Tina K. Russell

July 10, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Tina Russell @ 12:19 am

Letters – How Should We Remember Robert McNamara? – NYTimes.com
To the Editor:

What is one to make of this man’s life? It was, certainly, classically tragic: the war with which he will forever be linked was caused not by inadequate skills or lack of diligence, but by his failure to question that which his boundless intelligence and diligence caused him to believe.

Like the classic Greek tragic heroes, he came to understand his folly and yet was unable to change it. He died apparently haunted by his error.

It is impossible not to feel empathy for this man. But when one thinks of the tens of thousands of young men and women who died young as a result of the Vietnam War, it is impossible to forgive him.

Frederick T. Davis
Paris, July 7, 2009

“Forgiveness doesn’t mean pretending things aren’t as they really are. Forgiveness is the recognition that a ghastliness has happened. And forgiveness doesn’t mean trying to paper over the cracks, which is what people do when they say, ‘Let bygones be bygones.’ Because they will not. They have an incredible capacity for always returning to haunt you. Forgiveness means that the wronged and the culprits of those wrongs acknowledge that something happened. And there is necessarily a measure of confrontation. People sometimes think that you shouldn’t be abrasive. But sometimes you have to be to make someone acknowledge that they have done something wrong. Then once the culprit says, ‘I am sorry,’ the wronged person is under obligation, certainly if he or she is a Christian, to forgive. And forgiving means actually giving the opportunity of a new beginning.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

1 Comment »

  1. Excellent post Tina.
    I would like to read some books by Desmond Tutu as I keep coming across his impressive quotations.

    MacNamaras contribution to organizing the support logistics of the Army Air Force should not be forgotten. How many lives did that work save in WW2?

    He did not work alone during Viet Nam. In the end, the responsibility belongs to the President, the Commander in Chief. The president had other sources of information and advice available to use other than McNamara.

    MacNamara also created the first American Compact car, the Ford Falcon and he also pushed for seat belts against the wishes of Henry Ford.

    When someone steps up to a leadership position they take a risk of failing in a very public manner. Would someone else have done better in the situation? Or perhaps worse? In the military, leadership failures often equates to loss of lives.

    To see McNamara only as the sole architect of the Viet Nam War (He was not) is myopic. There are many lessons to be learned from his life.

    Viet Nam was a disaster and more people than MacNamara were at fault. Critics and cowards like their scape goats.

    Comment by John H — July 10, 2009 @ 8:50 pm

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