Cap

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Caspar Weinberger, who died earlier this morning, was among the greatest Secretaries of Defense in our country's history.  It was 'Cap' who single—handedly managed the Reagan—era military buildup that brought the Soviet Union to its knees.

When President Reagan took office in 1981, his objective was different from that of any of his predecessors.  They wanted merely to not lose the Cold War.  Reagan wanted to win it.  The question was: How?  When the President had his hands on intelligence that confirmed his gut feel that the Soviet economy wasn't growing — the CIA had previously thought the Soviet economy was growing at a 3 percent annual rate — but in fact was starting to implode, the President had his answer.  He would order a massive build—up of U.S. military forces that the cash—starved Kremlin simply couldn't match.  Their choice would be bankruptcy — or, in effect, surrender.

It was Cap Weinberger's job to make that build—up happen, and that is precisely what he did.  Somehow, he got the House and Senate — both controlled by Democrats — to vote for massive increases in the defense budget.  Before long new ships, fighter jets, bombers, tanks and missiles were rolling off assembly lines and being deployed around the world.  The boys in the Kremlin noticed — and knew there was nothing they could do to stop it or, more importantly, match it.  It was over.

Cap was also one of the finest, most decent gentlemen ever to work in Washington.  He never yelled or shouted — he spoke so quietly you had to lean forward in your chair to hear him — and despite a work—pace that would have killed most men decades younger than himself, Cap always seemed to have a moment to chat with younger members of the Administration and to offer a friendly word of advice.  And if you ever needed a personal favor — as I once did — you could count on Cap.

Simply put, Cap Weinberger is among the half—dozen or so individuals most responsible for ending the Cold War quietly, safely — and with total victory for the Free World.

Indeed, he was more than merely a great Secretary of Defense.  He was a great American.

Herb Meyer   3 28 06

Caspar Weinberger, who died earlier this morning, was among the greatest Secretaries of Defense in our country's history.  It was 'Cap' who single—handedly managed the Reagan—era military buildup that brought the Soviet Union to its knees.

When President Reagan took office in 1981, his objective was different from that of any of his predecessors.  They wanted merely to not lose the Cold War.  Reagan wanted to win it.  The question was: How?  When the President had his hands on intelligence that confirmed his gut feel that the Soviet economy wasn't growing — the CIA had previously thought the Soviet economy was growing at a 3 percent annual rate — but in fact was starting to implode, the President had his answer.  He would order a massive build—up of U.S. military forces that the cash—starved Kremlin simply couldn't match.  Their choice would be bankruptcy — or, in effect, surrender.

It was Cap Weinberger's job to make that build—up happen, and that is precisely what he did.  Somehow, he got the House and Senate — both controlled by Democrats — to vote for massive increases in the defense budget.  Before long new ships, fighter jets, bombers, tanks and missiles were rolling off assembly lines and being deployed around the world.  The boys in the Kremlin noticed — and knew there was nothing they could do to stop it or, more importantly, match it.  It was over.

Cap was also one of the finest, most decent gentlemen ever to work in Washington.  He never yelled or shouted — he spoke so quietly you had to lean forward in your chair to hear him — and despite a work—pace that would have killed most men decades younger than himself, Cap always seemed to have a moment to chat with younger members of the Administration and to offer a friendly word of advice.  And if you ever needed a personal favor — as I once did — you could count on Cap.

Simply put, Cap Weinberger is among the half—dozen or so individuals most responsible for ending the Cold War quietly, safely — and with total victory for the Free World.

Indeed, he was more than merely a great Secretary of Defense.  He was a great American.

Herb Meyer   3 28 06