I took the weekend off and not for want of doing it, but because I simply had nothing to say. Those of you who know me, know how shocking that is, but you also know that such speechlessness cannot last. I’m back baby, and oh boy do I want to talk.
It turns out that General William Westmoreland died over the weekend. Really briefly, General Westmoreland was the commander of
Those who praise him say that he did the best that could be done under the constraints laid out by President Johnson and, in fact, was an innovator the way wars were fought. They refer of course to the birth of helicopter warfare. Air mobilization combat had never been attempted before but I think it is too generous to credit ol’ Westy with that innovation. The general defended his failure in Vietnam by saying that LBJ had denied his request to widen the conflict to Cambodia, Laos and North Vietnam so the military could adequately do battle with the very mobile Viet Cong forces.
I think it is Westy’s critics who hit closer to the bulls eye. The general is criticized for implementing an obsolete strategy trying to simply levee so much massive brute strength against his enemies that, he believed, they would simply cave under the threat. He was, as history proves, colossally wrong. There is a great quote from military historian and former Army major, Andrew F. Krepinevich, in today’s New York Times obituary. Krepinevich believes that Westy suffered from self-delusion stating; "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."
This of course brings us to the point of today’s blog piece. Does this sound vaguely familiar to anyone? Perhaps the generals in command at the Pentagon today are suffering from the same delusions as ol’ Westy and his obsolete cronies. Many try to say that
Clearly the generals creating strategy for
Unfortunately Al Qaeda (not