The Nation: The Particular Tragedy of Robert McNamara

IT is only the latest paradox in the career of Robert McNamara that he turns out to be a chief victim of the Viet Nam study that he initiated. In the documents that have been revealed to date—a partial picture, to be sure —the judgment of the once infallible Defense Secretary seems badly flawed. In the early 1960s, few other Government officials had quite his sense of assurance that escalation would pay off, that a steady application of American pressure and resources would turn the tide of war.

Somehow the strategies that won praise...

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