Robert McNamara, Ex-Pentagon Chief, Dies

TallBill

Lifer
Apr 29, 2001
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http://www.cbsnews.com/stories...shtml?tag=breakingnews

Robert S. McNamara, the cerebral secretary of defense who was vilified for prosecuting America's most controversial war and then devoted himself to helping the world's poorest nations, died Monday. He was 93.

McNamara died at 5:30 a.m. at his home, his wife Diana told The Associated Press. She said he had been in failing health for some time.

For all his healing efforts, McNamara was fundamentally associated with the Vietnam War, "McNamara's war," the country's most disastrous foreign venture, the only American war to end in abject withdrawal rather than victory.

Known as a policymaker with a fixation for statistical analysis, McNamara was recruited to run the Pentagon by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 from the presidency of the Ford Motor Co. He stayed seven years, longer than anyone since the job's creation in 1947.

His association with Vietnam became intensely personal. Even his son, as a Stanford University student, protested against the war while his father was running it. At Harvard, McNamara once had to flee a student mob through underground utility tunnels. Critics mocked McNamara mercilessly; they made much of the fact that his middle name was "Strange."

After leaving the Pentagon on the verge of a nervous breakdown, McNamara became president of the World Bank and devoted evangelical energies to the belief that improving life in rural communities in developing countries was a more promising path to peace than the buildup of arms and armies.

A private person, McNamara for many years declined to write his memoirs, to lay out his view of the war and his side in his quarrels with his generals. In the early 1990s he began to open up. He told Time magazine in 1991 that he did not think the bombing of North Vietnam - the greatest bombing campaign in history up to that time - would work but he went along with it "because we had to try to prove it would not work, number one, and (because) other people thought it would work."

Finally, in 1993, after the Cold War ended, he undertook to write his memoirs because some of the lessons of Vietnam were applicable to the post-Cold War period "odd as though it may seem."

Like him or not, he played a fairly critical role in policy making for the US during some interesting times.
 
Feb 24, 2001
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I imagine there are a lot of soldiers waiting for him on the other side. Yet something tells me he isn't going to the same place...
 

Miramonti

Lifer
Aug 26, 2000
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Originally posted by: BrunoPuntzJones
I imagine there are a lot of soldiers waiting for him on the other side. Yet something tells me he isn't going to the same place...

:thumbsup:
 

BeauJangles

Lifer
Aug 26, 2001
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I hope he finally has found some peace. He was a tormented man for the last twenty years of his life.
 

daniel1113

Diamond Member
Jun 6, 2003
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Originally posted by: BeauJangles
I hope he finally has found some peace. He was a tormented man for the last twenty years of his life.

And he deserved every second of it.
 

rudder

Lifer
Nov 9, 2000
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"External military force cannot reconstruct a failed state, and Vietnam, during much of that period, was a failed state politically"

At least he admitted his mistake.
 

ModerateRepZero

Golden Member
Jan 12, 2006
1,573
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He played a major role in the Vietnam War for better or worse (I highly recommend David Halberstam's "The Best and the Brightest" for those unfamiliar with the early years of the Vietnam War and decision-making during that period), but regardless of what I may think of him, RIP
 

Phokus

Lifer
Nov 20, 1999
22,995
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Originally posted by: tenshodo13
Originally posted by: jman19
Originally posted by: JulesMaximus
The Fog of War

Watch this video. It is a very interesting documentary about his experiences in government.

Came in here to post the same thing. Definitely worth a watch.

Amazing documentary.

Great documentary, he had a LOT of regret about how America conducted itself in WW2 and Vietnam
 

Jadow

Diamond Member
Feb 12, 2003
5,962
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as an aside I wonder what the world would look like if Patton had been allowed to team up with the Germans and finish the Soviet Union off from the east while MacArthur smashed the Chinese from the West.

Society would probably be 40 years more advanced than it is now. Of course I wouldn't have been born, so I'm glad they didn't!
 

halik

Lifer
Oct 10, 2000
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Originally posted by: Phokus
Originally posted by: tenshodo13
Originally posted by: jman19
Originally posted by: JulesMaximus
The Fog of War

Watch this video. It is a very interesting documentary about his experiences in government.

Came in here to post the same thing. Definitely worth a watch.

Amazing documentary.

Great documentary, he had a LOT of regret about how America conducted itself in WW2 and Vietnam

watching it right now, great documentary
 

BoomerD

No Lifer
Feb 26, 2006
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As a Marine who went to Vietnam during the Nixon years, I felt terribly betrayed when in the 90's, McNamara came out and said the war had been a mistake...a mistake that cost over 65,000 US lives many thousands more of our allies, and several hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese lives and the lives of their allies.

I suppose I'm glad he finally came to understand the mistake...but I can only wish that understanding had come some 30 years earlier...

I have mixed emotions about his passing...One part of me hopes he Rests in Peace...the other part of me hopes he burns in whatever hell there may be...but IMO, it'd be rather sweet justice if he ended up "on the other side" surrounded by Marines who died in Vietnam...(and I'm sure there are plenty whichever "afterlife" he gets...) :D
 

FlashG

Platinum Member
Dec 23, 1999
2,712
2
0
Originally posted by: tenshodo13
Originally posted by: jman19
Originally posted by: JulesMaximus
The Fog of War

Watch this video. It is a very interesting documentary about his experiences in government.

Came in here to post the same thing. Definitely worth a watch.

Amazing documentary.

I remember this documentary and its haunting message of a man that I once respected and feared. I once wrote a summation about him and his life during my college years.

A lot of my friends were killed in Vietnam and I wanted to know more about the men that caused their demise. In the end I came away in awe and pity of this man.

I wish that we still had a free press that had balls enough to present this kind of story about our contemporary leaders of today. Sadly we don't and I'm again afraid that we are committing these same errors. This is like a mobius strip constantly covering the same ground with little understanding.

 

dr150

Diamond Member
Sep 18, 2003
6,571
24
81
Originally posted by: BoomerD
As a Marine who went to Vietnam during the Nixon years, I felt terribly betrayed when in the 90's, McNamara came out and said the war had been a mistake...a mistake that cost over 65,000 US lives many thousands more of our allies, and several hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese lives and the lives of their allies.

I suppose I'm glad he finally came to understand the mistake...but I can only wish that understanding had come some 30 years earlier...

I have mixed emotions about his passing...One part of me hopes he Rests in Peace...the other part of me hopes he burns in whatever hell there may be...but IMO, it'd be rather sweet justice if he ended up "on the other side" surrounded by Marines who died in Vietnam...(and I'm sure there are plenty whichever "afterlife" he gets...) :D


Hindsight is always 20/20 my friend.

I'm sure if he thought that way as events were developing, he would have reacted accordingly (i.e. against further action).