt should be antiwar. And still there are things worth fighting for.”

“They didn’t want to go to war, they didn’t want to leave their families, but when their country asked them to, they did, because they thought it was the right thing to do.”

“You can’t help someone get up a hill without getting closer to the top yourself.”

“When placed in command—take charge.”

“He is neither a strategist nor is he schooled in the operational arts, nor is he a tactician, nor is he a general. Other than that he’s a great military man.”

“A professional soldier understands that war means killing people, war means maiming people, war means families left without fathers and mothers.” 

“The day we executed the air campaign, I said, ‘We gotcha!’”

“True courage is being afraid, and going ahead and doing your job anyhow, that’s what courage is.”

“Do what is right, not what you think the high headquarters wants or what you think will make you look good.”