Ex-Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara Dies at 93


Ex-Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara Dies at 93

Robert S. McNamara, perhaps the most influential defense secretary of the 20th century, who helped lead the nation into the maelstrom of Vietnam and spent the rest of his life wrestling with the war’s moral consequences, died early Monday at his home in Washington, the Associated Press reported, citing his wife, Diana. He was 93, and according to the news agency, had been in failing health for some time.

May he rest in peace.

He served his country well. Rest in Peace Secretary McNamara.

Wow. He gave his country his best during his term in office (the longest, I think, of any Secretary of Defense), and he served history well with his two books and his documentary. May he rest in peace.

What is up with these celebs and prominent figures dropping off like crazy these last two weeks?

He served for a long time. His mistakes (which he admitted) caused the deaths of tens of thousands and wrapped a doomed war into a patriotic litmus test. McNamara when he was wrong, and knew of it, did not speak out forcefully enough against the Vietnam war.

In all fairness, McNamara failed the United States of America. May he rest in peace.

(Deleted)…on second thought, I just want to say that this comment is disgraceful.

How exactly did he give his life serving the US?

If WW2 was reported in the press the same way Vietnam was reported, I’m sure we would all be calling that a “doomed war.”

To be more clear, he spent his entire life in service to the US.

I love how leftists will go to great lengths to rewrite history.

Easily said. Why?

Robert McNamara was a controversial figure. But considering he just died, maybe its not respectful to speak ill of the dead.

May God receive him with mercy.

McNamara himself called Vietnam a doomed war, which is in part why he ended up with the World Bank. I don’t think he has anything really to be ashamed of; sometimes the decision that looks best at the time is ultimately the wrong one, and I think he would agree that in the end, he could have done a better job at handling the Vietnam War (his writing career was mostly centered around that fact).

I’d have to temper Beau Oiville’s criticism by saying that he ultimately failed the United States in Vietnam. His actions in the Cuban Missile Crisis, on the other hand, are worthy of praise.

Did Robert MacNamara himself rewrite history, because I think he would also agree that Vietnam was not a winnable war the way we were fighting it in the late 1960’s? He writes a lot about what could have been done differently in his tenure, but the modern-day hawk position that we just needed to take the kid gloves off and stay the course is not one that his writings on Vietnam agree with at all.

OK, I’ll accept your qualification. I had no intent to criticize Mr. McNamara but folks here started to sing his praises and that had to be tempered with facts. I had a draft card while he was making his pretty basic mistakes and not going public with criticisms of LBJ’s policies. Folks died because of this; needlessly, too.

Meanwhile conservative Catholics (laity and some clergy) were linking support of the war with anti-communism and, impliedly, with supporting Catholicism. That just was wrong.

Way to many in this country can not look past their partisan beliefs even when one dies. I am sure that many of the same people who are attacking McNamara upon his death will be demanding a sate funeral for Bill Ayers when he dies.

Who is attacking him? McNamara admitted his mistakes.

Who would demand a state funeral for Mr. Ayers and what does this thread have to do with him?

On what do you base your opinions?

I think your post is baseless.

In 2003, McNamara wrote a book, “The Fog of War” in which he says that his original stance on the Vietnam War was wrong. He came to this conclusion, at least partly, while still serving in the Johnson administration and it was this disagreement with Johnson (who was still pro-war) that led to his leaving the Sec of Def post. Below is a link to an old review of the book, in which McNamara also says that the US fire bombing of Tokyo during WWII made us war criminals.


For a brief, nitpicking correction: In Retrospect and Argument Without End are MacNamara’s books. The Fog Of War is a documentary.

May his soul rest in peace. He had a tough life.

Actually I thought was a much more accurate account:


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