Robert McNamara

Robert McNamara died recently. A confessed unconvicted War Criminal, McNamara was a logitician for the firebombing campaigns on Japan, and a reluctant architect of the Cuban Missle Crisis and most significantly, the Vietnam War. In addition to being a profoundly intelligent and capable CEO, Cabinet Secretary and World Bank Chief, Mcnamara was striking for his deep reflection and appreciation for the moral complexity of his actions as revealed in the excellent documentary Fog of War (torrent).

Here is the synopsis of an interview at Berkeley in 2004 including a webcast.

Who better to deduce the lessons and folly of War than a man who was its Commander. Here are a list of his 11 lessons:

  1. Empathize with your enemy
  2. Rationality will not save us
  3. There's something beyond one's self
  4. Maximize efficiency
  5. Proportionality should be a guideline in war
  6. Get the data
  7. Belief and seeing are often both wrong
  8. Be prepared to reexamine your reasoning
  9. In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil
  10. Never say never
  11. You can't change human nature

Controversial, terrible, and flawed as he was, a great man has died.

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