Friday, July 22, 2005

Every blow that laid him down or cut him till he cried out

I don't have anything to say myself about the passing of Gen. William Westmoreland. Truth be told, my grasp of the history of the last half of the 20th century is pretty weak, especially when it comes to the complexities of the Vietnam War. (But my rant about how history is taught in American high schools is for another time, and besides, I've been out of high school for 17 years now; there's been time to look it up my own self.)

I saw a news piece which basically said that you can question his choices and judgement, but that you have to respect his loyalty to the U.S. and his patriotism. I took it with a grain of salt (don't speak ill of the dead and all), but tend to feel that those of us who haven't served should extend that assumption to those who have, unless they prove otherwise.

Then John B. wrote about Westmoreland's opinion on freedom of the press, and I found myself very well impressed with Westmoreland. (And also wishing that I'd written what John did.) If General Westmoreland is prepared to say that the free press which savaged him is necessary to the functioning of a democracy, well, who the heck has standing for the other side?

I wonder if the honorable men running our current wars (for "so are they all, honorable men") will have the honor of this true soldier when it comes time to write their memoirs.


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