Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, July 06, 2021

My avoidance of newsworthy obituary on this blog should have been underscored recently, when a bunched-together series of celebrity deaths elicited hardly a permalinked peep from me.

So read what you will into my acknowledgment here of the death of former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara today, at 93. His departure signals one more broken link with the Vietnam era, and a significant one, since he was the improbable architect of that war’s untenable escalation.

The arc of McNamara’s remarkable life, and his almost-eerily objective self-examination of the same, can’t be summed up any better than thusly:

In 1995, he took a stand against his own conduct of the war, confessing in a memoir that it was “wrong, terribly wrong.” In return, he faced a firestorm of scorn…

By then he wore the expression of a haunted man. He could be seen in the streets of Washington — stooped, his shirttail flapping in the wind — walking to and from his office a few blocks from the White House, wearing frayed running shoes and a thousand-yard stare.

With that apt battlefield imagery in place, all that’s left is to watch McNamara recount what led him to that state, in the documentary film The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara. Or the very least, read over the movie transcript, especially the closing comments.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 07/06/2021 12:01pm
Category: History, Movies, Politics
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