Former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara has died.

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MKopack

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Unread post06 Jul 2009, 15:36

He was before my time, but he had to be one of the most controversial Defense Secretaries in history - to put it lightly.

Mike

Former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara Dies
McNamara, 93, reportedly died in his sleep at his home.


FOXNews.com - http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/07/06/report-defense-secretary-robert-mcnamara-dies/

Monday, July 06, 2009

Former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara has died.

McNamara, 93, died at home in his sleep Monday morning, his wife Diana told The Associated Press. She said he had been in failing health for some time.

Known as a policymaker with a fixation for statistical analysis, McNamara was president of the Ford Motor Co. when President John F. Kennedy asked him to head the Pentagon in 1961.

McNamara worked for seven years as the defense secretary in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, longer than any other person in that post. He headed the war department during the build-up of forces in Vietnam.

He is considered the architect of the concept of "mutual assured destruction," a key feature of the nuclear arms race during the Cold War.
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TC

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Unread post06 Jul 2009, 22:25

So McNamara died...Might I suggest a little "mood music"?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLG2jaVdUMo
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JoeSambor

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Unread post07 Jul 2009, 03:10

For those of you who have not read his book (In Retrospect) I highly recommend it. McNamara courageously (in my view) admitted to the mistakes of Vietnam and his own failings. The most astonishing thing about this book is the overall view of JFK's cabinet (the Best and Brightest) that they were so smart that they could not possibly be wrong about anything. Tragic when you think about it...

McNamara also talks about a scary incident in his personal life: the FBI or some other government agency raided the headquarters of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA, the folks who kidnapped Patty Hearst) and found detailed floorplans of the house in Vail, Colorado where McNamara and his family sometimes vacationed. In these floorplans was the location of all the bedrooms, and who slept in each one. McNamara was terrified by the fact that the SLA had this information.

Villified by many, McNamara was a man of great conscience who was caught up in the hype surrounding "The Best and the Brightest" but later came to realize his errors. Unforgiveable, perhaps, but he was certainly not an evil man, in my opinion.

Best Regards,
Joe Sambor
LM Aero Field Service Engineer
Woensdrecht Logistics Center, The Netherlands
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TC

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Unread post07 Jul 2009, 04:13

Not evil, but certainly not a man who needed to be in his job. He should've been back in Detroit building Fords, not trying to run a war from over 8000 miles away, with one hand tied around his back, and very little military experience to speak of.

McNamara is the reason I feel that the office of SecDef should be run by a person who has a wealth of military knowledge and experience. Someone who understands the needs of the troops, and how to effectively conduct a military operation, not some shoe clerk who only sees the bottom line.

McNamara made many bad decisions, nearly made several more, and those decisions no doubt were directly responsible for a needless number of deaths of our troops.

I truly feel that the war could have had a much different outcome had it not been for McNamara.
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south

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Unread post07 Jul 2009, 08:25

Fantastic Documentary on McNamara, "Fog of War". I found it very interesting

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 4462752804
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JoeSambor

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Unread post07 Jul 2009, 22:12

TC wrote:I truly feel that the war could have had a much different outcome had it not been for McNamara.


I think you have to go a long way to beat LBJ for stupidity...I remember seeing a photo of him with intel photos laid out on the floor of the Oval Office, choosing bombing targets.

Almost as silly as telling our current troops that they cannot fire on an enemy if there is a chance they might hurt a civilian.

Best Regards,
Joe Sambor
LM Aero Field Service Engineer
Woensdrecht Logistics Center, The Netherlands
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TC

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Unread post07 Jul 2009, 23:03

LBJ and Bob McNamara: Living proof of Forrest Gump's immortal words, "Stupid is as stupid does."

I know that there tends to be a lot of "hero worship" and kind words said in the days following the death of even a controversial figure (See: Michael Jackson). However, I won't take the bait with McNamara. He was a p*$$ poor SecDef, and I will never forgive him or LBJ over the way they handled the war. Lives were needlessly lost, because of their asinine decision-making.

...and again, as Forrest would say "That's all I have to say about that."
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Unread post08 Jul 2009, 00:48

“Kennedy said that if we had nuclear war we'd kill 300 million people in the first hour. McNamara, who is a good businessman and likes to save, says it would be only 200 million.”
-Norman Thomas quotes (American Social Reformer, 1884-1968)

(I found this quote online, so don't ask me to go verify it.)
"A visitor from Mars could easily pick out the civilized nations. They have the best implements of war."
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JoeSambor

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Unread post08 Jul 2009, 04:32

I think we are on the same page TC, just different paragraphs.

Best Regards,
Joe Sambor
LM Aero Field Service Engineer
Woensdrecht Logistics Center, The Netherlands
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Unread post08 Jul 2009, 22:27

Read you loud and clear Joe!

I know Bob came out with a book criticizing his own decision-making, but a book written 30 years after the fact won't change what did happen.

As Pops used to say, "You can't put the $h*t back into the horse son."

When Hanoi Jane finally decides to chlorinate herself from the gene pool, I'll have exactly the same response.

To me, and many other Americans, their actions were both unforgettable, and unforgiveable.
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Unread post09 Jul 2009, 23:26

Roger that and Hanoi Jane, I'd go to her deadbed side post just to piss on her face if I could..another that will rot big time (as she should).
More than likely have "been there and done that at some point", it sure keeps you young if done correctly
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Gums

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Unread post10 Jul 2009, 03:42

Salute!

What Joe said.

As one of the few folks here that had to do our duty in that FUBAR war, I feel that I am well-qualified to comment.

The whole nation was caught up by a very charismatic leader who made it very clear that "we would pay any price, endure any hardship". He died before we got to see what he really meant. Meanwhile we had a group of whiz kids that wanted to dictate a "new" form of warfare and new weapon systems and be more "cost effective".

Didn't work.

Turned out that the politicians thot they could manage a conflict better than the folks actually flying and fighting and dieing.

McNamara wanted to reduce our losses, and he jumped upon a few high-tech things that weren't ready for prime time. Only good one was the laser-guided bomb. The sensor fence along the Trail was a fiasco. I was there, folks, and I can tell you all about it.

He pushed for "commonality" and "interoperability". Noble goals, and sure to help the Allies versus the Evil Empire. This was a good concept, and it came to exist years later when NATO adopted a common interface between the bombs, rockets, missiles, etc. and the various aircraft each country flew. I was heavily involved with that "standard" in the late 80's and early 90's. I imagine he would be proud to see his concept come to fruition.

OTOH, the TFX, or better known as the 'vark, was a disaster. The plane finally found its niche as a superb low-alt interdiction jet, and later as a super electronic warfare machine.

Hearings on the procurement of the 'vark had one of my favorite quotes. With regards to the Secretary's experience in weapon systems, a senator asked him( I paraphrase), " just what experience, if any, does the Secretary have in these matters?" heh heh.

I admire that man for admitting he had made some mistakes. My family and I had to endure almost ten years of our life for a noble, but futile effort. Much of that was a direct result of his influence on a naive President and those that followed.

I say we let him go in peace and thank him for his service, and his honesty. As screwed up as his ideas were, I feel he was trying to do the best thing.

Hell, all of us were trying to something noble, something we believed in. It just didn't turn out the way we hoped.

and that's all I have to say about that

Forrest Gums sends ...
Gums
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"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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Meathook

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Unread post10 Jul 2009, 04:15

I hear you Gums, as you know, I too was there (ground side of things other then a couple of handfull of door gunner miss-adventures before being air vac'ed out) and I will admit, his admitting he was wrong does "not" clear the air for me (too little too late) and those that might have liked to hear him admit that are no longer here to hear it, as much as they would loved to be.

I will give him part of your thoughts where I would agree he did try to use the limited technology we were breaking into at that time to help (even though collectively, it failed) I will give him that effort but I think it stops there for me - sorry brother, that is where I step aside from your post.

If the battle field commanders been given the power to act (within reason of course as we still dealth with the ROE that we all suffered) and do so instead of the mirco-management we saw from the White House Staff, we would have been better off and the war could have been shorter and many lifes might still be here (who knows). I guess I will leave it at that, I cant be that forgiving, he may have meant well but it sure did not seem like it to me and many others. Anyway, I'm done, I wont debate this further with another brother in arms, we made it home, guess I should be happy with that in itself (and I am). Salute Gums, I'm with you on this one at "arms length"...
More than likely have "been there and done that at some point", it sure keeps you young if done correctly
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Gums

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Unread post10 Jul 2009, 04:51

Salute!

I am closer to your feelings than I may have expressed, hook-breath.

My main point is that the troop was man enough to admit he screwed up. I cannot say that about many from the political world.

However well-intentioned he was, McNamara had no clue about actual warfare or the training or the weapons or the tactics or the strategy. In short, he was a disaster. I respect him for "coming to Jesus" in his last years, but I also feel bad vibes for what happened back then. So I am closer to your view than I may have expressed.

I endured the stoopid ROE on two tours. Third tour was the "real end" when we yanked folks off of the roof in Saigon and pushed choppers over the side of the decks. Nobody will believe me today when I explain the ROE. only mission I had that was "free" was the Sandy SAR job. Our ROE was to only expend ordnance if in our opinion, being on-scene, there was a threat to the rescue of the survivor. No kidding. We could shoot at anything we thot was a threat whether they shot at us first or not. It was "us" versus "them" and no holds-barred, no White House target selection, no commands from on high. Loved it.

Only "war" I ever saw in my lifetime that was run by the fighting folks was Rocky I. That was one that I would have given my left cojone to be in on. I was blessed to have trained many of the jocks that flew there, and Chuck Horner was my first wing king stud in the Viper. So I could vicariously share their elation and joy and sorrow for those few weeks that we did what we could have/should have twenty years prior in another theater of ops.

later.....

Gums sends ....
Gums
Viper pilot '79
"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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Meathook

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Unread post10 Jul 2009, 12:31

Gumster....Agreed and thanks.

Side Note, Chuck was my Wing KIng at Nellis in 1981 when I first got on the Viper (I was in the 429th)...he was (is) a good man (as you say).

My wife served in GF1 (weapons loader) with him running the show ( I was stuck on the T-Birds) and did not get to play, I agree, he was given free reign to conduct business as needed, what a difference that made as we all saw, it made me proud.

I did not know you had three tours in SEA, the earlier days must have been something else...

I take my hat off to you, you the man and "thanks" for all you gave and shared with us all.

Meathook Salutes :thumb:
More than likely have "been there and done that at some point", it sure keeps you young if done correctly
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