Jul
09
2009

For the WaPo, McNamara Is the Real Victim of the Vietnam War

The Washington Post's editorial (7/7/09) on the death of Vietnam-era Defense Secretary Robert McNamara managed to outdo even the New York Times' victim-erasing obituary. The Times cited the number of invading troops killed by McNamara's war of aggression while ignoring the vastly larger number of Indochinese deaths–but for the Post, neither the aggressors nor their victims are as important as the "agonizing" that the architect of the war went through. As the editorial concludes, "The true McNamara's War, as it turned out, was longer than Vietnam, and was fought mostly within himself." It's a given that the Washington Post empathizes […]

Jul
07
2009

Moral Perversity and the McNamara Toll

In the sixth paragraph of his front-page obituary of Vietnam War-era Defense Secretary Robert McNamara (7/7/09), the New York Times' Tim Weiner tries–and fails–to give some idea of the human cost of McNamara's war: Half a million American soldiers went to war on his watch. More than 16,000 died; 42,000 more would fall in the seven years to come. What's missing, of course, is the number of Vietnamese and other Indochinese who died as a result of the war whose escalation McNamara oversaw; estimates range from 1 million to more than 3 million, but Weiner never gets around to mentioning […]