I used to see him in the Army and Navy Club in Washington, the one on Farragut Square. He lunched there until he was well into his eighties. I was always surprised at the emotion that the sight of him brought to me. Overwhelming sadness, grief, a desire to avert my eyes from someone who was complicit in so much heartless cruel foolishness, these feelings always welled up.
I understand that he felt remorse, remorse for the Japanese cities that he helped Lemay destroy with the firestorms the B-29s were so good at creating. The Japanese were despicable in much of their conduct in that war, but no population deserves what they got.
And then there was our war. You know who you are. This mathmatical prodigy had it all figured out. He and his systems analysis and operations research "children" worked it all out on blackboards and primitive mainframe computers. If there were enough "inputs," then by a date certain, the "output" would be North Vietnamese surrender. I have been told many times that the date certain produced as prediction by these methods arrived sometime in 1967 or 1968. I forget which. I was told that before I left for Vietnam the first time. The problem in his reasoning was that those little NVA buggers in green fatigues and fiber helmets were not calculating the costs and the benefits. They gave it all, all they had, as many of us did.
And for what? For what? I hope God forgives Macnamara. pl
Patton: Men, all this stuff you've heard about America not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of horse dung. Americans traditionally love to fight. All real Americans love the sting of battle. When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, big league ball players, the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost, and will never lose a war... because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans.
Don't expensively lose a war and expect to be well remembered by Yanks, they play for keeps.
McNamara was a great deal smarter than Rummie if similarly tactless. In the end he had a boss even worse than Bush, not LBJ but that similarly feckless blue blooded, East Cost aristocrat JFK. Liberal US historians endlessly try to wiggle out of this but sainted JFK really must bear responsibility for the course his administration set, from the Bay Of Pigs, to the Cuban missile crisis, onto laying the grounds for escalation in Vietnam.
JFK assembled the best and brightest in his "Camelot", inspired them to supreme self confidence and they went on to demonstrate what fools they were.
The arrogant and wonkish McNamara was a spectacularly bad choice for Sec Def and thought himself rightly more suited to the world of commerce.
Bob at least while continuing to lie through his teeth had the grace to acknowledge his choices in retrospect were flawed and troubling morally.
Robert McNamara: In the end, it was luck. We were *this* close to nuclear war, and luck prevented it.
Robert McNamara: I think the human race needs to think about killing. How much evil must we do in order to do good.
Robert McNamara: Lesson #2: The indefinite combination of human fallibility and nuclear weapons will lead to the destruction of nations.
Robert McNamara: [about Castro] I said, "I must have got the translation wrong." So I asked him 3 questions. One- did you know there were nuclear warheads in Cuba? Two- would you have recommended to Khrushchev to use nuclear missiles in the event of an American invasion of Cuba? And three- what would have happened to Cuba? He said, "One- I knew the missiles were there. Two- I would not *have* recommended it, I *did* recommend it! And three- we would have been totally obliterated".
Just as one example of his meddling, look at the M16.
The Army, & Eugene Stoner both reccomended the chamber and bore be chrome lined. In fact All US issue small arms and replacement barrels since 1945 were chrome lined. Macnamara refused to listen to the experts and refused the request as unneccessary expense.