Retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Gulf War Commander, Dies at 78

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"If it had been our intention to take Iraq, if it had been our intention to destroy the country, if it had been our intention to overrun the country, we could have done it unopposed," he said at a military briefing in 1991.

In a 1991 "20/20" interview, he told ABC News' Barbara Walters that if he ever met Hussein, he would have told him, "Get outta town."

During the operation to force that result, he spoke French and German to coalition partners, showed awareness of Arab sensitivities and served as Powell's operative man on the ground.

Powell today recalled Schwarzkopf as "a great patriot and a great soldier," who "served his country with courage and distinction for over 35 years."

"He was a good friend of mine, a close buddy," Powell added. "I will miss him."

Schwarzkopf retired from the Army after Desert Storm in 1991, writing an autobiography, becoming an advocate for prostate cancer awareness, serving on the boards of various charities and lecturing.

"I may have made my reputation as a general in the Army and I'm very proud of that," he once told the AP. "But I've always felt that I was more than one-dimensional. I'd like to think I'm a caring human being. ... It's nice to feel that you have a purpose."

Schwarzkopf spent his retirement in Tampa, home base for his last military assignment as commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command.

He and his wife, Brenda, had three children.

ABC News' Dana Hughes, Gina Sunseri and Polson Kanneth contributed to this report.

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