Westmoreland: The General Who Lost Vietnam

Westmoreland: The General Who Lost Vietnam

Is this man the real reason the Vietnam War was lost? How did he get there, why did he fail, and how did he last so long?

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, 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.

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. Lewis Sorley’s definitive portrait is essential reading.

2 Comments

2 Comments so far ↓

  • Rob_654

    The book presupposes that there was anything worth winning in Vietnam in the first place – which there was not.

    The lesson of Vietnam is stay out things that are not our business and not start a fight in country that fought the Chinese for about a 1000 years without giving up.

  • Chuck Vekert

    I had no idea about how we could have fought a winning war in Vietnam until I read “Fiasco” about the early years of the Iraq fiasco. If we had followed proper counter-insurgency doctrine in Vietnam at least there would have been a chance for a good result. Whether Westmoreland can be blamed for not knowing that in 1964 is another question.

    The record seems clear that JFK intended to get out of Vietnam after the 1964 elections. His great error was to treat LBJ as a country bumpkin. If the Vice President had been treated with respect and kept in the loop of presidential decisions, history might be very different.

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