'I watched on the news as General Westmoreland, another hawk that none of us could stand, was asking for two hundred and six thousand more troops to go to Nam. This was a blow to the movement, of course, and it fueled my anger so that I was a furious mouth piece.'
Here is a small piece about the consequences in this last request for troops. Taken from http://www.vietnampix.com/popww.htm
General Westmoreland took command in Vietnam in June 1964 replacing Gen. Paul Harkins. He was instrumental in raising the level of US forces deployed in Vietnam and in developing the strategies implemented in the region. Westmoreland continuously requested for an increase in manpower in Vietnam and President Johnson, who had his own troubles at home, refused to send more troops and finally recalled Westmoreland after he successfully stopped the North Vietnamese Tet Offensive in 1968. He was replaced by General Creighton W. Abrams
But the story did not end there:
Upon his return to the US, Westmoreland was appointed as Chief of Staff of the US Army. His biggest challenge was to withdraw the troops from Vietnam and ready them for duty in other regions of the world. He was successful in restructuring the Army at a difficult time, but his tactics in Vietnam had become unpopular with some groups in the US. He maintained for many years that the policy in Vietnam had been the right one. General Westmoreland retired in 1972.
When Westmoreland was dismissed from his position on March 22nd, 1968, Liz was hopeful. She saw light at the end of the tunnel, a chance for the war to finally come to an end. She had not yet become as jaded with peace talks and new guys as she would be in the years to come where she learned never to put her faith in anyone related to the government. She still thought it was possible that a Dove or someone that saw the war as an unnecessary waste of American lives might do something to make it all end:
'March twenty second became another victory for the doves. General Westmoreland, the son of a bitch who had generated so many lies to keep up morale for the war, the bastard who kept asking for more men so that it seemed like there would soon be none left to give, was relived of his duties. It was speculated that this came as a result of the Tet Offensive and the mess that it was perceived to be, though this was never really said outright. I think that the fact that he asked for more troops so soon after the Tet Offensive ended did nothing to help him. Within days he was replaced by a man named General Creighton Abrams who reversed Westmoreland’s strategy. He ended major search and destroy missions and focused more on protecting the people. What more could we have asked for? The light at the end of that tunnel seemed to be growing brighter and brighter.'
Westmoreland is vilified by Liz, yes. Why? Probably for the same reason why a character who dislikes hippies would likely vilify John Lennon or Abbie Hoffman: He was one of the most public faces of the war from 1964-1968 which was the time when the number of troops sent over to 'Nam hit its highest points. He was an easy person to blame for what people in the anti-war movement saw as a waste of life. He stood for everything they hated. And so most of them did...very much. And Liz, being Liz, was certainly no exception.
A detailed biography on General William Westmoreland taken from http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/1900s/p/westmoreland.htm: