Robert McNamara being interviewed today from Round 2 of the Ninth Circle, City of Dis, Hell.
So, McNamara finally died. After a long, long life that saw him as the architect of incalculable misery for millions of people, he’s dead. I won’t shed any tears.
And god DAMN, wasBob Herbert on fire regarding this issue.
The hardest lesson for people in power to accept is that wars are unrelentingly hideous enterprises, that they butcher people without mercy and therefore should be undertaken only when absolutely necessary.
Kids who are sent off to war are forced to grow up too fast. They soon learn what real toughness is, and it has nothing to do with lousy bureaucrats and armchair warriors sacrificing the lives of the young for political considerations and hollow, flag-waving, risk-free expressions of patriotic fervor.
McNamara, it turns out, had realized early on that Vietnam was a lost cause, but he kept that crucial information close to his chest, like a gambler trying to bluff his way through a bad hand, as America continued to send tens of thousands to their doom. How in God’s name did he ever look at himself in a mirror?
Lessons learned from Vietnam? None.
Fine, fine writing. It’s good to see someone calling out the powerful who hide behind soldiers and flags. It doesn’t happen nearly often enough. He also directly connects the stupidity of Vietnam to the current lunacy in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For another take, seeJoe Galloway. No, really, go read. He’s got two columns at that link, and they’re both dynamite.
See you in hell, you old bastard.