Unless and until we understand General William Westmoreland, we will never understand what happened to us in Vietnam, or why. An Eagle Scout at fifteen, First Captain of his West Point class [the top cadet], Westmoreland fought in World War II and Korea, rising rapidly to command the 101st Airborne Division and become Superintendent at West Point, then was chosen to lead the war effort in Vietnam.Not mentioned was that he commanded 18th Airplane Corps and that he had a graduate degree from Harvard Business School.
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That turned out to be a disaster. He failed to understand a complex war, choosing a flawed strategy, sticking to it in the face of all opposition, and misrepresenting the results when truth mattered most. In so doing he squandered four years of support by Congress, much of the media, and the American people. The tragedy of William Westmoreland provides lessons not just for Vietnam, but for America's future military and political leadership.The talk will be given by another West Point Graduate, author Lewis Sorley. You may not know Dr Lewis Sorley, but his book, A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of American's Last Years in Vietnam, was read by the likes of Thomas E. Donilon, who gave the book to Rahm Emanuel, who apparently gave the book to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden, both of whom read it.
You can catch the talk on streaming video, here, Tuesday, 29 November 2011, from 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM.
Regards — Cliff