Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Monday, July 06, 2009

Robert McNamara is Dead

Robert McNamara is dead. McNamara, born in Oakland, CA, will be largely known (and reviled) for his role in the US war in Vietnam (he was secretary of defense for JFK and LBJ). McNamara was also on the staff for Curtis Le May during the bombing of civilian targets in Japan during World War II.


But McNamara was a complicated villain. He did good things too. When he was an executive at Ford, he pushed for making seat belts standard for safety reasons. By the time he was tapped to be Secretary of Defense for JFK, he was President of Ford and one of the highest paid executives in the world. After leaving the Johnson administration, he was the director of the World Bank, an IGO dedicated to the alleviation of world poverty, for years. Before World War II, McNamara was one of the youngest professors of economics at Harvard.

Basically, this is a man that - regardless of what you think of him - achieved three or four things any one of which would make him the most interesting person in the room to talk to in almost any room you can think of. He's also recently famous for the documentary, Fog of War. It is a long interview about the morality and rationality of war and decision making. It's really fascinating and thought provoking and I strongly encourage you all to watch it.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Only time in my life that I know of that I destroyed a library book in a total rage was reading his "autobiography."

Let us pay proper tribute to McNamara. Get the morticians to prepare the body so it can be folded.
Set it in a chair and fly it to the Hague where it can be properly be tried for war crimes. After he is found guilty bring the body back and hang it in front of the Pentagon for posterity to see.

Raised By Republicans said...

See what I mean about "reviled?"

The Law Talking Guy said...

Like so many brilliant men and women, he lacked an editor. Someone to not just enable his brilliance, but to correct it and provide it reflection. The man who discovered that vietnam was about nationalism only 20 years later needed to listen, not just talk.

Raised By Republicans said...

"The man who discovered that vietnam was about nationalism only 20 years later needed to listen, not just talk."

No kidding! I think you hit the nail on the head as far as the source of his problem. It didn't help that - with regard to Vietnam at least and possibly other nasty episodes in his life - he was part of a group-think episode where his role was to implement what everyone in the room ASSUMED was the best policy.

Anonymous said...

Re: the bullshit story about McNamara and seat belts. The second Nixon tape had Lee Iacocca agreeing that a $250,000 contribution would kill anything like a federal law requiring them dead. Ford continued to overcharge for installing seat belts as an option till the federal law did go into affect. Your story reads like a fanzine.
A delusive one at that.

Two, I cheered when I heard that this evil bastard was dead. I did 11 months plus in the Nam in 69-70. This man was as evil as Pol Pot. I would support tracking down any of his descendents in the gene pool and neutering them as a precaution that another consciousless sport come up.

PS Can't wait for Dr Kissinger to die, please,write something kind and pleasing about that fucking war criminal too.

Raised By Republicans said...

Anonymous 10:44...

I don't think McNamara was some sort of hero (indeed, I said he was reviled and a villain). Nor was it my intention to write a fan letter about a guy who participated in so much morally questionable (to put it mildly) war making. I think you should reread my initial post as well as the comment I added above. He was a deeply flawed individual.

On the other hand, I think your over the top angry rhetoric does not get us anywhere to understanding how people like McNamara get into positions of authority and how they think (or Rumsfeld who I think has a similar approach to management and policy making but who I think is an even less ambiguous villain).

Nor do I think that your spewing vitriol on the internet helps anyone really.

By the way, the Secretary of Defense from January 1969 to January 1973 was Melvin Laird not McNamara. McNamara resigned from the job in February 1968. Clark Clifford was SOD through most of 1968.

Indeed, McNamara left the Johnson administration in part because he advocated freezing US troop levels at their 1967 levels and handing over ground combat to South Vietnamese forces. So had he not resigned you might never have been sent to Vietnam.

Yes, he's an SOB. By his own admission, had he been on the losing side of any decisive wars he (and Le May) would have been tried and convicted of war crimes. But he's a complicated guy. He didn't breath evil with every exhalation. Just every other one.