Monday, July 6, 2009

the fog of war...

Robert McNamara dies: No escape from Vietnam

"Robert McNamara (who passed away today) waited 30 years before conceding in his 1995 memoir, In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam, that he had waged the war in error... McNamara admitted in his book that the U.S. government had never answered key questions that drove its war policy, such as whether the fall of Vietnam would lead to a communist Southeast Asia and if such an occurrence would really have posed a grave threat to the West. "It seems beyond understanding, incredible, that we did not force ourselves to confront such issues head-on," he wrote. He said he wanted to help prevent the country from making similar mistakes in the future and that he fretted that just as Washington misperceived Vietnam a generation ago, it remained in danger of making a similar mistake. "We ought to learn the history of the Muslim religion," he told TIME in 1995. "Most Americans don't know the difference between the Sunnis and the Shi'ites, but we need to know that because that's going to be a major issue in the world of the future."

McNamara continued to wage his campaign to make amends for Vietnam through the end of his life, most notably in Errol Morris' Oscar-winning 2003 documentary, The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara. And he was a vocal critic of the Bush Administration's war in Iraq..."
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