Robert McNamara

Sec. Robert McNamara, who bears a lot of responsibility for the American military adventure in Vietnam, passed away earlier this week.

Neal and Ted Koppel marked his death yesterday, and we'll probably talk about his legacy some more tomorrow during our regular "Political Junkie" segment.

Yesterday I listened to filmmaker Errol Morris, who directed the Academy Award-winning documentary The Fog of War, on two public radio programs, one of which was NPR's All Things Considered. Robert Siegel asked Morris to assess what McNamara thought of his role in history.

To him it was an ongoing investigation trying to figure out what had gone wrong, what he had been thinking, and moreover, how we could learn lessons from history and perhaps prevent the same things from happening all over again. Very, very sad because the same things were happening all over again at this time that I was making the movie with him.

According to Morris, McNamara told him, "on so many, many occasions his opposition to what was happening [in Iraq]." That said, he was never a public opponent of the war there.

James Fallows, of The Atlantic, has a poignant remembrance of McNamara, and a good assessment of his career, on his blog. It's well worth reading.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.