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JON9000
07-14-2004, 09:03 PM
Has anybody else seen this? I rented it off digital cable. It's a documentary about Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense in the JFK and LBJ administrations. The film is set up as a series of lessons he has learned primarily on war. The production values are a lot better than the history channel.

Not only are his insights really interesting to hear, it also serves as a history lesson. Having the images to go along with the information is pretty cool. Everyone should see this movie.

Hellboy
07-15-2004, 09:34 PM
I totally agree. This is a great documentary, perhaps one of the best I've ever seen. Hopefully some teachers will see the benefit of using this in history classes in the future because there are a lot of lessons to be learned here.

In addition to the illumination of the decisions behind this country's actions during the Vietnam War some of the other material covered is downright frieghtening. Especially how close we actually came to a nuclear war during the Cuban missle crisis and the statistical analysis that fueled much of the bombings during WWII. Overall its an honest and compelling piece of work and its nice to see McNamara give us the facts without putting any political spin on them. I highly recommend seeing this if you have even the slightest interest in American History.

bigbarada
08-04-2004, 12:58 PM
I saw this with my dad (who is a Vietnam veteran) and it gave some pretty amazing and frightening insight into the events of the 60s. I highly recommend this for anyone who thinks they know what really went on in the 60s.

It was especially interesting to see how easily a man who worked so hard for peace, could be classified as a warmonger by uninformed extremists within the US.

JON9000
08-11-2004, 12:34 AM
It was especially interesting to see how easily a man who worked so hard for peace, could be classified as a warmonger by uninformed extremists within the US.
McNamara comes across as haunted by his role in the Vietnam war and therefore sympathetic. Based on that, I found it difficult to understand why McNamara was such a divisive figure at first. In the film, he hints at it- he misled the public about what was going on in Vietnam. More than that, he was such a cheerleader for the war in the early going, that it was referred to as "McNamara's War".

Then I realized- if there is one thing Americans hate, it is being lied to by public officials with regards to the use of our military power. Especially when there is a draft and the end result is over 50,000 Americans dead. Not to mention 5 Million Vietnamese dead. His later statement that he knew the United States should not escalate the conflict as early as 1967 has infuriated Vietnam veterans who wonder why he did not speak up and perhaps save us all the anguish.

McNamara did not apologize, but he clearly believes he had important reasons for doing what he did, and he has obviously become something of a victim of the war he was instrumental in creating.

And I will say this- I cannot imagine having that sort of guilt, and having to go through the pressures of knowing LBJ and the military establishment were completely wrong at the time he was Secretary.

He did the best he could, and I believe he had good intentions. But this conclusion begs the question- how could a man who recommended burning 100,000 Japanese civilians to death in one night be a "good guy"?

This movie was fascinating. And I feel for the guy.

bigbarada
08-11-2004, 11:59 AM
He did the best he could, and I believe he had good intentions. But this conclusion begs the question- how could a man who recommended buring 100,000 Japanese civilians to death in one night be a "good guy"?


I wouldn't necessarily say that he was a "good guy," because none of us are really "good."

One of his lessons-learned I whole-heartedly disagreed with however: "In order to fight evil you must occasionaly do evil deeds." I don't believe that is right at all; but then again I haven't witnessed the things he has so I'm sure he has a very logical (in his mind) rationalization for that belief.

Most everything else I found very thought provoking and insightful.