McNamara's conflicts on war, peace, morals, ethics

A polarizing figure
When he died recently at age 93, former U.S. defense secretary Robert S. McNamara was still viewed by many with opprobrium as the chief architect of the Vietnam War. Others praised his efforts, however late in life, to publicly wrestle with his inner demons and the moral consequences of the failed war.

Few figures in the last half century were as polarizing as McNamara. In the days since his death July 6, reactions have ranged from the harsh to the mildly conciliatory to a man whose career personified the rise and promise and the subsequent troubles of the postwar U.S.

New York Times columnist Bob Her bert blasted McNamara as an “icy-veined, cold-visaged and rigidly intellectual point man for a war that sent thousands upon thousands of people (most of them young) to their utterly pointless deaths.”


This article is available to subscribers only. Please subscribe for full access—subscriptions begin at $2.95. Already have an online account? Log in now. Already a print subscriber? Create an online account for no additional cost.

This article is available to subscribers only.

To post a comment, log inregister, or use the Facebook comment box.