Monday, July 06, 2009

He Should Have Stuck To Making Cars

I heard someone, on television, I believe, say that he was our generations' Donald Rumsfeld.

Not quite.

Rumsfeld was far more evil and sadistic, however, equally incompetent

Robert McNamara died today, age 93, the Big Cheese of the Vietnam War, both Kennedy's, and Johnson's Secretary of Defense, the architect of our pouring troops into the needless war.

I don't have a lot to offer.

He came close to making my life hell.

I registered for the draft, nearly a year after I was mandated to, and only because my parents were aghast I hadn't, my WWII Navy veteran father driving me to the draft office.

I sweated it out for a year, before the Selective Service Draft was ended (while I researched Canada at the local library).

We had four guys from the neighborhood come home in body bags (all under the age of 22), and more-than-a-handful returned as junkies, more fucked up than when they left (which, for a few, that was truly unfathomable - and frightening)

No tears flowing on this one.

Will Bunch, over on Attytood, has a great post up;

Robert McNamara died today at age 93. As Secretary of Defense for Presidents John F. Kennedy and more notably Lyndon Johnson in the mid-1960s, it was McNamara who oversaw America's tragic military buildup in Vietnam. That made McNamara -- right up until today's news -- a vivid anti-icon to those Baby Boomers who opposed the war -- and I think you can make the case that his death is that of the most historical significance of the slew of recent "celebrity" passings, no matter how many millions of people are gathering outside the Staples Center to remember the Gloved One.


Regardless of your religious or spiritual beliefs, it's hard not to imagine there wasn't some higher purpose to McNamara's longevity. You could argue that it was a cosmic punishment, of sorts, to live so many years with the searing memories of so many who died so horrifically because of his misguided decisions from the comforts of his big desk at the Pentagon. Or you argue that he was still here in the early 2000s as a kind of a warped prophet, a flesh-and-blood monument to the folly of militarism. If that is true, then the fact that America refused to pay any attention is Robert McNamara's greatest tragedy of all.
He should have stuck to making cars ...

Bonus Links

Robert Stein: Death of the Best and Brightest

Tyler Cowen: Robert McNamara passes away

Melissa McEwan: RIP Robert McNamara

Spencer Ackerman: I Hate Myself When I Think Of You

Kevin Drum: R.I.P. Robert McNamara

Susie Madrak: R.I.P. Robert McNamara, Former Secretary of Defense and Prime Architect of the Vietnam War

Fog of War

Battlefield: Vietnam

Update Update

Check out Osha Gray Davidson's post, on Mother Jones - "Regretfully Ours, Robert S. McNamara"

Also, "Commentary: Galloway on McNamara: Reading an obit with great pleasure", by Joseph L. Galloway, McClatchy Newspapers (and a H/T to @GregMitch)

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