- [ 翻譯此頁 ]William Childs Westmoreland (March 26, 1914 – July 18, 2005) was a United States Army General, who commanded American military operations in the Vietnam War ...
魏摩蘭（William Childs Westmoreland）是近代美國受抨擊最多的將領，也是繼他的西點前輩卡斯特（George Armstrong Custer，一八七六年被印地安人打死）之後最被嘲諷的「敗軍之將」。做過西點校長的魏摩蘭，一九六四年至一九六八年擔任駐越美軍最高指揮官，一度統率 五十多萬部隊，兵員之多僅次二戰歐洲最高指揮官艾森豪統率過的百萬大軍。但美軍最後卻在越南吃了敗仗，師老兵疲，下旗歸國，南越終遭赤化。一九七五年四 月，西貢淪陷時，魏摩蘭雖早已解甲還鄉，但其軍旅生涯蒙上難以洗刷的污點。
魏摩蘭（二○○五年辭世，終年九十一歲）生於南卡羅萊納州，家境很好，就讀西點時表現傑出被選為學生隊 「首席隊長」並獲「潘興之劍」，只有最優秀的學生才能獲得以美國陸軍名將潘興（John J. Pershing，一次大戰美國駐歐遠征軍指揮官，五星上將，一九四八年去世）為名的寶劍。魏摩蘭出身炮科，二戰時擔任炮兵營長，支援第八十二空降師（師 長李奇威），一九四四年十月升任第九步兵師參謀長，韓戰時出任傘兵團長，一九五六年四十二歲時晉升少將，成為美軍最年輕的將領，兩年後升任第一○一空降師 師長。魏摩蘭曾到哈佛商學院進修，亦做過陸軍參謀長泰勒的秘書。
魏摩蘭做事有板有眼、為人循規蹈矩，有野心亦有目標。喜歡數字和圖表，這點癖好與越戰時代的國防部長麥納瑪拉相同，因此他們相處愉快。一九六○年，魏摩蘭出任西點校長，做了三年，大大改善西 點校務。一九六二年，甘迺迪訪問西點，魏氏發現他和總統相處的時間很短，刻意囑咐幕僚和白宮接洽將時間延長一倍，甘迺迪對魏氏印象頗佳，一度考慮提名他為 陸軍參謀長，軍方高層告訴總統：「你不能拔擢一個嫩幼的兩星少將當四星上將編制的陸軍參謀長。」一九六四年六月，魏摩蘭被派至越南擔任美軍副指揮官，不久 即接替保羅．哈金斯升任指揮官；從此，越戰即與魏摩蘭結緣，而他也成為美國持續升高越戰的象徵符號，六○年代越戰期間最常聽到的一個字眼就是：「升高 （escalate）越戰」。
魏摩蘭獲詹森總統批准，開始轟炸北越，他以為北越會在B-52重轟炸機下蛋似的大舉轟炸下伏首稱臣，北越不屈。魏氏希望與北越和越共游擊 隊進行大部隊正面交鋒，結果對手像地鼠一樣鑽進地下，使美軍找不到敵人，越戰變成一個沒有前線與後方的戰爭。魏氏採取「搜索與摧毀」戰術，但收效甚微。魏 氏被調至越南時有一萬六千美軍，到了一九六八年已激增至五十三萬五千人。
William C. Westmoreland Is Dead at 91; General Led U.S. Troops in Vietnam
Gen. William C. Westmoreland, the Army artilleryman and paratrooper who failed to lead United States forces to victory in Vietnam from 1964 to 1968 and then made himself the most prominent advocate for recognition of their sacrifices, spending the rest of his life paying tribute to his soldiers, died Monday night in a retirement home in Charleston, S.C., his son, James Ripley Westmoreland, announced.
The general was 91.
Westy, as he became known while a West Point cadet, led fast-moving artillery battalions in World War II and became a paratrooper as the Army prepared in the 1950's for the new kind of war he would face in Vietnam.
There, he presided over a vast buildup from 16,000 troops when he arrived to more than 500,000 in 1968, when a devastating Communist offensive caused President Lyndon B. Johnson to lose confidence in the strategy and replace the general.
Though he was dogged by antiwar protestors and denounced as a war criminal when, as Army chief of staff from 1968 to 1972, he tried to speak on college campuses, after passions cooled General Westmoreland led a march of Vietnam veterans to their memorial in Washington in 1982 and, tearfully, a gathering of 200,000 veterans in Chicago in June 1986.
He never understood the war as a Vietnamese nationalist struggle against French and later American domination. Ho Chi Minh and his Communist successors believed they could out-suffer and outlast those they saw as foreign invaders supporting a "puppet" South Vietnamese regime; General Westmoreland believed that hundreds of thousands of American troops could root out the Communist insurgents and enable freedom and democracy to grow in Vietnam, but that Washington lost its nerve, and lost the war.
"Had President Johnson changed our strategy and taken advantage of the enemy's weakness to enable me to carry out the operations we had prepared over the preceding two years in Laos and Cambodia and north of the demilitarized zone, along with intensified bombing and the mining of Haiphong harbor, the North Vietnamese doubtlessly would have broken," he wrote in his memoirs.
Instead, as he saw it, "The United States in the end abandoned South Vietnam."
President Richard M. Nixon did not take decisive steps to win, and after most United States troops withdrew in 1973 after a cease-fire, Communist tanks rolled into Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) in 1975. "Despite the final failure of the South Vietnamese, the record of the American military services of never having lost a war is still intact," General Westmoreland wrote.
His firm jaw, bushy eyebrows and ramrod military bearing made the six-foot-tall William Childs Westmoreland the very image of a general, though he said he learned from an early encounter with a soft-spoken major named Omar Bradley that there was more than one way to command.
In later years, he often spoke to veterans' groups, his son said, getting to all 50 states. "That became, in effect, his raison d'être," Mr. Westmoreland said in a comment quoted by The Associated Press. "He did have a point of view on Vietnam, but he did not speak about that. He was not trying to justify anything."
A Bright Early Career
General Westmoreland's rise to command in Saigon came after an early career that caught the eye of senior officers who later became influential during the Kennedy administration, notably Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor, who was commanding the 82nd Airborne Division in Sicily when they first met in 1943 and later influenced President John F. Kennedy's thinking on counterinsurgency warfare.
The general was born on March 26, 1914, near Spartanburg, S.C., where his father was a cotton-mill manager who later became an investment banker. His paternal ancestors included soldiers who had served during the Revolutionary War and with the Confederate Army, but after graduating from high school in Pacolet, he went to The Citadel, the state military college, in 1931. His father wanted him to study law after graduation, General Westmoreland wrote in his memoir, "A Soldier Reports" (Doubleday, 1976).
But instead, James F. Byrnes, an influential family friend, secured for him an appointment to West Point, which he entered in 1932. Explaining to an uncle who had been with Lee at Appomattox that he was "going to that same school that Grant and Sherman went to," he felt better after his uncle replied, "That's all right, son, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson went there, too."
He graduated with the class of 1936 and at Fort Sill, Okla.; Schofield Barracks in Hawaii; and Fort Bragg, N.C., led a leisurely life of the field artillery officer: formal dinners and dances, horse shows and polo (at a time when artillery pieces were still horse drawn).
At Fort Sill, he first met the daughter of the post executive officer, Katherine ("Kitsy") Van Deusen, 9 years old at the time. They were married in 1947 and had three children: a daughter, Katherine Stevens Westmoreland; a son, James Ripley Westmoreland II; and another daughter, Margaret Childs Westmoreland. General Westmoreland's wife and children survive him.
He went to North Africa in 1942 as a lieutenant colonel in command of the 34th Field Artillery Battalion, part of the Ninth Division, which went to Sicily and later landed in Normandy, but not in the first wave on June 6, 1944. He was the division's chief of staff when the division entered Germany and was decorated for his actions in a battle at the Rhine crossing at Remagen, but suffered no injuries. "Somehow none of the enemy's shells had my number," he wrote.
Returning to Fort Bragg after the war, he commanded a parachute infantry regiment for a year and then, under another commander influential in his later career, Maj. Gen. James M. Gavin, became chief of staff of the 82d Airborne Division, remaining there for three years.
General Westmoreland went to Korea in 1952 as commander of the 187th Regimental Combat Team and later clashed with a division commander who ordered him to withdraw one of his battalions from a hill where it was engaged with Chinese Communist forces. The general complied only under protest.
Transferred to the Pentagon in late 1953, he ran the Army's manpower office, a perch from which he observed the Eisenhower administration's struggle with a decision whether to rescue stranded French paratroopers in Vietnam at Dien Bien Phu with troops or even nuclear weapons.
The French were left to their defeat, and Vietnam was split in two in 1954, with Ho Chi Minh's Communists in charge of an independent state north of the demilitarized zone at the 17th parallel and their adversaries struggling to reorganize south of it, with American help.
"The difference in the later American commitment was that the stigma of French colonialism was removed," General Westmoreland wrote later, though the North Vietnamese Communists and their followers would not agree.
General Taylor made him secretary of the Army General Staff in 1955, and three years later, he took command of the 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, Ky., moving to West Point as superintendent in 1960. As vice president, Johnson went there in 1961 to deliver the commencement address, telling the cadets he was confident that their class would "nail the coonskins to the wall." The following year, Gen. Douglas MacArthur told them, "Your mission remains fixed, determined, inviolable - it is to win our wars."
That was General Westmoreland's mission when he was chosen by the Johnson administration a few months after President Kennedy's assassination to go to Vietnam as deputy to the United States military commander there, Gen. Paul Harkins, and replace him in June 1964 as a full four-star general.
"Replacing General Harkins with Westy," Robert S. McNamara, then secretary of defense, wrote in his book "In Retrospect" (Times Books/Random House, 1995), helped to signal President Johnson's "determination to increase the effectiveness of U.S. policy and operations in Indochina."
As head of the United States Military Assistance Command in Vietnam, General Westmoreland decided that far more American combat involvement was necessary to enable the struggling South Vietnamese military to resist the more disciplined and organized Communists.
At the beginning of 1964, there were only 16,000 American military advisers in South Vietnam. Political instability in Saigon, the general wrote in his memoirs, made escalation vital.
'A Pandora's Box'
The overthrow and killing of President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam in a coup by officers in November 1963, the general wrote, had "opened a Pandora's box of political turmoil seriously deterring effective prosecution of the war and leading directly to the necessity of introducing American troops" to fight "if South Vietnam was not to fall."
After the announcement that American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin were attacked by North Vietnamese gunboats in August 1964, the American buildup followed, with the number of ground troops climbing to 470,000 in 1967.
The general had gained approval for the buildup because American troops seemed to be winning most of their battles with the North Vietnamese and the Communist guerrillas in South Vietnam.
The idea was to use superior American force, supported by overwhelming air bombardment and artillery fire, not to seize or hold territory but to kill enemy soldiers in their jungle redoubts. American forces often went into these battles in helicopters, withdrawing the way they had come but leaving many to wonder why ground won with such difficulty could be surrendered with such ease.
Driven by requests from Mr. McNamara and the White House, "body counts" seemed to show that the strategy was working, that more Communist troops were being killed than Americans.
But American casualties rapidly mounted into the thousands, at a time when the military draft meant that not only volunteers but young men off the streets could be sent to risk their lives in the jungles.
As protests against deepening American involvement mounted, General Westmoreland warned that encouraging the enemy in this way could cost American lives.
Yet, he said in a speech in New York City in April 1967, "The end is not in sight," and he added, "In effect, we are fighting a war of attrition."
Then he flew to Washington to ask for still more reinforcements to bring United States forces up to 550,500, the "minimal essential force," or 670,000, the "optimum."
The request shocked Johnson, who asked, "Where does it all end?" Mr. McNamara asked how long it would take to win. As General Westmoreland recalled his answer, it was "With the optimum force, about three years; with the minimum force, at least five."
No decision had been made when the Communists launched an offensive during the Tet lunar new year festival on Jan. 31, 1968. They blasted into more than 100 cities and towns, occupied Hue for 25 days, and even fought their way into the grounds of the American Embassy in Saigon. Washington's optimism about progress shattered.
Clark M. Clifford, whom Johnson had put in charge of examining the troop requests and who later succeeded Mr. McNamara as secretary of defense, "had turned dove and defeatist," General Westmoreland later wrote, and the president had lost his stomach for the battle.
Johnson announced he would not run again for office in 1968, and told the general he was appointing him Army chief of staff. He should ignore press speculation that he had been "kicked upstairs," the president told him, but it was true.
The men met in the White House in the midst of riots that had started after the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and afterward flew over the embattled capital while fires were still burning. "It looked considerably more distressing than Saigon during the Tet offensive," General Westmoreland observed.
President Richard M. Nixon pursued a different strategy after he took office in 1969.
"While Washington spared the bombs and the enemy talked but said nothing and agreed to nothing except the shape of the conference table, the war went on for four more years of American involvement," General Westmoreland later wrote. "That is hardly anything to claim credit for."
When General Westmoreland was promoted to Army chief of staff, he was succeeded in the Vietnam command by Gen. Creighton W. Abrams Jr., a fellow member of the West Point class of 1936.
General Abrams departed from General Westmoreland's way of operating. He emphasized measures to strengthen the South Vietnamese military's capability to do battle, and deployed American forces around cities and in other populous areas.
Back in Washington as the Army chief, General Westmoreland oversaw efforts to adjust the Army to the post-Vietnam period.
Gen. Bruce Palmer Jr., who served with General Westmoreland in Vietnam and Washington, wrote in his book, "The 25-Year War" (The University Press of Kentucky, 1984) that the Army benefited greatly from General Westmoreland's leadership in the Pentagon, but that the general "was deeply hurt by the slights accorded him" by Nixon administration officials, "who rarely consulted him on Vietnam affairs."
When General Westmoreland was not chosen as chairman of the Joint Chiefs in mid-1972, he retired and moved to Charleston.
He made a foray into South Carolina politics in 1974, running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, but was defeated in the primary by State Senator James B. Edwards, a conservative veteran of many years of Republican politics.
After the campaign, the general told supporters: "I was an inept candidate. I'm used to a structured organization, and this civilian process is so doggone nebulous."
An Inconclusive Libel Suit
In 1982, General Westmoreland filed a $120-million suit against CBS over a documentary, "The Uncounted Enemy," which he claimed accused him of misleading Johnson and the public about the war while he was in command in Vietnam.
The suit came to trial in 1984 in Federal District Court in Manhattan. Eighteen weeks of testimony ensued, in which some senior American officers who had served under General Westmoreland in Vietnam contended that he had been influenced by political rather than purely military concerns in reports about enemy strength that were sent to Washington.
When he dropped the suit early in 1985, he said he had come to believe that the trial, involving complex legal issues, was "a no-win situation" for him.
In a statement at the time, CBS declared that it did not believe "that General Westmoreland was unpatriotic or disloyal in performing his duties as he saw them."
The general said that he interpreted that statement as a victory and that it constituted an apology for what the program had charged. But CBS called that interpretation invalid and continued to contend that its documentary was accurate.
"As the soldier prays for peace, he must be prepared to cope with the hardships of war and to bear its scars," the general wrote in his autobiography. The quotation was a paraphrase from a speech by General MacArthur.
In a striking coincidence, it was also in 1982 that the Vietnam Memorial was dedicated on the Mall in Washington, one of the first events at which thousands of Vietnam veterans felt they could openly claim a salute from the American people.
Though the crowds were smaller than organizers had hoped, General Westmoreland, characteristically, was there.