Robert S. McNamara, the brainy Pentagon chief who directed the escalation of the Vietnam War despite private doubts that the war was winnable or worth fighting, died Monday at 93.
A numbers cruncher, the "whiz kid" was one of JFK's "best and brightest" who knew as early as 1965 that our strategy in Vietnam was unworkable. David Halberstam's classic, The Best And The Brightest, portrays McNamara and his co-horts for what they were: people who had no problem sacrificing on the altar of northeastern elitist intellectualism and political expediency the lives of men they were supposed to lead. Better men than were they!
Kow-towing to LBJ who wanted his so-called Great Society as a legacy, they conspired on such marvels as "Project 100,000" that lowered enlistment standards to allow induction and enlistment of young American men in mental group 4A as a "jobs program" so as to get them off the streets. (My oak kitchen table has an IQ higher than a 4A and is better suited to carry a rifle in combat!)
In the 1990s, one of my TBS classmates sent a group of us a letter asking for our forgiveness. "Last week, I was on the ferry to Martha's Vineyard. Looking down the rail I saw Robert Strange McNamara. I write to humbly ask your forgiveness. I did not throw that son-of-a-bitch overboard."
Well, McNamara is now reunited with LBJ and their cronies. I hope LBJ saved him a seat really close to the fire.