Sunday, September 12, 2004

The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara

I would have rather been outside yesterday enjoying the beautiful weather instead of being homebound nusing a sore foot. So, it was just as well that I watched this documentary.

Most notable is the characterization of Curtis LeMay by McNamara. Some might remember him as the vice president running mate to George Wallace in 1968. When he commanded the Strategic Air Command after World War II, he was quoted:
"if the U.S. is pushed in the corner far enough we would not hesitate to strike first." ... when pointed out to LeMay that preemptive attack was not official national policy. LeMay replied, "I don't care. It's my policy. That's what i'm going to do."

-- The Button: The Pentagon's Strategic Command and Control System, Daniel Ford, pg106
Chilling isn't it? Anyway, here are McNamara's eleven lessons:
1. Empathize with your enemy.
2. Rationality will not save us.
3. There's something beyond one's self.
4. Maximize efficiency.
5. Proportionality should be a guideline in war.
6. Get the data.
7. Belief and seeing are both often wrong
8. Be prepared to examine your reasoning.
9. In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil.
10. Never say never.
11. You can't change human nature.
BTW, this film won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

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