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War Criminal Dies a Peaceful Death

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mcnamara_oldVietnam War Architect Robert McNamara Dies at 93 

Some argue he was just a technocrat put in charge of  political architecture that was initially setup by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Either way, he was responsible for the wanton butchery of millions of innocent civilian people, mostly all Asian. He, later in life, admitted that some of what he was responsible for doing , even during World War Two, were war crimes for which he and other Americans could have been prosecuted. Yet, he was allowed to die a peaceful death.

The question remains today, how could these so-called American patriots right after prosecuting and executing German and Japanese for the very same war crimes, turn right around and do the same things? Specially in his case, where he was just as dirty and knew what he had done to the Japanese! Were they stupid? Actually, historians tell us these men, Robert MacNamara in particular, were very bright, intelligent and well educated. History also tells us that he was at the same time, as were the majority of his compatriots, morally bankrupt. To be specific, his whole generation, the so-called “Greatest Generation” was morally bankrupt. That’s the generation that grew up during the Great Depression that learned to survive by doing whatever it took no matter how degenerate and self-debasing — to them the end always justified the means.

The Guardian newspaper of England reports on his World War Two exploits:

A graduate of Harvard Business School, McNamara applied statistical methods to the US bombing campaign over Japan in the second world war, as an officer in the US air force. He greatly increased the efficiency of US air attacks, devastating the civilian populations of Japanese cities

 What they’re talking about here was his use of fire-bombing on civilian targets that murdered 100,000 people in a single night, the same as was used on German cities — the effect was the same as the atom bomb.

He then moves on after quiting his job as Secretary of Defense because he could see, but was too gutless to tell anyone at the time, that the US would lose that war, to run the World Bank. The World Bank along with the IMF has totally devestated the majority of Third World Nations ability to feed themselves. The World is on the brink of a food crisis of unimaginable consequences. MacNamara orchestrated the mass starvation of untold numbers of the Earth’s poplulation the likes of which, makes his mass murder of Asian people insignificant.

What lessons were learned? According to historian Howard Zinn – NONE! This is what he says about the current President Obama:

Unfortunately, you know, the present administration is still stuck in that kind of thinking. You know, I hear them talking in the White House and around the White House, Obama and the others, about winning in Afghanistan, and not asking, “Is it right that we are in Afghanistan?” To me, that’s one of the important things to think about when we try to learn something from the life of this figure McNamara.

What kind of thinking is Zinn talking about?

It seems to me one things which we should be thinking about, is that McNamara represented all of those superficial qualities of brightness and intelligence and education that are so revered in our culture. This whole idea that you judge young kids today on the basis of what their test scores are, how smart they are, how much information they can digest, how much they can give back to you and remember. That’s what MacNamara was good at. He was bright and he was smart, but he had no moral intelligence. What strikes me as one of the many things we can learn from this McNamara experience is that we’ve got to stop revering these superficial qualities of brightness and smartness, and bring up a generation which thinks in moral terms, which has moral intelligence, and which asks questions not, “Do we win or do we lose?” Asks questions, ” Is this right? Is it wrong?” And McNamara never asked that question. Even when he was leaving, even when he decided he had to leave the post of Secretary of Defense, even when he left, his leaving was not based on the fact that the war was wrong. His leaving was based on the fact, well, we weren’t going to win.

That’s the Robert MacNamara Legacy . . .

For more on lessons not learned you can read some revealing commentary by Howard Zinn, Marilyn Young and Jonathan Schell.

More from the Guardian here.

[Picture Source – STAN WAYMAN / Time Life Pictures / Getty]

–Joe

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