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Nov 29

Westmoreland: The General Who Lost Vietnam

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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 is a third-generation graduate of the United States Military Academy who also holds a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University. He served in Vietnam, and in the Pentagon in the offices of Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger and Army Chief of Staff General William C. Westmoreland. The author of five highly-regarded works of military history, he also taught at West Point and the Army War College.

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Lewis Sorley, Ph.D.
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James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.

Vice President for the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, and the E. W. Richardson Fellow Read More