The last one kills.
Grim sentiment, and I only have the vaguest notion why it was the first thing that popped into my head when I heard William Westmoreland had died.
It probably has something to do with the fact that Westmoreland spent a lot of time and energy -- presumably up until the last hour -- over the last 30 years refighting the Vietnam War. Insisting that it had been, in some way, “winnable”. During his prosecution of the war, he was relentlessly and insanely optimistic (translation: “a liar”) about how well the war was going and how it could be won. We were always just on the verge of turning the corner in Vietnam.
He completely misread the insurgency.
He wildly overstated gains and underplayed losses.
He was adamant until the very end that if only he’d been allowed to expand the war into the surrounding countries (and when that failed, presumably other planets) Final Victory would have been ours.
All without ever stating in clear, measurable "No Child Left Behind"-like metrics, exactly what in the hell "victory" was ever supposed to look like
He was , in other words, the very Model of a Modern Rumsfeld General: Westmoreland was a Neocon, before being a Neocon was cool.
This from the NYT:
July 19, 2005
Top Vietnam General William Westmoreland Dies at 91
By ERIC PACE
Gen. William C. Westmoreland, who commanded the United States forces in Vietnam from 1964 to 1968, overseeing the vast troop buildup and the height of the fighting, died last night in a retirement home in Charleston, S.C., his son, James Ripley Westmoreland, announced. The general was 91.
Over the years, he was widely criticized, inside and outside the armed forces, for his prime role in the conduct of the Vietnam War. One of his deputies in Vietnam, Gen. Bruce Palmer Jr., who rose to be vice chief of staff of the Army, later called the war "the first clear failure" in American military history.
But in his memoirs, General Westmoreland blamed the outcome on the South Vietnamese Army and on President Johnson's refusal to broaden the war into Laos, Cambodia and North Vietnam. The general contended that in Vietnam the American forces' record of "achievements was remarkable: the mammoth logistical buildup, various tactical expedients and innovations, the advisory effort, civic action programs."
A military historian and former Army major, Andrew F. Krepinevich, argued that the general had suffered from self-delusion in Vietnam. In a 1986 book, "The Army and Vietnam" (Johns Hopkins), the major said, "In focusing on the attrition of enemy forces rather than on defeating the enemy through denial of his access to the population," General Westmoreland's command "missed whatever opportunity it had to deal the insurgents a crippling blow."
In an interview in 1991, he said that in the Vietnam war, "because President Johnson was afraid of bringing in China and starting a world war, we weren't allowed to enlarge the battlefield." That left the North Vietnamese with sanctuaries, in North Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, from which they could send troops and supplies into South Vietnam.
The general also defended his record in his memoirs as well as in the libel suit, for $120 million, over the CBS documentary, which he said was inaccurate and defamatory.
The program, "The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception," said, as Mr. McNamara put it in his book, "that Westy ordered his intelligence officers knowingly to underestimate enemy strength in order to bolster his claims of military progress." But Mr. McNamara contended in the book, "The CBS network mistakenly portrayed Westy as having lied to the president and me."
General Westmoreland married Katherine Van Deusen, a career Army officer's daughter, in 1947, when he was a colonel, and she survives him, together with their son and two daughters, Katherine Stevens Westmoreland and Margaret Childs Westmoreland.
First, as Iraq spirals towards its bloody endgame, the Administration will begin trance-channeling Westmoreland more and more frantically, and it will fall to us to hit ‘em ever harder with the evidence of their lies, their incompetence and their failure. In thirty years, we’ll still have Bushites and Yellow Elephant Keyboard Vets For Truth doddering around the country grabbing microphones and blaming their own sins, crimes, hubris, impotence and massive, lethal moral malfunction on everybody but themselves.
These people are congenital liars; they have never show any inclination towards conscience and we can’t expect them to suddenly sprout one just because they are tits-deep in the overwhelming evidence of their utter, complete and bloody wrongness about every, single thing. In the next year or two, they will be looking to bail out of the burning plane of their own failed foreign policy by deflecting blame and morphing 100% into Westmoreland mode, and we cannot allow that; we must never allow Revisionist Lies to go unchallenged.
Second, with the passing of Westmoreland at this exact moment, God has apparently given up on subtly altogether and is now just standing on our chest with the spiked heels on, screaming, “Wake the fuck up!”
Irony kills, kids. So does déjà vu. So when your Neocon friends offer you some, just say “No” to lying American Hegemonists, because no good can come of it.
Third, had a slightly better pic, but “Hello” flaked out on me. Maybe later