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“He, and I’d say I, were behaving as war criminals.”

July 6, 2009, 10:11 am

Tomasky has the money quotation from the late, and undeniably complicated, Robert McNamara. (Much more complicated than Henry Kissinger, who supposedly said Bill Clinton “does not possess the strength of character to be a war criminal.”) McNamara was talking about his role in this and that sort of thing, but of course he’s better known for his role in inspiring this sort of thing.

The Miller Center has an online McNamara exhibit which includes his case for a withdrawal from Vietnam in October, 1963.

UPDATED to add, on McNamara’s memoir:

… there is something wrong with a culture in which a McNamara is feted for his “guts” while George McGovern and Gene McCarthy, who opposed McNamara’s mistakes, are regarded as nobodies. In one of the uglier passages of In Retrospect, McNamara sneers at the antiwar protesters who marched on the Pentagon in 1967. If they had been more “disciplined” and “Gandhi-like,” he says, “they could have achieved their objective of shutting us down.” Instead they were “troublemakers” who “threw mud balls” and “even unzipped [soldiers'] flies.” This is contrition? Shouldn’t McNamara be admitting that the mudball-throwers, after all, had been right?

Which, wow. Whatever happened to Mickey Kaus?

UPDATED again to add, Fog of War transcript.

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