We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Monday, July 6. 2009
Robert Strange McNamara died today. The New York Times devotes thousands of words to justifying why McNamara should have been more a “dove” like today’s Times is on most issues. The
McNamara’s passing, however, in another take, does not end the Summer dreams that turned into national nightmares. Those nightmares are still being played out this Summer by President Obama and his advisors who recklessly pursue their lesson from
In the Summer of 1964, we had incumbent President Johnson purposely downplaying the challenge in Vietnam of North Vietnam’s aggressions against the South, to further his election by gulling the electorate, while Barry Goldwater – painted as bringing on Armageddon in the Daisy political ad ranked as one of the vilest ever – spoke more plainly:
Later in the campaign, “Goldwater said that the United States should do whatever it took to support U.S. troops in the war and that if the administration was not prepared to 'take the war to North Vietnam,' it should withdraw.”
Instead, we had McNamara’s incrementalism, meaning dribbling intermittent pressures onto
President Nixon drew the lesson, as he spoke to some delegates at the Summer 1968 Republican Convention:
As Wikipedia sums up, “
In 1972, Nixon ordered the blocking of
After decades of silence, McNamara held to his turning against the costs of victory in
(Also see this review in Commentary.)
It’s also owed to those who serve today, and those in countries being abandoned to the ministrations of ruthless despots. No, I’m not advocating the US bomb til the “rubble bounces.” (Although, Israel may have to, in self-preservation.) But, with Obama’s kowtowing to
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
I have long referred to Robert S. McNamara as 'America's Albert Speer,' in that he was a consummate bureaucratic weasel who managed to evade having to take responsibility for his actions.
Most of our leadership is obviously more willing to accept the glory of victory than the sting of defeat. McNamara's centralized, narrow focus would lend itself to mistakes and miscalculations. Centralized planning could be more efficient, but its mistakes are catastrophic. McNamara failed to understand that when people actually believe in something they can be invincible. My favorite professor, Gideon Sjoberg, always said that the most powerful "ism" is nationalism. If he were able, I believe that McNamara would now agree.
Yes, we agree on this one.
Hussein0's war in Afghanistan is headed for a McNamaraian defeat.
As with all wars, one must learn from history. Three Anglo/Afghan Wars (1839-1842, 1878-1880 and 1919) led to the Treaty of Rawalpindi in Aug 1919 (Aug 19 is celebrated as Independence Day in Afghanistan). That ended the early British military operations in the region. The Kabul Christian Cemetary (known as the British Cemetery) holds, amongst others, one Lt. Cecil Henry Garsford who died on Dec 14, 1879 and is interred there.
Then came the Soviet involvement (1979-1992) with their troops eventually being withdrawn (defeated) in Feb 1989.
Then the US and Coalition Allies invaded in early 2000. And the continuing quagmire graces our nightly news. I can only hope there is a reason because I don't think this is a winable conflict. As Thalpy (#1.1) stated..."...when people actually believe in something they can be invincible".
The reason, amongst others, is OIL and ONOCAL's Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline route from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean. One might find some of the reasoning by investigating this area of this Geo-Political conflict.
I don't have all the answers...only lots of questions. We should all be very concerned with the latest escalation. The history is there, should one wish to avail themselves.
Another reason is the drug addict, Hussein0, as manifested in the US Marine move into the opium fields, wants what he considers is his smack.
He's trying hard to keep Hamid in his puppet position.
Get the US the hell out Afghanistan, America.
Our society seems able to learn that principles without skill are a recipe for misery, only to lurch over to the view that skill without principles will save us. So we get academic hacks and bureaucrats instead of leaders with skillful executors.
Snake Hunters Sez,
On the dust-cover of Robert McNamara's "In Retrospect" is this humble quote: "We were wrong, terribly wrong." reb
I find it interesting that the Kennedy clan (who brought Mcnamara to the dance) stands separate from history. McNamara executed the orders of the President and guess whose bright idea it was to engage in Vietnam? And, supposedly, it was done because JFK was so weak, and the Russian's had his number, he decided on this experiment with power.....who does this remind us of now?