National Review / Digital
Disaster in the Making
Westmoreland: The General Who Lost Vietnam, by Lewis Sorley (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 416 pp., $30)


This lack of interest in the substance of his own profession is astounding. Sorley writes that “briefers were dismayed to find that Westmoreland would occupy himself during one-on-one deskside briefings by signing photographs of himself, one after another, while they made their presentations. Sometimes he would fall asleep while being briefed, leaving the panicked staff officer trying to decide whether to continue as though nothing had happened or wait until the general awoke before continuing.”

In addition, he lacked interest in any ideas that conflicted with his own. For instance, while in Vietnam, he dismissed the Program for the Pacification and Long-Term Development of Vietnam — a study sponsored by General Harold Johnson that concluded that Westmoreland’s way of war was not working and could not work. He surrounded himself with like-minded people with backgrounds similar to his own, especially airborne. Thus there was little internal debate that might have led to a better operational approach.

February 20, 2012    |     Volume LXIV, No. 3

  • What the protesters don’t know.
  • A visit with the governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez, after her first year in office.
  • Ron Paul’s ignorant cry.
  • The president’s acolytes decide he is a different sort of messiah.
Books, Arts & Manners
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .