June 24, 2005

Review of “The Fog of War”

Posted in War on Terror at 9:07 pm by David Gould

I have just watched the best documentary I have ever seen, about Robert McNamara, a brilliant man who courted controversy…
The film covers his WWII job of more efficiently bombing Tokyo, to his being made the first president of Ford outside the family, to his recruitment as Secreatary of Defense 5 weeks later by JFK, his deep involvement with the Cuban Missile crisis and his even deeper involvement in the build-up of US forces in the Vietnam War.

In his later years, McNamara is a compelling speaker with an apparent need to impart some lessons of humility that he so painfully learned.

The documentary was made in 2002-2003 and without one mention of Iraq, one gets the impression that McNamara was hoping that what he had learnt, especially from the mistakes he had made, could prevent similar disasters.

In particular, McNamara comments on the US inability in the 60s to persuade allies to agree on the need for conflict.

The “Fog of War” refers to the inability of anyone to effectively manage something as complex as a war. The emotional resonance of the film is helped by an original soundtrack by Philip Glass.

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