Robert McNamara held the position of Secretary of Defense under the Kennedy administration and Johnson administration. He was faced with making some major decisions and giving important advice under loads of stress and pressure. Years after he left his position in the white house, he looked back on his life and provided eleven points of his own wisdom. Now let us examine the film The Fog of War and some of the points stated by the former Secretary of Defense and compare them to the ideas of Niccolo Machiavelli and see how the ancient philosopher might have praised or critiqued the ideas of McNamara.
“Belief and seeing are both often wrong,” this is Robert McNamara’s seventh point from the film. At this point much of the context he is referring to goes back to Vietnam and all the lies and deception surrounding that war. Were we or were we not attacked on August fourth? At the time the American people were told we were indeed attacked by North Vietnam. This makes sense because that is what led us to bomb the hell out the country and get this war started. Later it is confirmed that there was no attack on that day. After the bombing finished and it is now the “fourth quarter and were losing 70-0” according to President Johnson, it was time to send in the Marines for ground war. As President of our country Johnson knew the deceptive effect this would have on the people. He knew American society would be thinking how hard this would hit the Vietnamese, but he also knew in his head the truth of the situation. He knew we didn’t stand a chance over there. He says himself that the people are going to think the bombings were Sunday school stuff compared to what the Marines will do and he replies to that “my answer is yes, but my judgment is no.” This is a prime example of pure deception of society, not to mention the fact that the numbers coming back from the war were all mostly false to our advantage. The people were being lied to by the leaders of their country....
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