Monday, July 06, 2009


Robert McNamara died today. His epitaph should be just one word:


Plain and simple, hubris. Bloody hubris.

A man was so sure that his fundamental concept was correct, that he would not accept any evidence to the contrary; even when that evidence was dead soldiers.

When your theory doesn't match the evidence, you don't ignore the evidence, you change the theory. Only he didn't.

He absolutely refused to even consider that he and his whiz kids were wrong. That people who actually had experience fighting and running wars, might have something useful to contribute to the conversation about say, running a war.

He was a great believer in metrics; and like so many others he confused metrics and methods with actual accomplishments.

He was a great believer in technology; but had no concept of how technology fit into tactical or strategic equations. How technology always came down to one thing: boots on the ground.

I don't even think he understood the difference between metrics and missions. The difference between technology, and tactics.

And so, America suffered.

So we never lost a battle, but we lost a war.

So 60,000 men died. Stupidly thrown away by politicians and statisticians playing at toy soldiers. Writing their numbers down in their copybooks, and declaring "I won", when some imaginary measurement was reached.


Perhaps god will forgive you.

History won't.