Monday, July 6, 2009

Robert McNamara

It would be hard to find a man who lived a life more interesting, let alone one with a greater impact on the world at large than Robert McNamara. Regardless of how you see McNamara, as the efficiency expert who brought Ford back to the top, the war-criminal who firebombed Tokyo, the hero who single handedly saved the world from nuclear annihilation, the man who put 58195 names on the wall in Washington, or the haunted old man who years later shouted from every rooftop he had been wrong, "terribly wrong" about "his" war.

McNamara had beliefs, and right or wrong, he's the quintessential example of a man not motivated by any type of personal gain, rather, the confidence of his own convictions. He believed his path was right, and that following that path was the best way to bring about best results.

And even though his admissions of errors and his guilt-ridden end of days do little to bring back the kids who died in the jungle half a world away, it still means something. Would Rumsfeld stand up at the end of his life and say, "I was wrong?" Never. Forget Rumseld, how many people have stood up and said, "my life was wrong, what I am going to be remembered for was a mistake. And don't pity me, I sent thousands of boys to their death because I was wrong." McNamara made mistakes, but I hope we can all look up and try and mirror his ability to be honest with the world, and himself.

“War is so complex it’s beyond the ability of the human mind to comprehend our judgment, our understanding, are not adequate. And we kill people unnecessarily.”

obit here


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