General Alexander Haig
Thursday 25 February 2010
Your obituary of General Alexander Haig (23 February) omits his role in the Israeli invasion of the Lebanon in June 1982,
writes Edward Pearce. In their book Israel's Lebanon War Ze'ev Schiff and Ehud Ya'ari describe Ariel Sharon's call upon the Secretary of State in May. He wanted assent for a full-dress invasion and "his remarks were studded with with innuendos about two objectives that the Israeli Cabinet had not approved for the war, the Syrian garrison in Lebanon and the city of Beirut."
Sharon told Haig and his aides that such attacks "may be by-products of the action" and intimated an attack on Beirut itself – "we don't see any way of handling it other than going in and cleaning them out."
"How far will you go?" one of the Americans asked Sharon. "As far as we have to," he replied.
Haig's subsequent words "caught the Israeli's attention, that he [Haig] would expect any reaction to a violation of the ceasefire to be swift. And to illustrate his point, he used the metaphor of a lobotomy – a quick, clean, neutralizing operation in the event that there was no other choice... [Sharon's] face realigned into a broad smile of satisfaction."
Haig, using loose, but violent language, had authorised the war Sharon wanted. "Alexander Haig was the Secretary of State, and that was authority enough for Sharon. He returned to Israel with the tidings that Washington was not averse to an Israeli advance into Lebanon." The measure of Haig's brutal incompetence is measured in the title of a later chapter concerning another by-product of the invasion – at Sabra/Shatilla. It is called Anatomy of a Slaughter.
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Bali Nine executions in Indonesia: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford says she 'just wants to get it over with'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£26000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This busy local Joinery company...
£20000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you recently QCA Level 4 qu...
£75000 - £85000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the largest and fastes...