July 18, 2005
Vietnam-Era Commander Westmoreland Dies (BRUCE SMITH, July 18, 2005, The Associated Press)
The silver-haired, jut-jawed officer, who rose through the ranks quickly in Europe during World War II and later became superintendent of West Point, contended the United States did not lose the conflict in Southeast Asia.
"It's more accurate to say our country did not fulfill its commitment to South Vietnam," he said. "By virtue of Vietnam, the U.S. held the line for 10 years and stopped the dominoes from falling."
He would later say he did not know how history would deal with him.
"Few people have a field command as long as I did," he said. "They put me over there and they forgot about me. But I was there seven days a week, working 14 to 16 hours a day.
"I have no apologies, no regrets. I gave my very best efforts," he added. "I've been hung in effigy. I've been spat upon. You just have to let those things bounce off."
Later, after many of the wounds caused by the divisive conflict began to heal, Westmoreland led thousands of his comrades in the November, 1982, veterans march in Washington to dedicate the Vietnam War Memorial.
He called it "one of the most emotional and proudest experiences of my life."
The key to civilian leadership of the nmilitary is to cycle through the generals until you get to one who grasps the war you're actually fighting, instead of past ones. In Vietnam, that happened not to be General Westmoreland.
GEN. WILLIAM C. WESTMORELAND | 1914-2005: A Commander Caught in the Mire of Vietnam (Eric Malnic, July 19, 2005, LA Times)
-General Westmoreland Dies at 91; Led U.S. in Vietnam (ERIC PACE, July 19, 2005, NY Times)