(Robert McNamara - Every time he opened his mouth, doom flew out)
To anyone of a certain generation, the name Robert S. McNamara will probably evoke the same (or very similar) reactions as this generations Donald Rumsfeld does.
Anger, bitterness, rage, betrayal - simmering arrogance, wrongheadedness and simple belligerence. All over a war that, like Iraq, should not have existed in the first place. And yet it was McNamara's insistence we wage it, even to the point of deceit.
I remember his "Mea Culpa tour" of the 1990's, begging forgiveness for his wrongdoings and his errors - saying in fact, The Gulf of Tonkin incident may not have happened. And some 60,000 casualties and untold wounded later . . . .
And so here is a Press Conference, typical of the McNamara era during the Vietnam War, from February 7, 1965 - as the escalation and casualties mount. As we sighed and waited for our draft notices to appear.
April 26, 1964 - LBJ Announces substantial Nuclear Weapons reduction. Khruschev announces similar reduction. Cuba tensions resume. Dean Rusk returns from Saigon with upbeat assessment. Robert McNamara concedes winning in Vietnam "will take time". Railroad Union settlement reached. LBJ tours Appalachia promoting War On Poverty legislation. Civil Rights Bill at a standstill. Threatened "stall-ins" at opening of Worlds Fair don't materialize, but 300 Civil Rights demonstrators arrested. Read more...
May 15, 1964 - 1964 Presidential Primary season. Ambassador to Saigon and GOP Presidential candidate Henry Cabot Lodge expected to win Oregon Primary, chances good in California. Senate GOP pledges to keep the Bobby Baker Scandal probe alive. Michigan Politics - Gov. George Romney and Attorney General Frank Kelly clash on Legislative Reapportionment issue. South Vietnam - 51 S. Vietnamese troops killed in ambush by Vietcong. LBJ and Robert McNamara hold talks on Vietnam situation. Civil Right leader Bayard Rustin pledges 50,000 to protest upcoming Democratic Convention in Atlantic City. Read more...