Foreign Relations: Unclouded Judgment

To the Western mind South Viet Nam's political war, as symbolized last week by another case of Buddhist self-immolation, seems even uglier than the shooting war.

U.S. helicopters can be shot down, young men from Wyoming and Rhode Island can die in Viet Nam's jungles without rating more than passing attention. But the thought of a human making a torch of himself to protest political repression is so shocking as to arouse anger and emotion in most Americans.

That anger, that emotion, might easily have clouded the judgment of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara...

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