Robert S. McNamara, chief architect of the Vietnam War, is dead at 93.
We have so frequently bungled into conflicts, presuming our role in them when the other participants see it differently, making shortcuts while rationalizing ourselves as heroic, changing the rules if found to violate them, and controlling the message of moral rectitude rather than the actions. I find these cautions from McNamara to be crucially important, but even in my most optimistic moments I don’t believe America is even wired to live up to them.
Not only did we ignore them in 2003, we somehow managed to make most of the same mistakes in Iraq. It may seem a long time ago, but in the summer of 2003 people who thought we were making a colossal blunder were being called traitors. I suppose the trolls are still calling us traitors, but these days jingoism isn’t much of a selling point politically.
And while things may be less bad in Iraq, that crucial fact is that we are still there, and are likely to remain there indefinitely, despite what any politicians promise.