A few weeks ago we noted the passing of Admiral James Stockdale, who was a POW in Vietnam, and later Vice Presidential Candidate running-mate of Ross Perot. Stockdale, who had been in Vietnam from the start of the war, later called the Gulf of Tonkin incident a "false pretense" for war. My posting here noted the similarities of our current war based on false pretenses.
A few days ago another early leader of our efforts in Vietnam died. General William Westmoreland commanded our forces during the crucial early years of the war and was largely responsible for the escalation of it.
Each time he got more troops he'd tell President Johnson, "If we can just have a few more, we can win this thing." The lie of his leadership was shown to the public in 1968 when U.S. forces were surprised by the Tet offensive. As a child I remember hearing the saying, "Westmoreland or Peace." After Tet, he was relieved of his command in Vietnam with a promotion to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Years later, a CBS news documentary suggested that Westmoreland knew that the Viet Cong were stronger than he let on, and lied to get the President and Congress to commit more troops. Westmoreland sued CBS for libel and the case was settled out of court.
Once again, as with the Stockdale story, I'm reliving the history and noting the parallels to the situation in Iraq. Each time we're told that the insurgency is almost under control, another wave of violence erupts. Each new suicide attack being a tiny Tet, exposing the lie of the Generals.
General William Westmoreland has been laid to rest at West Point. "The season of war is gone," an academy chaplain said at the memorial service. "Now he will experience a season of peace."
I hope we can all soon experience a season of peace in this life.