I selected General William Westmoreland and the controversy over body counts in the Vietnam War. General William Westmoreland was a widely popular figure in the military and in public opinion until the Vietnam war. He rose through the ranks fighting in World War two and the Korean War. In 1965 he was named Time Magazines "Man of the Year" for his role in the military. While he overseen the war in Vietnam he used a strategy called attrition which is stated as success in war is based on how many enemy troops were killed. He would run seek and destroy missions which means killing as many enemy troops as you can as fast as you can so they do not have time to replace them. He wanted to wear down enemy troops to the point of collapse through continuous losses in personnel and material. The public view on him was shattered after the Tet Offensive when he was running the seek and destroy missions and was taking heavy casualties of American troops. After the Tet Offensive in 1968 General Westmoreland was called back to the states because his support in the public was gone and he had also requested another 206,000 soldiers for the war. They decided to hold off on that request and send him back to the states. The public had grown weary of the body count tactic and they started protesting him on college campuses all across the United States. Until the day he died he said that America won the war against Vietnam and that his strategy to beat the Vietcong was the best way to win. This subject is very important because of how the public view the Vietnam war and the outcome. It brings to light a lot of what was going on in Vietnam and what could of been done differently to stop the heavy causalities the Americans were taking during the war.
The link I chose to use is http://www.biography.com/people/william-westmoreland-9528510#vietnam
This website had a lot of good information on the topic and helped me get a better understanding of what was going on.
|General Westmoreland early in the Vietnam war when he still had public support|