• Short Summary

    General William C. Westmoreland, the United States' commander in Viet Nam, addressed a joint session?

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    Westmoreland speech excerpts

    Background: General William C. Westmoreland, the United States' commander in Viet Nam, addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Friday (April 28). The general defended the conduct of the war and urged his listeners to support the forces fighting in Viet Nam.

    The general began by characterizing the conflict as external aggression support and directed by North Vict Nam. He described the U.S. effort as a shield. He said the U.S. was militarily superior and praised the nation-building efforts undertaken by the United States and South Vietnam. He said, however, that the North Vietnamese appeared to believe that the American "Achilles hell" was the anti-Vietnam war sentiment within the United States.

    Below is the text of the General's remarks as shown in our film. He had been describing the U.S. success in attacking and destroying "enemy main force units" in the field:
    "But success against his main forces alone is not enough to insure a swift and decisive end to the conflict. This enemy also uses terror, murder, mutilation, abduction and the deliberate shelling of innocent men, women and children--to exercise control through fear.

    "One hears little of his brutality here at home. What we do hear about is our own aerial bombing against North Vietnam, and I would like to address this for a moment. For years the enemy has been blowing bridges, interrupting traffic, cutting roads, sabotaging power stations, blocking canals and attacking airfields in the South, and he continues to do so. This is a daily attempt. Bombing in the North has been centred on precisely these same kinds of targets and for the same military purposes -- to reduce the supply, interdict the movement and impair the effectiveness of enemy military forces.

    "As I have said before, in evaluating the enemy strategy it is evident to me that he believes our Achilles heel is our resolve. Your continued strong support is vital to the success of our mission."

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    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
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    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Black & White
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