Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Wonder if Colin Powell noticed

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I see that former War Secretary Robert McNamara died this week. I have nothing but contempt for the so-called man. He's admitted that he knew that Vietnam was wrong but did it anyways. Not that he later concluded it was a mistake but that he knew it was wrong AT THE TIME.

He could've resigned in protest and then speaking out against the atrocity, which would've been the honorable thing to do. Instead, he stayed silent and executed this slaughter that he KNEW AT THE TIME was wrong. Was it because he liked being in the halls of power? Was it because he was too cowardly to be honest with the overbearing President Johnson? Was he a little man in too big a job? Only he knows. But I find him even more despicable than those who sincerely thought it was the right thing to do at the time.

It's said that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, choose to remain neutral. I disagree. I think the hottest places are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, know what the good is and choose instead to enable evil.


Luke said...

Your headline says it pretty well. I'm recalling images of Powell holding up a vile of anthrax at the UN now....

semi234 said...

There is & always will be a lot of controversy surronding Sec McNamara's conduct vis-a-vis Vietnam.

However, you're neglecting the fact Mac kept recemmending downgrading the number of troops in position paper after position paper yet the military chiefs kept recemmending the exact opposite. This coupled w/ Johnson's beliefs that Vietnam could be won militarily, kept overruling his own secertary & sided w/ the Joint Chiefs pretty much for over a year & a half until Johnson fired him by appointing him to the World Bank.

Your essay also neglects the fact that had he did resign, no one would have cared beyond maybe two days before it cycled out of the press. & what could would it have done when the policy machine was well under way w/ a captain who's set on a particular course of action. Let us also assume that he did resign, his boss's simply would have spun it as Mac being a disgruntled malcontent w/ an axe to grind (like W's admin later did w/ Scott McCellan). & they'd be right, w/o any physical documents to back up his beliefs, it'd be the entire hawk establishment against him.

Your essay also neglects that unlike a parlimentary system, there really isn't a tradition here in America of public officials resigning in protest. About one of the only few public officials to do so was Williams Jennings Bryant over America's lack of true "neutrality" in WWI & even then that was in 1915, a good 2 years before America's Declaration & basically had zero effect in even changing public or policy opinion.

& unlike Mac, Powell is on public record questioning the entire war rationale (while still Sec of State) after it was discovered Iraq had no WMD's.

Does Mac deserve the controversy that surronds him? Absolutely, death & destruction will do that to a you.

My point is, you cannot completely blame one person for major debacles like Vietnam. It takes a whole litany of people to bumble oneself into it. The "Guns of August" lessons, so to speak.

Brian said...

It was NEVER my intent, nor did I ever imply such, that the fault for the Vietnam War (or any war) lies with one person.