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McNamara’s Evil Lives On

Posted on Jul 8, 2009
McNamara and Johnson
AP photo

President Lyndon B. Johnson, right, confers with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in November 1963.

By Robert Scheer

Why not speak ill of the dead?

Robert McNamara, who died this week, was a complex man—charming even, in a blustery way, and someone I found quite thoughtful when I interviewed him. In the third act of his life he was often an advocate for enlightened positions on world poverty and the dangers of the nuclear arms race. But whatever his better nature, it was the stark evil he perpetrated as secretary of defense that must indelibly frame our memory of him. 

To not speak out fully because of respect for the deceased would be to mock the memory of the millions of innocent people McNamara caused to be maimed and killed in a war that he later freely admitted never made any sense. Much has been made of the fact that he recanted his support for the war, but that came 20 years after the holocaust he visited upon Vietnam was over.

Is holocaust too emotionally charged a word? How many millions of dead innocent civilians does it take to qualify labels like holocaust, genocide or terrorism? How many of the limbless victims of his fragmentation bombs and land mines whom I saw in Vietnam during and after the war? Or are America’s leaders always to be exempted from such questions? Perhaps if McNamara had been held legally accountable for his actions, the architects of the Iraq debacle might have paused.

Instead, McNamara was honored with the Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon Johnson, to whom he had written a private memo nine months earlier offering this assessment of their Vietnam carnage: “The picture of the world’s greatest superpower killing or seriously injuring 1,000 noncombatants a week, while trying to pound a tiny backward nation into submission on an issue whose merits are hotly disputed, is not a pretty one.”


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He knew it then, and, give him this, the dimensions of that horror never left him. When I interviewed him for the Los Angeles Times in 1995, after the publication of his confessional memoir, his assessment of the madness he had unleashed was all too clear:

“Look, we dropped three to four times the tonnage on that tiny little area as were dropped by the Allies in all of the theaters in World War II over a period of five years. It was unbelievable. We killed—there were killed—3,200,000 Vietnamese, excluding the South Vietnamese military. My God! The killing, the tonnage—it was fantastic. The problem was that we were trying to do something that was militarily impossible—we were trying to break the will; I don’t think we can break the will by bombing short of genocide.”

We—no, he—couldn’t break their will because their fight was for national independence. They had defeated the French and would defeat the Americans who took over when French colonialists gave up the ghost. The war was a lie from the first. It never had anything to do with the freedom of the Vietnamese (we installed one tyrant after another in power), but instead had to do with our irrational Cold War obsession with “international communism.” Irrational, as President Richard Nixon acknowledged when he embraced détente with the Soviet communists, toasted China’s fierce communist Mao Tse-tung and then escalated the war against “communist” Vietnam and neutral Cambodia.

It was always a lie and our leaders knew it, but that did not give them pause. Both Johnson and Nixon make it quite clear on their White House tapes that the mindless killing, McNamara’s infamous body count, was about domestic politics and never security.

The lies are clearly revealed in the Pentagon Papers study that McNamara commissioned, but they were made public only through the bravery of Daniel Ellsberg. Yet when Ellsberg, a former Marine who had worked for McNamara in the Pentagon, was in the docket facing the full wrath of Nixon’s Justice Department, McNamara would lift not a finger in his defense. Worse, as Ellsberg reminded me this week, McNamara threatened that if subpoenaed to testify at the trial by Ellsberg’s defense team, “I would hurt your client badly.”

Not as badly as those he killed or severely wounded. Not as badly as the almost 59,000 American soldiers killed and the many more horribly hurt. One of them was the writer and activist Ron Kovic, who as a kid from Long Island was seduced by McNamara’s lies into volunteering for two tours in Vietnam. Eventually, struggling with his mostly paralyzed body, he spoke out against the war in the hope that others would not have to suffer as he did (and still does). Meanwhile, McNamara maintained his golden silence, even as Richard Nixon managed to kill and maim millions more. What McNamara did was evil—deeply so. 

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By Folktruther, July 12, 2009 at 10:45 pm Link to this comment

No, Virgina, I meant de-educating and de-informing.  The Educated classes conceive Education and Infomration to be Good Things, and the more that we have the better.  But this assumes that the Information we are told in the leanred and mass media is true, and that the conceptual langauge for conveying it is useful for grasping political and social reality.

both assumptions are false.  Education, n addition to imparting technical truths, which are larg3ely true, indoctrinates us with ideological truths, which aren’t.  This conditions us to accept the Information of the mass media which in crucial ways are disinformation.

but people want to believe this stuff, so we have to be de-educated and de-informed, de-programed from what we have learned from childhood, when we are most impressionable, credulous and powerless to resist authority.

This is necessary to accept the simple truth about people and power.  because the major historical problem in doing so is not ignorence, but denial.  It is not primarily a question of not knowing, but not wanting to know.

So we must unlearn.  This is much more difficult than learning, since it involves rejecting truths that we identiy with.  They often are soul truths.  We have to lose our souls in order to regain them.  As I believe Someone once said.

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By abdo, July 12, 2009 at 10:00 pm Link to this comment

you might have changed your headline from “McNamara’s Evil Lives On” to “McNamara’s Evil Lives On…In Donald Rumsfeld.” and they are not the only ones.

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By john crandell, July 12, 2009 at 9:54 pm Link to this comment

  I used to feel exactly as you do, felt that way until I read the book which I’ve cited in my earlier comment.
  Now, it is quite clear that the national security apparratus, including McNamara, drove LBJ near to the point of a nervous breakdown. By no means was he innocent. I think that they’ve gotten their hooks into Obama and Biden bigtime.

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By dan m ketter, July 12, 2009 at 7:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

amazing that sheer lambasted McNamara and is still in love with LBJ. I really can’t say anything good about McNamara so I won’t try. He was smug, arrogant and made numerous poor decisions about the military, i liken him to barak.
But the real criminal in the Viet conflict was LBJ. He was the one who personally picked out targets and refused to let the military run the war, there by maximizing casualties. Although Sheer claims we killed 3 million NVN but that number is fictional at best. He doesn’t comment on how many were killed in the south after the war with the reeducation camps. The reports were upwards of 1/2 million

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By Virginia777, July 12, 2009 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment

to FT:

“the de-Education and de-Information of the population is get people to think in increasing the power of the people relative to the powerful”

didn’t you mean RE-Educate and RE-Inform here Folktruther?

The big problem is, people in America (the whole country, really) have been fed so many lies,

they don’t know what’s “true” anymore. (how sad is that?)

I think the Truth needs to be told to the people of America, don’t you?

all of this Propaganda that is being sent out by the Mass Media, is scary.

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By John Hanks, July 12, 2009 at 8:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To blame is to put an end to understanding.  America is made up of crooks, suckers, and lazy cowards.  If you paid your taxes, you helped to keep it going.  America always likes to be led by second-rate megalomaniacs.

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By Folktruther, July 11, 2009 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment

It is possisble to think in moral terms about power, Anarcissie, indeed essential to do so if earthpeople are to survive.  One can morally ask the question, “do we win or do we lose” if ‘we’ are the people rather than the powerful.

Indeed, the de-Education and de-Information of the population is get people to think in increasing the power of the people relative to the powerful.  To break the historical cycle where the powerful delude and the people want to be deluded by authority.

I agree with Virgina though, good comments by Zinn.

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By Folktruther, July 11, 2009 at 9:19 am Link to this comment

PSmith the Thompson piece on Nixon was wonderful.  I once had a chance to visit him at his ‘fortified compound’ in the mountains but couldn’t make it.  I probabliy would have died anyway because, as he said, “Jews can’t live at this altitude.”

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By Virginia777, July 11, 2009 at 8:46 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, you are so right on.

Its all the “smoke and mirrors” that White power uses (coupled with a complete absence of ethics which allows for uncommon cruelty) that feeds an innate desire to feel “better” than others.

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By Anarcissie, July 11, 2009 at 7:25 am Link to this comment

PSmith—thanks for the links.  I thought Howard Zinn’s comments were the most interesting.  Two things in particular struck me.  One is this passage:

It seems to me one things which we should be thinking about, is that McNamara represented all of those superficial qualities of brightness and intelligence and education that are so revered in our culture. This whole idea that you judge young kids today on the basis of what their test scores are, how smart they are, how much information they can digest, how much they can give back to you and remember. That’s what MacNamara was good at. He was bright and he was smart, but he had no moral intelligence. What strikes me as one of the many things we can learn from this McNamara experience is that we’ve got to stop revering these superficial qualities of brightness and smartness, and bring up a generation which thinks in moral terms, which has moral intelligence, and which asks questions not, “Do we win or do we lose?” Asks questions, ” Is this right? Is it wrong?

He could be talking about Kennedy here—or Obama.  Any of “the best and the brightest”.  On the other hand, when people become interested in moral terms, their concept of morality may surprise us unpleasantly: the “morality” of George W. Bush or Sarah Palin.  Intellectualism can be criticized, but anti-intellectualism has its limits.

The other passage I thought was very relevant to our present concerns was:

I think it tells us that once you enter the machinery of government, once you enter the House of Empire, you are lost. You are going to be silenced.

But of course, one who goes into the government has already conceded to that silence.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, July 11, 2009 at 3:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)  Vincent Bugliosi, crackpot

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By john crandell, July 10, 2009 at 10:37 pm Link to this comment

Viv Gov,

  here’s to suggest that you quickly get ahold of a copy of Gareth Porter’s ‘Perils of Dominance’ published in 2005 by the University of California Press. It has been lauded by Dan Ellsberg as an “intellectual and scholarly tour de force.”

Note to Bob Scheer: READ IT, god dammit!

Pages 165 through 185 reveal McNamara’s culpability. Following the November 22nd assassination, McNamara turned 180 degrees for the sake of political convenience. Within these twenty pages, Porter gives detailed information regards Kennedy’s desire to avoid introducing American combat personnel and initiate withdrawal of our advisors. All of Porter’s text is supported by his deep research into recently declassified government documents.

As like Nixon and Kissigner, McNamara deserved to be garroted, and strung up on a meat hook. I say that as a student of the Vietnam War as well as a veteran of that war.

Lastly, it is quite clear that Barak Obama is basing his decisions regards Afghanistan not one whit on reality on the ground in that country, rather than on domestic politics and for such cynicism, he will pay a moral price over the bloodshed brought to bear by his decisions.

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By Our Journey to Smile, July 10, 2009 at 10:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear friends,?

I think humanity needs, in her lives and deaths, a committed pursuit of love and truth, to ask ?those questions that help us grow.?

McNamara made his mistakes like all of us do; what we should try to avoid is to have him ?recorded in the annals of history as McNamara the Great, in the same way Alexander was ??‘crowned’ after raiding the northern lands of this country Afghanistan, or even more ironic ?perhaps, Obama in raiding the southern lands of Afghanistan, all the ‘blind’ way into ?Pakistan.?

Writing from and grieving for humanity in Afghanistan,?
On behalf of Our Journey to Smile

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By adrienrain, July 10, 2009 at 9:22 pm Link to this comment

Thank you Robert for the excellent link.

I used to think that perhaps political equality between men and women would change things. Of course we don’t have that equality, but so far, Rice and Ms. Clinton (not to mention Sabrina Harmon and Lynndie English) do not give me cause for hope.

Still, they had to make it in a ‘man’s world’ - if other primates’ behavior has any bearing on our own, maybe equality will help save us. We certainly have nothing like parity among the rulers now.

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By Folktruther, July 10, 2009 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

Dublestandards, I am a conspiracy therist.  there is an enormous amount of speculation of what happened and the reasons behind the the Kennedy assassination of which I am ignornent.  But I read the Warren commission analysis and it is complete bullshit.  thre is no way Oswald could have killed Kennedy alone.  therefore there were two or more assassins involved.  That is a criminal conspiracy. 

Since I maintain that there was a criminal conspiracy, I am a conspiracy theorist.  As to the details of the conspiracy i am ignorant and don’t have time to pursue them, but honor those that do.
It is the only way to find out the truth because of the massive deeceit of the learned and mass media.

Your attributing all these motives and attitudes to me and other conspircacy indicates that you are intellectually cowardly and side with authority againt the truth.  Many people do, espeically many Educated people.  Educated people too gutless to take a controversial position against authority.
Since you do this in clear cases like the Kennedy conspiracy, you probably are equally gutless in telling the truth in the other massive deceit of the American power structure.  You may find this amusing, as you stated,  but I, for one, find it disgusting.

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By Rontruth, July 10, 2009 at 6:54 pm Link to this comment

I was just reading the article, “Who Was Robert MacNamara?” They showed him and Rumsfeld, and others. What strikes me about it all was the question, Was Macnamara Stuck In The Fog Of War?” At first, I found it sort of disgusting that anyone had the nerve to dumn the subject of MacNamara’s long history of insane bombing raids, from WW11, to the rest of the wars up until he no longer had his fingers on the switch.

The “fog of war.!” Then, I realized something different about war. It seems that the military is not all that different than any other human organization. They have the same disfunctions as any other organization. They have the same kinds of forces that bring about cohesiveness, including the possibility of the threat to one’s own life. Especially after what MacNamara;s own Pentagon did, in conjunction with the CIA in the Bay of Pigs invasion, and the resulting catastrophy that happened at the Bay of Pigs, April 17, 1961.

The JFK assassination had Operation Mongoose, and it’s satellite operation, Op-40, George H. W. Bush and Bill Liedke’s well funded little group of assassins and exposives experts, and Antonio Veciana’s Alpha 66, as suppliers of the men who hated Kennedy the most. Yet, I don’t think that MacNamara neccessarily knew about their plot. He was in contact with many of the people who were directly involved in it.

But, I also think that what may well have happened in both, the Vietnam war and the Kennedy assassination is that, once all the violent revolutionary groups wanted to do Kennedy, anyone who stood in their way might well have gottne knocked off as well. That is what happened with Lee Oswald, after all.

It would be called a spiraling of disastrous decisions that, once operational, could not be stopped. Such is the fear created by the fact that the control of any government over it’s people lies in it’s war powers. Sad, but true. Kennedy could have done what Rep. Robert Wexler did when his life was threatened during the 2000 Florida handcounting that Bush and Baker 111 wanted stopped. Wexler went on national TV news and told the public about it. That ended whatever plots existed against his life.

Going public is one thing that seems to stop such things from happening.

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By Robert, July 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sorry, I messed up with the link to the article in my comment the other day.. Here it is
Who Was Robert McNamara?

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By Rontruth, July 10, 2009 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment

I think that the mob, with whom Oswald had contact, as well as the CIA with whom Oswald had contact and did specific things, such as he and Judyth Baker and Dr. Alton Oschner’s cancer-to-kill-Castro with work in NO which was done for the CIA while Oswald was reporting on all CIA anti-Castro Cuban exile activities in NO to the FBI office there to a SA John Quigley.

When the CIA people like Frank Sturgis of Operation 40 learned about it, they went to CIA/mob operatives like David Ferrie who knew Oswald ever since Oswald was a teenie-bopper in the Louisiana Civil Air Patrol, and they, and Dr. Oschner, who had found out that Oswald was a snitch to the FBI after Oswald and Baker protested Oschner’s use of male prisoners as guinee-pigs for the testing of the SD-40 cancer viral strains they had isolated, they decided that Oswald was too much of a risk.

They went through Ferrie and Clay Shaw who was connected to both Dallas mayor, Earl Cabbel, and to D. H. Byrd who had started the Lousiana Civil Air Patrol that Ferrie and Oswald were part of in the 1950’s, and got Oswald the job in October, 1963 at the Texas School Book Depository that Byrd owned at that time. Oswald thought he was working for Hoover’s FBI and thought Hoover would do what JFK asked him to do which was to get the secret anti-Castro Cuban, illegal in 1963 under JFK’s deal with Russia to end the missile crisis in October, ‘62, training camps closed down.

Oswald was part of that operation for Hoover. When Oswald was sent to Dallas by the CIA which was then in set up mode to blame Oswald for what they then thought was be easier than trying, as they had so many times unsuccessfully, to kill Fidel, by turning their guns on JFK and Oswald who had the job at the TSBD so they could use the Secret Service to change JFK’s route through Dallas. They did so, and, though Oswald knew, and told Judyth in phone calls that he knew he would be blamed, it was too late for him to extract himself from inside the plot.

They would have killed him, either way. He played the intel game and lost. This led to the MIC’s 10 year war in Vietnam that MacNamara said killed 3.5 MILLION innocent civilians in “Nam.”

Oswald had hand-delivered a note to SA James Hosty the week before the assassination that he knew was coming. A note was discovered by the Dallas FBI office the evening of the same day Oswald brought in the note. To 100 FBI field offices all over the country, getting even into newspapers and on TV news, the message: “a violent, revolutionary group is planning to assassinate Pres. Kennedy on Nov. 22-23, 1963.” Please advise all CPS to check into local revolutionary groups and report to local FBI.”

On the following Monday, Hoover went on national TV and said that the “note was a hoax.” He knew otherwise. Two and one half hours after the assassination, and Dallas police sent a Memo to Hoover saying that they had other suspects being held in the case. Hoover wrote in his own handwriting: “No need to pursue other suspects. Real culprit is in custody.”

If you go to and get the dvd, “The Grassy Knoll,” which is an investigation by ex-FBI special agents who knew the case well, and the tip they got from an Informant, you will learn about the man, still alive today, that they had the goods on, and presented it to him. He was unable to deny it any further, especially with the bullet shell casing found under several inches of dirt with his teethmarks in it.

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By Amon Drool, July 10, 2009 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

excuse me ...when ruby popped oswald….gettin’ old

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By Amon Drool, July 10, 2009 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

since this thread has taken a turn to the kennedy assassination, i might as well chime in.  when oswald popped ruby, many europeans added 2 & 2 together and figured it was pretty much a mob hit.  why would the mob want kennedy hit?  a pbs frontline of years ago had an ex-mob lawyer say that the initial target was bobby k.  bobby had gone after the mob-connected jimmy hoffa.  this was like a double-cross to the mob.  supposedly, joe kennedy sr. had met with the chicago mob previous to the 1960 election and convinced them to do everything they could to get jack the win in tightly contested illinois.  in 1961 or ‘62, bobby’s justice department loaded the head of the new orleans mob on a plane and deported him to some central american country.  this was done on some pretty shakey legal grounds and the new orleans mob head had his deportation overturned by the supreme court and returned to the US in the early winter of ‘63.  oswald was living in NO at the time…street pamphleting for a less hardline stance toward cuba.  it has been conjectured that the mob found their nut in oswald and maybe promised him safe passage to cuba if he would do a deed for them.  couple this with oswald’s craving to be a world-historical figure, and u got a guy good-to-go.  the initial plan to pop bobby was nixed by the larger mob…the thinking being it was best to cut off the head.  i do consider it a possibility that some in the CIA were aware that a mob hit was going down.  but it seems to me that after ruby’s act, the assassination can be primarily placed in the hands of the mob.

sirhan sirhan’s last job was at the hollywood park racetrack in LA.  it’s been said that mob had a strong influence in the day-to-day running of the track during that time.  sirhan was a pissed palestinian…especially after the ‘67 war.  would the mob want the hard-charging bobby to become president?  i’m pretty sure bobby’s stance on israel was one of unconditional support (just like my unthinking position at the time)  would sirhan make a sacrifice of himself if the mob offered to funnel a decent amount of cash to support the palestinian rsistance?  i realize this is all conjecture…but methinks plausible conjecture.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, July 10, 2009 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment
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As far as I can tell the JFK assassination conspiracy theorists invent things out of whole cloth.  Like the Johnson - H L Hunt meeting to discuss getting rid of JFK.  First it’s mafia gangsters from Chicago, then it’s Texas oil men who are responsible for the assassination.  The LBJ - Hunt meeting was supposed to have taken place after Johnson “lost the primaries” to Kennedy.  But Johnson was never a candidate in the primaries that year.

The reason usually cited by the conspiracy theorists for getting rid of JFK is that he had suddenly become a man of peace who was going to pull
out of Vietnam and change the course of western civilization.  The fact is that the military industrial complex never had a better friend than Kennedy.  In his three years in office he added ten thousand nuclear warheads to the US arsenal.  He started the nuclear submarine program and single handedly started the nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union.  The infamous cost over-runs for new bombers and other weapons started with his administration.  He approved the assassination attempts on Castro which were continuing at the time of his own assassination.  He started what evolved into The School of the Americas as part of his Alliance for Progress in Latin America which amounted to little more than a cover for covert US military activity.  He continued to call for vastly increased defense budgets even after the Cuban missile crisis when his change of heart was supposed to have happened.  These are matters of historical record and there is nothing in that record that would make any of the power elites or their servants in Washington believe that Kennedy had abandoned them.  Kennedy gave good speeches about world peace and brotherhood and then did the opposite of what he promised in those speeches, much as Obama does today.  If you read his speeches or listen to some of them on youtube, Kennedy sounds too good to be true, but as with Obama it is what is going on behind the scenes that is important.

There is a possibility that the mafia was involved in the assassination because they felt betrayed when Robert Kennedy as AG started a campaign against organized crime.  The mafia in Chicago had a hand in the election fraud which gave the state to Kennedy in the 1960 election.  That is the only conspiracy theory that anyone could make a case for.

Who are the men who snap their fingers and order world events to suit their purposes?  I don’t think the world works that way and that’s the problem I have with conspiracy theories.  The people behind them are believed to be all powerful and they never make mistakes.  By definition, that is God.

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By Folktruther, July 10, 2009 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

Doublestandards stance is interesting.  C Wright Mills defined as ‘crackpot realism’ the views of policy makers who considered themselves ‘Realists.’  there is also a ‘crackpot rationalism’ of people like double who have never considered the evidence in a holistic way and never came in contact with serious people who did, people like the fanatical reseracher Peter Dale Scott, a professor at Berkeley.

It is this crackpot rationalism that the power structure caters to branding truthers ‘conspiracy theorists.’  they identify with the conventional Educated and Informed truth to the point where anything outside it which is sleazed by power is obviously absurd.  This crackpot rationalism is usually implanted in a midbrow consciousness, like that of Inherit, and since it can only be maintained by remaining ignorant, the non-mainstream truth is simply the subject of rhetorical slurs.

Double, your comment indicates a deep, abiding ignorance which I do not hope to shake, but to point out to those less obtuse.  Learning history is much more difficult than rocket science because power structures lie incessantly about it.  If history is the memory of states, as Kissinger conceived it, the history of the people ruled by the states must be uncovered in the teeth of state ideoligical repression.  Which crackpot rationalists like you help to support.

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By Charlene, July 10, 2009 at 8:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My mother taught me to say only good about the dead, so here goes:

Robert McNamara is dead.  GOOD!

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By Anarcissie, July 10, 2009 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

‘Re: Folktruther

Your comment: “What is most important about the Kennedy assassination is not who killed Kennedy.”

I disagree.  The question is WHO killed Kennedy?  And if it was Oswald, what was the motivation….. who was BEHIND it?  These are the relevant issues. ...’

They might be if someone could come up with good evidence that one party or another was responsible.  Or not.  If, for instance, it was a Mafia hit—the Kennedys seem to have been involved with organized crime, although the relationships aren’t clear—it would be just the Mafia doing its thing and wouldn’t prove very much.  Whereas, as Folktruther says, the lying and obfuscation about the event was rather impressive.

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By Rontruth, July 10, 2009 at 6:05 am Link to this comment

You may well be correct. The coverup was, afterall, a coverup of “who was behind the JFK assassination.” And, that is very important. Especially now, with all that has happened in our name over the decades since that awful day when Nostradamus’s “Great Man” was slain.

As far as who actually fired the fatal shots from behind the, at that time, white picket fence on the grassy hill (knoll), about the best place I’ve seen is I don’t know how he did it, but Wim Dankbaar, a wealthy Dutch businessman, has, among the many fine pieces of hard, clear evidence presented, apparently found what Orville Nix had lost to the FBI.

At the site, if you click on “The Grassy Knoll,” you will be taken to a page of photographs of the north side of Dealey Plaza that were taken within a few seconds to a couple of minutes after the shots were fired. In the top couple of descriptive paragraphs you will see the words, “Was James Files captured on camera?” Click there. You will be taken to a page that contains a very large photo of a silhouette of a man walking away from the area behind the Pergola and white cement wall toward the Texas School Book Depository building.

Scroll about half way down the page. There you will see a running film clip taken from bystander, Orville Nix’s color home movie of the motorcade, including the assassination sequence. It appears that Dankbaar has, through his now extensive FBI connections, found the frames that Orville Nix told a TV interviewer in 1964 were missing. (As in likely removed by the FBI). If you look at it, and the still photo enlargement from the film, you can see a muzzle flash from the fence.

If you have a binoculars of good quality, you can do something interesting. Turn the binoculars backward. Look at the moving film clip through the binoculars being held backward. The closer you move in, the larger the objects in the film can be seen. What you see will shock you, as it did me. And to think that the FBI had to have known about this all along. Why else would they have removed the most telling frames from the film?

The James Files story was not one he, a prisoner at Stateville Prison, Joliet, Illinois for attempting to shoot a Chicago undercover cop, ever wanted told. Ex-long time FBI Special Agents gave a tip to a Dallas, Texas private investigation firm. They carried the ball in the investigation that began in the late 1980’s. What they have unearthed since then is truly magnanamous in scope. The CIA and FBI have doggedly tried to publically destroy the James Files story.  That was my first clue that the story is likely very true.

Just knowing about the figure that appears in Nix’s little film clip, is what made me determined to study the JFK assassination out. And the fact that Files, once the evidence, including a bullet casing that contained marks in it that he told about before the investigators told him of the marks on the casing, is all the proof anyone should need. He was there, and one of two shooters who stood behind that fence that day and fired the fatal shot to JFK’s head.

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By Alan Brown, July 10, 2009 at 1:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

War will not end until the right of self determination is recognized.

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By Outraged, July 10, 2009 at 12:40 am Link to this comment

Re: Folktruther

Your comment: “What is most important about the Kennedy assassination is not who killed Kennedy.”

I disagree.  The question is WHO killed Kennedy?  And if it was Oswald, what was the motivation….. who was BEHIND it?  These are the relevant issues.

This thing stinks to high heaven.  As it does with Martin Luther King Jr.

“Against all enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC”.

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By Rontruth, July 9, 2009 at 11:06 pm Link to this comment

The witness who was LBJ’s lady friend for 21 years,  Madeleine Duncan Brown was present with Lyndon after the primary election in 1960 was over. After the balloting, LBJ, Haroldson Laverne Hunt, then the apparently wealthiest man on earth, from what he told Brown, got together. H. L. Hunt told LBJ, “Well, Lyndon, we’ve lost a battle. But, we will win the war.”

On the morning of November 22, 1963, H. L. Hunt had ordered the printing up of thousands of leaflets, calling Kennedy a “traitor,” and listed what big oil Hunt thought were JFK’s many foreign policy sins. He had them passed out to bystanders who were gathering to witness the Kennedy motorcade.

Madeleine witnessed Hunt’s presence at several meetings of the 8F Group. One of them included Nixon, J. Edgar Hoover, LBJ, John Connolly, Allen Dulles, an African American man who was there in place of soon-to-be Warren Commission member, Gerald R. Ford, Sid Richardson, and Clint Murchison, Jr. who lived in his father’s house. The three main mob leaders at that time were also present.

The cover-story was that it was a party to honor Hoover. The real meeting took place in a conference room inside the large home. Johnson emerged 20 minutes later, and whispered loudly to Madeleine that “After tomorrow, those———Kennedy’s will never again embarrass me. That’s no threat. That’s a promise.” This statement by Brown is corroborated by another woman, who worked in another Murchison home.

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By Rontruth, July 9, 2009 at 7:35 pm Link to this comment

You said it better than I ever could have. My hat is off to you, sir. The importance of the Kennedy assassination is important, for the most part, because of what it led to. It is, at least now after 45 and 1/2 years, however, the most well studied and well documented of these major catastrophic events.

Some of the old people today whose offspring have “served” in positions of “high elective office” and the actions they took recently are a direct result of the coverup of the now long ago JFK murder and, yes, especially the coverup of it.

What I believe is now needed is massive public support, by people calling in to radio talk shows, and Op-Ed pieces, letters to the editors of newspapers, etc. This is the way that, over a relatively short period of time, the real truth is spread. That then, and has in the past, forced the vermin to contact their media minions and try to get them to mix the truth with a lot of lies, thereby trying to obfuscate the truth.

Obfuscation is what they are most successful at. But, if as it was when President Clinton was being impeached, people like me just kept calling in to those darned, pesky regional and national talk radio shows, and you could tell when us callers had done a good job: Clinton’s poll numbers would jump maybe 8 or 10 percentage points over what they were the previous day.

Ordinary people can make a real difference. They may not win, but at least they have a clear conscience and know that they did their best for their country. The other side of all of this is faith.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, July 9, 2009 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The fantasies about JFK here are quite amusing.  FYI Rontruth, LBJ did not lose any primaries to JFK in 1960 because he never entered any of the primaries that year.  American history is not rocket science.  Anyone can learn provided he gets off the grassy knolls first.

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By Folktruther, July 9, 2009 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment

What is most important about the Kennedy assassination is not who killed Kennedy.  What is most important is that the available evidence indicates that Oswald could not possibly have killed him alone.  That the entire Warren Commission was a crude public relations fraud which supported the cover story and didn’t look at the availible evidence.

I didn’t pay any attention to the Kennedy assasination until the early 1970’s when I saw Bertrand Russell highly recommend Mark Lane’s RUSH TO JUDGEMENT.  the forward was by the eminent British historian Taylor.  I got interested and read the book and was amazed to discover that the whole media enterprise was a fraud.  A few other books confirmed it. 

It was a life changing realization.  It simply never occurred to me that the US power structure would lie on such a scale, or could lie on such a scale.  It was the assassination coverup that was the most significat historical event, and getting away with that made the other assassinations, notably the Robert Kennedy and King murders. more likely.  And this led to the mass murder of the 9/11- antrax public relations event.

after the shock of 9/11, which initiated an American violence era, these individual murders seem quaint.  But that is one of the threads that make up the historical tapestry of the War on Terrorism.  If the American power structure could get away with such blatant fraud, then why not do it again?  And they have.  Again, and again and again.

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By SteveL, July 9, 2009 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment

Truman pulled the trigger on the first “Presidential War”, Johnson did the second.  McNamara was just a cog in the wheel.  All it would take is for the feckless in congress to inform the President they will not fund anymore wars that congress does not declare.

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By Anarcissie, July 9, 2009 at 3:28 pm Link to this comment

‘It’s a funny thing. Everyone I meed - almost everyone that is - knows that there was a conspiracy around the assassinations of the 60s.  But to speak openly of what everyone knows is to make oneself appear insane. ...’

I believe a majority of those Americans who are interested at all in the subject believe that there was some sort of conspiracy, or at least that there is evidence strongly implying it, if not proving it.  You can’t really take the stance a lonely Cassandra if you agree with the majority.  A problem does arise if you tirelessly insist that it was some specific party, especially a recondite one, without presenting conclusive evidence.  And if you did have conclusive evidence, what do you suppose the people who wiped out a president, his assassin, his assassin’s assassin, and his presidential-candidate brother and got away with it would do to you?

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By Ed Harges, July 9, 2009 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

After the shame of Vietnam, we almost started to become a better country. America did the healthiest, most moral thing it could possibly do: it dared to think maybe it wasn’t so great, and maybe it should get over itself.

It’s really too bad that America’s healing period of self-doubt and introspection following Vietnam was cut short. 

But after Israel’s victory in the 1967 war, a big chunk of the left morphed into either neoconservatives and or their close cousins, the militantly pro-Israel “Scoop Jackson Democrats”, thus guaranteeing that liberals would lose the political battles over foreign policy.

No matter which party was in power, America would continue the same hateful, murderous Middle East policy, and that policy would remain the main business of American foreign policy. In fact, our unquestioning, violent, hugely expensive support for Israel, and the adoption of Israel’s enemies as our own mortal enemies, has becaome our national purpose. Nothing else in our governance is so unvarying and so impervious to being questioned. After the Cold War ended, this syndrome became even more exclusively the central preoccupation of US foreign policy.

In recent decades, to some extent, US foreign policy in other parts of the world — say Latin America — could be significantly different under Democratic rule. But the single most disastrous, criminal, and hugely expensive aspect of our foreign policy — our insanely self-sacrificing and pro-Israel fanaticism — is as unchanging as the Pyramids of Egypt.

So it worked. It worked better than any anti-depressant drug on the market. Once again, we loved ourselves as the nation embodying Goodness Itself. The nagging voices of doubt were suppressed. We can feel great about ourselves, because Israel is infinitely special, and therefore, as Israel’s selfless servant, we’re Special, too. That’s why Jesus loves us more than He loves anybody else! That’s why what we did in Vietnam doesn’t matter! That’s why we never have to reflect on Hiroshima, or on the mass fire-bombings of civilians we committed in World War II! We have made it all OK because we’re Israel’s Best Friend Forever!

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By Robert, July 9, 2009 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t think McNamara was evil like Cheney or Rumsfeld.  He seems to have some conscience and has been manipulated into escalating the Vietnam war by the intelligence community.

This article: <a >Who Was Robert McNamara?</a> goes into great detail his situation and the manipulation surrounding him.

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By TAO Walker, July 9, 2009 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

Robert Scheer here picks out yet another hapless incarnation of “evil” to throw to a mob hungry for somebody ELSE to blame.  He might more beneficially employ his not inconsiderable talents, and this forum, to encourage his readers to examine their own attitudes/beliefs/assumptions for those things that erupted in Madoff and McNamara (f’r instance) on the “epic” scale that made those two liable to so much of the self-righteous indignation so much in-evidence here.

There isn’t a domesticated “individual” on the planet who doesn’t carry in his/her colonized psyche and captive imagination the pre-programming required to behave just the same….given the “right” circumstances.  So long as the media up-chucks a CONstant stream of scape-goats, though, their “CONsumer-base” remains slaphappily CONvinced the execrable propensities they are pleased to deplore exist only in “others.”

Let’s see Robert Scheer dig-up and expose to fresh-air and Sunlight the truth of some of those tendencies in his own make-up.  He admitted in-passing some time ago, for example, in a conversation with Gore Vidal, his (crippling?) addiction to (false) “comfort” and “modern” CONvenience.  Let’s have a ‘riff’ on how that alone, multiplied by a couple/three billion, just has to play-out, in a world already stressed nearly to death by such rampant self-indulgence. 

Enough self-serving “projection”!  Clarity, too, begins “at-home.”


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By Rontruth, July 9, 2009 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

JohannG. What do you think of either, Robert Wexler, who spoke out boldly about the rip-off of the 2000 Florida election, and the threats against his life by the Bush/Baker 111/Rove/Big Texi’s oil CIA team?

I wonder whatever happened to him. He had been a US Representative from Florida back then.
How about Dennis Kucinich?
Governor Jesse Ventura?

How about John F. Kennedy, Jr.? Oh, woopsi, I forgot;they offed him just like LBJ and his friend, Robert MacNamara (no one said Mac was on the knoll that day. But, Gen. Edward Lansdale, who worked in covert ops for Mac. was no stranger to LBJ.

We need a combination of Oliver Stone and Michael Moore to do another blockbuster that updates all the latest information such as was only suspected back in 1990 and ‘91 when “JFK” was filmed.

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By JohannG, July 9, 2009 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

Thoughtful piece. Even though McNamara was not an evil man, humanity would surely be better off had he not been born at all. He was ambitious and cock-sure of himself. If we want to prevent incidents similar to those that involved Mr. McNamara we may be well advised to elect non-ambitious, self-doubting leaders. But that’s a fundamental problem in our Democracy: Those that are best suited to lead lack the ambition to run for office, while those that run for office are by definition unsuited to lead.

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By Rontruth, July 9, 2009 at 11:27 am Link to this comment

Wonderful analysis. I was just musng that if we could convince enough people to just go ahead and “appear insane,” perhaps then we could cause the societal change that I think we, more or less, all seek. It would be kind the reverse of those words from someone that said: “Treason doth never prosper. What’s the reason? If it prospers, none dare call it treason.” I guess what I was musing about was that “Insanity does never prosper. What’s the reason? Well, if it prospers, none dare call it insanity.”

Hey, let’s all spend ten minutes a day telling the real truth to family who might listen, friends who might listen, call-in shows like Alex Jones, or others who might listen. Preachers who don’t mind birdwalking a bit, teachers who teach one how to think, but do not tell one all the time, at least, what to know, etc.

Like at a folk music concert I attended at Berkely campus a few years ago, a lady in the large audience could NOT sing. When the rest of the audience got tired of listening to her baleful sounds, they quit singing, and only she and Peter, Paul and Mary were singing. It didn’t take her long to stop.

In other words, whatever seems to be accepted somehow shunts to the side that which is sour grapes to them. If, on the other hand, that woman had been singing like most of the rest, then people who could “sing” probably would stop when singing along with the just the group on stage.

So, what is truth if we don’t just go ahead and say it, regardless of whom we fear might not listen to it. They just might.

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By BobZ, July 9, 2009 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

Reading these comments about the Vietnam era reminded me of Oliver Stone’s comment on Bill Maher’s show about how our troops retained their sanity in an insane war by taking drugs. We knew we were being forced to do evil things in a country we had no business being in. Fast forward four decades later and we are at it again only with no access to drugs, so many of our military are committing suicide.

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By adrienrain, July 9, 2009 at 10:57 am Link to this comment

It’s a funny thing. Everyone I meed - almost everyone that is - knows that there was a conspiracy around the assassinations of the 60s.  But to speak openly of what everyone knows is to make oneself appear insane.

The ultimate mindf***

So, no, I don’t think the case will ever be seriously investigated again. And soon enough, those of us who lived through those years will be gone. Probably most of the real evidence was destroyed years ago. And so the Great Coup was an unqualified success.

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By Rontruth, July 9, 2009 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

When one looks at what Johnson allowed MacNamara to do (and Johnson could have stopped it, but he knew that those who knew his secrets (the secrets of Dallas, Texas, November 22, 1963, that propelled him into the White House, and out of a potentially long prison term for corruption with Estes and Baker, including 8 unexplained murders, as described in Estes’ 1984 affidavit in his coruption trial (that included the assassination of President Kennedy), Johnson gave the Pentagon and CIA what at that time Kellogg-Brown and Root (remember Cheney’s “old” company under Halliburton??) wanted! This has to be the loooongest sentence in human history. But, it is how a loooong war was brought about.

Kellogg- Brown and Root “earned” more than $1 Billion in profits. Brown was part of Brown Bros. Harriman. They were the primary funding source for George H. W. Bush’s in the 1950s upstart company, Zapata Oil/Zapata Offshore. He became an asset to the CIA in it’s efforts to rid Cuba of Castro who had nationalized Zapata’s offshore rigs that were under contract with Texaco. Oh, joy!

When Kennedy failed to use US military might to guarantee Castro’s removal by Brigade 2506 at the Bay of Pigs landings in April, 1961, he and the whole Operation 40, Alpha 66, Operation Mongoose CIA/mob-led cabal worked on Haroldson Laverne Hunt’s plot to get rid of JFK, made by he and Johnson after Johnson lost the 1960 primaries to Kennedy. The deal with the CIA was sealed when Kennedy made his deal with Kruschev that left Castro in power in Cuba with the removal of Russian nukes from Cuba, and the removal of US Jupiter nukes from Turkey.

The whole US military-intelligence-industrial complex was white hot with JFK over his exit from the Cuban Missile Crisis, using it instead for his own political gain. His numbers skyrocketed to 71% approval ratings. This was especially true AFTER his deal with Russia that included the no-invasion of Cuba pledge.

If you go to website, and, under the link, “Documentary,” get the dvd, “The Grassy Knoll,” you will meet the real killer , still alive today whose group had been infiltrated by FBI Informant #S-2-179 (Lee Harvey Oswald, who reported this to the Dallas FBI office), and He was nothing like the Warren Commission made him out to be!

Best of all, that dvd and the documented information it contains, are presented by former FBI Special Agents who had gained knowledge of this information from inside Hoover’s bureau. All of the former investigators and consultants for the House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations have signed on to it.

The truth, if used properly, can make us free. We can work to change by comparing and contrasting constitutional democracy with the lying words of those who say them publicly, but, in reality are only hiding behind what they say publicly.

I do sometimes wonder if we can ever come to a simple dedication to what is morally true, even if it means that we do not necessarily live lives of wealth. I know people who are poor as far as wealth goes, but who are the happiest people I ever met.

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By Night-Gaunt, July 9, 2009 at 9:34 am Link to this comment

Sun Yat Sin approached the USA twice about helping them get their independence from France, the way we did from England. After WWI & WWII and were rebuffed each time. What does that tell you?

By the 1880’s the Black Flag guerillas were fighting the colonial Catholic French in their Buddhist country of Viet-Nam.

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By photoshock, July 9, 2009 at 5:40 am Link to this comment

The history of the United States involvement within Vietnam begins with the ending of World War II.
Then President Harry Truman, began our involvement by absolving the French nation of any moral obligation they had to the people of Vietnam.
The government of the US signed agreements in Paris, obligating it to recognize the rights of the people of Vietnam, to self determination of government and our obligation to support the free and fair elections of Vietnamese representatives in their own government.
Yet, the two-faced, imperialistic regime of all the American presidents, has emerged as a cancer on the world’s stage. We the people, cannot help but bear the consequences of our inability to see through the lies and deception to face the truth that, our government, and ourselves are responsible for all of the atrocities that have been perpetrated in our names. We, the people, must demand an accurate and complete accounting of the wrongs done in our names, for the sake of our country and the world. It is not enough that we cannot take into account the atrocities done in our name, we must prosecute and imprison those who have perpetrated these atrocities, and let the world know through our actions that we have reformed and become a responsible and honest country, part of the world community, instead of being the ‘cowboy’ country that we always have been since the inception of this ‘Grand Experiment.’

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By coloradokarl, July 9, 2009 at 5:18 am Link to this comment

The article says it is about selling bombs. “same as it ever was” David Byrne….......

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By Anarcissie, July 9, 2009 at 5:09 am Link to this comment

Folktruther—You all will become radicals when you stop looking for the Good King.

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By Anarcissie, July 9, 2009 at 5:06 am Link to this comment

doc tom:
‘It is quite easy to argue against interventionism
as we see the price paid in lives and the loss of
America’s standing on the world stage. However, what will the response be if Iran’s theocracy falters and
a move toward democracy is pursued by the people of Iran. Will it be said that this occurred by chance or because of the intervention of the US in Iraq and Afganistan. I would be interested to see how historians will explain such a transformation if it should occur.’

If supposedly good things occur, then the historians who are servants of the ruling class will say that they occurred because of something the ruling class did.  Other historians will use common sense, or apply logic to the evidence, and probably come up with different hypotheses.  They will all be dealing in hypotheses because political events and processes are too complex to be subjected to mathematical proofs.  The moral side of the issues, however, is less obscure: either one believes it is all right to slaughter people in order to obtain some advantage or other, or one doesn’t.

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By White Noise, July 9, 2009 at 5:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is what happens when culprits are not pursued & punished…

Take 2 ?


“Americans do not have the intellectual capacity to revolt. All you need to keep them pacified is to give them a dozen donuts & a gun !”  - Max Keiser

“It’s here that the American dream decided it liked the taste of the vomit it was chocking on. Just rolled over on its back and screamed for more drugs. it didn’t die.“ - Warren Ellis

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By Cardboard_Man, July 9, 2009 at 12:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Reading this article reminded me of how despicable it was when the Bush/Cheney/Rove machine used Kerry’s testimony about the wrongness of Vietnam before congress as an attack.

And how stupid so many voters were when they actually bought into it as being somehow patriotic.  I just hope the turning tide shines brightly on how badly and corrupt his administration was; so it reflects on just how blind nationalism can make someone (especially when they can’t tell the difference between nationalism and patriotism)...

If patriotism was blind obedience, the revoulionary war would never have been fought.

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By notvictorcharlie, July 9, 2009 at 12:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Reason for the Viet Nam war of aggression

During the war I spent four years as a civilian in country helping the military destroy Viet Nam.  And after witnessing the carnage there during my youth, frequently wondered why we were there and I deluded myself into believing that altruism was the reason- for I could not at the time comprehend or believe any other.  Over the years as I gained a better understanding of my country and especially after having witnessed the recent example of America’s terrorist aggression in the Middle East that so far has caused several million causalities, including dead, injured, displaced, etc, I have come to believe that America, in so far as governance is concerned, is in reality, a conquered nation and not a democracy and that decisions as important as military aggression against other nations are not made by our puppet presidents and cabinets as proclaimed, but by the evil profit motivated shadow government.  Therefore my conclusion that the real reason for the war was an attempt to “democratize” and take over the country so that America’s corporate interests could pick a sweet plum and benefit from the enslavement of the millions of industrious new wage earners working for one twentieth of the wage of those in our nation and hence to enhance corporate America’s bottom-line and the nations economic position in the world. 
The war planners however failed because of their failure to understand the determination of the people both here and there. 
In the future, perhaps after the fall of the evil Empire, historians will write the truth about our involvement in that war.  But for now only the more astute and the shadow government knows.

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By rockinrobin, July 8, 2009 at 11:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Absolute evil is the AGENDA of a CRIMINALLY RUN GOV; who’s AGENDA is IDENTICAL: both Rep & Dem: it’s not a 2 party system at all; & NO politician is NOT evil; all a politician IS: is someone to SPEAK something to the PUBLIC: while BEHIND their back doing another;
Stimson, Sec of War, RECORDED Roosevelt’s “hope we don’t get hit to hard” as CONTRARY to the “I hate war!” secretly they KNOWINGLY provoked & GAVE THE INFO to Japan as to when & where to attack; Day of Deceit (book) details it along with many other papers NOT destroyed detailing it; even tho Truman gave the word, they already KNEW that they wanted to be bullies & tyrants to the WORLD: not just Americans;
When THE PICTURE: is TRUE: how Pentagon, Politicians WORK UNITEDLY with Halliburton, Monsanto (maker of Agent Orange, and WHITE PHOSPHORUS): and the TRILLIONS & TRILLIONS & TRILLIONS of $: they get from WAR: and their AGENDA to use CORPS in EVERY NATION: as Hitler did NOT commit suicide in a bunker, his body never found; (how gullible ARE PEOPLE?)
Lived out his fullness of days here in USA; well aquainted with him are Bush/Clintons & others; who’s names are interchangeable with Monsanto/Halliburton; the Pharma; they have made trillions more with “aids” drugs: since they sent aids to Africa to get trillions more claiming “population control”; in reality it is known as GREED: controlling & using chemicals in everything; controlling food chain, using chemicals in it; to cause disease; to get paid again when paying to get well; INFLATION comes from THEM inflating PRICES: as the “mentality” of the USA is that the PEOPLE MUST PAY; they ONLY EXIST to make them richer & richer & richer still; the $900,000,000,000.00 “lost” is pocket change to them; and FINANCIAL GAIN is like a cocaine addiction: they can & will NEVER get enough;
The GOV of OREGON, along with politicians HERE, were behind the “all military personnel have mental problems”; and “anti vet” just exactly like was in Nam; and the Corps refusing to “hire” them: instead promoting illegals; Bush paying $473m to rush “immigrants” thru citizenship to vote DEMOCRATIC: THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE between Rep/Dem/left/right: the AGENDA is to TARGET & HARM for personal profit & benefit;
I ABHOR the CRIMINAL CORRUPT Gov of the USA; while with all my being I LOVE MY COUNTRY: the PEOPLE, the LAND, the AIR (cough cough) and the WATER;
They are deliberately TRYING TO PROVOKE an attack on the USA by Russia & other nations, just like they did back on Pearl Harbor; WOULD that the PEOPLE of the USA would ever WAKE UP and FIGHT for FREEDOM and RETURN JUSTICE to the USA! (and globally)

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By Jon, July 8, 2009 at 11:43 pm Link to this comment
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McNamara was a thug, just like Rumsfeld.  Working as Curtis LeMay’s ‘statistician,’ McNamara, in WWII, monitored the firebombing of Japanese cities (that used napalm) to measure ‘effective kills.’  And then of course, was Vietnam, decades later.  In my historical memory of US officials, only Rumsfeld’s ego matches that of McNamara’s in the service of war, destruction, and killing of women and children, with a shrug.

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By Rontruth, July 8, 2009 at 11:32 pm Link to this comment

Dear DocTom:
There was once a song that had a line in it that said, “Doctor, my eyes have seen the years
and the slow parade of tears. I keep wondering when I’ll awaken from these dreams. I cannot see the sky. Was this the prize for having learned now not to cry?”

Another one a long time before that song asked, “How many times must the cannonballs fly before they’re forever banned.” It went further, “How many deaths will it take til’ he (anyone) knows that too many people have died?” Then, the best part of the song declares, “The answer, my friend, is blowin; in the wind. The answer is blowin’ in the wind.”

At the end of it, Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary, still, when she doesn’t have a chest infection from the leukemia drugs she took before her marrow graft was done four years ago, “The answer is all of us working for peace and justice and equality, and God bless you.”

As she, and all of us oldsters from the energy of the 1960s know, it can happen, even if for just a few years. We dreamed because we had dreamers whose dreams were put into works, not just words, and we marched, carried picket signs, called into Congress, and in to call-in radio shows and voiced our opinions, argued with call-in hosts who liked Nixon or Johnson, or war, and wanted “separate, but equal” (we knew those to be incongruous with each other), etc.

The real work is believing in onesself; believing that you can make a difference, and getting others to do the same. Strange, how when people listen to and hear the words of freedom, they somehow just rise to the occasion. I say to young people now: go out there and do it better than we did. Show us a thing or two. Show us up. We don’t mind learning more about what most Americans believe in.

This is not a Democrat or Republican or Independent message. It should be considered a personal message.
Now, you know why we liked Kennedy during his last year in office, and life. Especially where peace was concerned.

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By adrienrain, July 8, 2009 at 10:42 pm Link to this comment

Well, doc tom, suppose I, as a good neighbor, decide to kill various bad people in my neighborhood. Bad according to ME, that is. Lots of times, it works out and everyone is happy - but sometimes people don’t actually agree with my decision that some member of their family was better off dead.

Iran once elected a leader - democratically - that the US and UK didn’t like, so they went to some trouble to get rid of him and install the Shah. Years of repression followed and, lo and behold, as is often true, the people regained some strength and overthrew the Shah, and put in the present theocracy. Also, Iraq once had a kind of democracy, but we liked Saddam Hussein better. You know what followed, and even so, the people of Iraq were mostly better off under Hussein than they have been under the chaosocracy we’ve brought about since 2003.

I think it is quite hard enough to govern ones own society, and challenge enough, since a lot of kleptocrats seem to hold all the power here. 

No one would like it if I went from house to house in my neighborhood, telling people how to eat, what to think, how to raise their kids. What makes you think that a society welcomes such intervention.

Perhaps we should lead by example.

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By Serfer Joe, July 8, 2009 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

History repeats itself because no one listens the first time

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By doc tom, July 8, 2009 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment

It is quite easy to argue against interventionism
as we see the price paid in lives and the loss of
America’s standing on the world stage. However, what will the response be if Iran’s theocracy falters and
a move toward democracy is pursued by the people of Iran. Will it be said that this occurred by chance or because of the intervention of the US in Iraq and Afganistan. I would be interested to see how historians will explain such a transformation if it should occur.

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By adrienrain, July 8, 2009 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment

Yes, Rontruth, your posts are very enlightening and clarifying.

I intend (sometime in August) to write an alternative obit on Mcnamara. And I intend to put up on my Post Modern Blues website some interesting video and mp3 clips related to the JFK assassination. Just to see them all in one place.

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By Folktruther, July 8, 2009 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for your post, rontruth. I’ve never seen the case laid out so clearly and simply.

The difference, Anarcissie, between McNamara and others was that he was more powerful and a key enabler of the war.  Johnson was more responsible of course, since authorized combat troops, but next to him, McNamera.

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By wysiwyg, July 8, 2009 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Find out how the power elites have been able to repeatedly screw a nation of children.  I submit that they acquired these skills by first practicing on flesh and blood children.

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By Rontruth, July 8, 2009 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie: I agree that Kennedy, who inherited anywhere from 1,000 up to the 2.500 advisor figure from Eisenhower and Nixon (Nixon being likely the main driving force behind the Eisenhower plan to set a scenario that would require military interventiion, and I think the real plan was, intervention at some point in time (ie. “let’s try to get it to wait until after I (Eisenhower) am safely out of office.” speculation on my part), was because Nixon was really following the ideas of Senator Prescott Bush, who was in some ways, Nixon’s political mentor, along witg others.

But, my main thesis is that Kennedy became, after the end of the Cuban missile crisis, a re-made man. He and Kruschev both saw things on an entirely different ideological and philosophical basis than they had prior to that scary 13 days in October. Some, like Kennedy’s actual killer, still alive today, have said: the whole Cuban missile crisis was cooked up to be the thriller that it was to most of us, to make them look better at home. I do not necessarily follow that train of thought. But James Files says he learned that from Operation 40 leader, Frank Sturgis who was one of the Cuban CIA thugs on the grassy knoll according to Files.

I find that hard to believe because Kennedy had by that time only recently turned down the Pentagon’s red-flag operation, Operation Northwoods, that involved Cubans of American descent and their CIA leaders creating a plan whereby Americans would fly US bombers, repainted to look like Cuban bombers, and would kill enough Americans such that Kennedy would have to order an American invasion of Cuba. Kennedy turned it down. Why would he then risk far more by doing a dance with Castro that could easily have produced nuclear war?

But, Sturgis was, as all CIA and organized crime thugs are, a well polished liar.

I’ve no doubt that Kennedy was a non-communist. But the idea that he would foment a war, especially after he slammed the door in the CIA’s face, twice, by pulling the plug on the second planned invasion of Cuba, and ordering the pullout from Vietnam, as far as I’m concerned, means that Kennedy had changed fundamentally from whatever he was in the 1950s.

It was, I believe, that fundamental change that he tried to introduce to the American people, who, in large numbers were beginning to get the idea that there WAS a real chance for world peace, that brought about the four to six shots fired, based on 74% of the recorded witness testimony (not the WC whose big leader, Ford, admitted what he did with respect to Pres. Kennedy’s back would, in 1995), that killed Kennedy.

It seems to me today that, regardless of the naysayers about the possibility of peace, we still have a chance to go back to those Kennedy policies. The world loved him. There was a reason that had nothing to do with the simple fact of his death alone. It was his life during his last year of life.

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By JimBob, July 8, 2009 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment

Don’t forget Agent Orange.  The Vietnamese are still dealing with it.

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By Anarcissie, July 8, 2009 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment

‘BobZ. I think your assessment of Ike’s supposed innocense is quite naive’. Eisenhower ordered Nixon and Dulles of CIA to “set up a scenario for war with North Vietnam, beginning around 1954, when, though France was falling out of it, the real reason for the US increasing involvement after the CIA sent Lucien Conein, David Atlee Phillips for a short time, along with Mitchell Livingston Werbell 111, Ike began sending in the “military advisors” to train South Vietnamese soldiers to fight the Viet-Minh, who later became the Viet Cong.

Kennedy inherited about 2,500 such “advisors” ....’

1100, actually, according to every source I have read, in the MAAG program, which was started under Truman, not Eisenhower.  And they were advisors, not quote-advisors-end-of-quote, because Diem and other Vietnamese leaders were unwilling to hand over command and control to the Americans or allow them to fight in their own units on the ground.  (Diem and company were serious nationalists.)

In regard to setting up scenarios for war, one should understand that the military, the State Department, the CIA, and so on, are constantly making plans for wars and other operations everywhwere, at least in outline, no matter how improbable the action may seem.  There are no doubt plans somewhere to invade Uzbekistan and Uruguay.  In the case of hot items like Cuba or Vietnam, there were and are many plans and scenarios adaptable to a variety of situations.  Usually, the existence of such plans does not prove anything.  It is necessary to look at what is actually done.  After the fall of Dien Bien Phu and the retirement of the French from Indochina, Nixon and Cardinal Spellman, then an important political actor, and others urged a full-scale intervention, not just a concoction of plans.  Eisenhower seems to have humored them, but, being cautious and conservative, he was a believer in the proverb that one should avoid getting involved in a war on the Asian land mass, a principle which had just been reinforced by the Korean War, and does not seem to have done much.  Just going by head count, the invasion plans had to wait for Eisenhower’s successor.

Incidentally, then Senator John Kennedy was involved in a group called the “American Friends of Vietnam” whose mission was to generate public support for intervention.  In this case he was on the same page as his rival Nixon.


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By hippie4ever, July 8, 2009 at 3:37 pm Link to this comment

Good riddance, and let him rest in disturbance. Let the worms do the necessary work. If there’s a hell, no doubt McNamera was greeted by Satan personally and escorted as befitting a sordid soulmate. This bloodless intellectual set the standard for dishonesty in a perpetual war, for absolutely no good reason, and we suffer from its legacy.

I trust someone watched the body, all scrubbed and secured, and still dead. They are cremating it, aren’t they?

Robert McNamera is still dead, isn’t he?

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By Anarcissie, July 8, 2009 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

I don’t really see how McNamara differed substantially from the people he worked with and for, or their predecessors and successors.

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By Oggie, July 8, 2009 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment
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Thanks, Bob.  You nailed it again.  Irony: that the man responsible for so many deaths lived to a ripe old age.

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By MrArkadin, July 8, 2009 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment

“Perhaps if McNamara had been held legally accountable for his actions, the architects of the Iraq debacle might have paused.”

No, they would not have paused a nanosecond.

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By Hulk2008, July 8, 2009 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment

When the Rich And Powerful get their hands on the government, especially the armed forces, it matters little what country they are in ..... the lust for power overwhelms them - like “The Dark Side of The Force, Luke”.
  So Curtis LeMay lied, Westmoreland lied, McNamara lied, LBJ lied, Nixon lied, Cheney lied, Rove lied, Scooter lied, W and Ike and JFK were mostly befuddled and brow beaten by their more powerful “advisors”.  And grunts paid with their lives, limbs, and families.  Many of us made it through unscathed ... lucky to be in the right places at the right times - but still angry about being lied to.  Thanks, Bob Scheer, for putting some words to our pent up anger.

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By Rontruth, July 8, 2009 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

BobZ. I think your assessment of Ike’s supposed innocense is quite naive’. Eisenhower ordered Nixon and Dulles of CIA to “set up a scenario for war with North Vietnam, beginning around 1954, when, though France was falling out of it, the real reason for the US increasing involvement after the CIA sent Lucien Conein, David Atlee Phillips for a short time, along with Mitchell Livingston Werbell 111, Ike began sending in the “military advisors” to train South Vietnamese soldiers to fight the Viet-Minh, who later became the Viet Cong.

Kennedy inherited about 2,500 such “advisors” and built them up to about 16,000 by September, 1963 when he was interviewed by CBS News, Walter Kronkite. Kennedy made a strong verbal hint that he intended to have the public understand that, “In the final analysis, it is their (the Vietnamese people) war. They are the ones who have to win it or lose it. We can give them weapons and munititions and other support.” On October 11, 1963, he issued National Security Action Memo #263, in which he ordered the beginning of the withdrawal of all US forces from Vietnam, to be completed by the end of 1965.

The Memo #273, that countermanded Kennedy’s withdrawal order was drafted five days before Kennedy’s assassination/execution in Dallas, Texas on Friday, Nov. 22, 1963. Johnson, who was headed for being dropped from Kennedy’s 1964 re-election bid so he would face trial for his more than ten years of corruption, mostly in Texas, woule stand trial if he were not on Kennedy’s 1964 ticket.

Johnson had become a major political liability to JFK. He had been investigated by the House Judiciary Committee and Ways and Means Committee and would likely have ended up serving prison time. That was his motivation for hiding behind all the other warmongering groups who hated Kennedy, and had the Secret Service stand down at several points during the Dallas, Texas motorcade.

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By Linux Beach, July 8, 2009 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment

The Vietnam War was a holocaust, which is precisely the point I proved in the new documentary Vietnam: American Holocaust narrated by Martin Sheen

Robert S. McNamara Rest in Hell!

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By andrushka, July 8, 2009 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment

From all McNamara’s mistakes, one would think the American Government and the American people would have learnt something right? Well quite the opposite, we have had Bush &/ Co for eight years invading Irak illegally and Afghanistan and soon Pakistan, and what do the American People? NOTHING. It ‘s very easy to send deceased McNamara to hell now, but it’s a bit late in the game. Whereas for Bush & Co and, yes, even the present government, we have to ACT NOW.

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By adrienrain, July 8, 2009 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

It was Eisenhower’s commitment to France that got us into Nam. France bowed out during his reign, and Ike quietly shouldered the load. Eisenhower also knew something evil was afoot - he said so - but only when he was safely on his way out the door.

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By BobZ, July 8, 2009 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

Vietnam for those of us who were alive in that era, was our first experience with a government gone horribly wrong. Eisenhower took care of us and actually believed strongly in not putting the U.S. military is harms way unless absolutely necessary. Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon undid that maxim. We put the so called “best and brightest” into office and they let the country down and caused millions to die in a totally unnecessary war. McNamara as one of the “brightest” knew the earliest that Vietnam was a tragic mistake yet went along with the program. He should have joined the marchers in the streets to protest the war. That would have sent a powerful statment at that time. To admit in 1995 he made a horrible mistake was three decades too late. Vietnam was the most horrible period in our lives for many of us. For the first time, we marched in the streets against our own government. It troubled those of us raised on American style patriotism which strongly pushes the concept of my country right or wrong - yes it was our country but our leaders were wrong and many of us knew it. A very sad time in our nations history and I still mourn for the friends of mine who lives were shattered by Vietnam. McNamara was just as evil as the German generals who knew Hitler was a madman and did nothing. McNamara was perhaps more evil in that he was in no danger of losing his life for protesting the war.

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By Folktruther, July 8, 2009 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

Great article by Scheer and great comment by Prole.  I shall forgo the use of paragraphs in prole’s honor.  I disagree strongely with Anrcissie on this issue.  People are ruled by symbols and public theater and McNamaura was the public face of Vietnam during the crucial introduction of combat troops en masse.  I especially like Scheer’s use of the religious term of ‘evil.’  Because of the separation of the religious, political and scientific truth traditions in the Western tradition, we have not applied moral terms to political acts.  We need to.  People are ruled by morality and it is largely governed by a religious spirituality that has been hijacked by power.  We need to develop a people’s morality and apply it to acts sanitized in the mainstream truth tradition.  The bloodthirsty militarism intertwined with the number crunching rationality of McNamaera serves as vital symbol of the political evil who define rationality and morality as whatever is good for power, rather than the population ruled by power, the vast majority of people.  McNamara identified with evil, so does Gates, so did Johnson, and so does Obama.  All of these people identify with the evil of a US militarized policy, that will be used against the American people as well as the rest of the people of the world.  It should be characterized in moral terms.

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By Rontruth, July 8, 2009 at 11:15 am Link to this comment

adrienrain: It could come about if, and only if, people like you and I do something a lot of people would like to do, but it takes a little bit of courage. That is, do the call-in radio broadcast circuit when topics about, or that are in various ways connected to the Kennedy assassination. Also, make phone calls to radio stations and speak with their program managers about adding the history of the beginnings of major US involvement in Vietnam, and what lying to get a horrible war started did in changing the US into an aggressor nation, from one that usually kept the Constitution where war and peace are concerned.

During those call-in radio shows, mention of people calling their congress people at 202-224-3121 to ask them to support legislation that would open up a Federal or state-level Grand Jury investigation might also help.

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By Mary Ann McNeely, July 8, 2009 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

When I think of McNamara, I also think of McGeorge Bundy.  Two Ivy League closet assassins who, I would bet Euros to donuts, reveled at the time in their ability to kill millions.  McNamara and Bundy, like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, are the scum of the earth.  Pay them no respect.  Do not grieve.  May their victims take vengeance upon them somewhere in the ether.

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By Aarky, July 8, 2009 at 10:41 am Link to this comment
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For those who want to dig a little deeper into the Tonkin Gulf Incident,read “Skunks, Boogies,Silent Hounds, and the Flying Fish” which is an excellent analysis by National Security Agency (NSA) Historian Robert Honyak. He gives a small prelude to the battle by telling how the CIA had been attacking shore installations in N. Vietnam and that the NSA had been listening in on all N. Viet radio communications. US military codebreakers warned a US destroyer in the Tonkin Gulf of an impending attack by large N Viet Missile boats in the afternoon of Aug 02, 1964 In the running gun battle and with support from fighter jets from the USS Ticondoroga, three of the missile boats were badly shot up and several N. Viet sailors killed. One N. Viet heavy machine gun shell hit the destoyer. A letter of protest and warning was sent to the N. Viets by Washington. A couple nights later two of our destroyers in the Gulf were sent an erroneous message that they were about to be attacked by torpedo boats. The Skipper of one panicked and wound up firing over 300 five inch shells at large wave action caused by a storm. They would also later realize that the supposed sonar tracks of N. Viet torpedos was caused by reflections off their rudders at top speed. Air cover from our carriers reported no Viet boats in the area. There were none, and the doubts of the skippers of the boats about an attack were ignored. Author Hoyak does a very tedious and methodical job of showing that there was no attack on that night but that it was hyped into a reason to escalate the war in Viet Nam. Google the title for the full read.

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By Night-Gaunt, July 8, 2009 at 10:09 am Link to this comment

When we go into bankruptcy it will be the day before the Cabal wins. This is what they have been working for since 1980. Like Machiavelli said, “The most difficult thing to do is to replace one organization with another.” (gov’t)

If it falls so will our gov’t and they will step in to be the replacement. A bad idea for the republic.

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By adrienrain, July 8, 2009 at 10:04 am Link to this comment

Great idea Rontruth - but how will this come about? There have been so many investigations, and even the Congressional one that found FOR conspiracy in the assassinations, died away, leaving no lasting effect.

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By Jean Gerard, July 8, 2009 at 10:04 am Link to this comment
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The idea of ending wars would be more possible if, instead of only blaming McNamara and other leaders after the fact, the people responsible for allowing those leaders to lead would take some responsibility themselves.  Why didn’t we remove McNamara?  Why did we believe (or refuse to doubt) the lies?  Why do “the people” always get sucked into vicious, losing deals like war always proves to be?  Why don’t we stop what we are doing in Afghanistan?  McNamara and others could and can do nothing if “the people” (means you and me) protest loud and long enough.  If we protest soon enough, wars can’t even begin.  But ... the trillion-dollar war economy has a stranglehold on “business as usual” and the economic picture is so complicated that “the people” don’t want to actually know what’s what. Besides, they might lose their job, or get “surveilled” or locked up in some homegrown Guantanamo.  Sure, McNamara was to blame, but so are a lot of the rest of us.

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By Rontruth, July 8, 2009 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

I’m guessing that what you mean by “first October Surprise” was Nixon and Kissinger, with a little help from, I think it was, John Dean or someone like him, when they went through Madame Chennault to communicate with the North Vietnamese to get them to stop negotiating with Johnson’s administration about ending the war in Vietnam.

We need to remember the kind of guy Nixon, as well as Johnson, were: violent, lying, rich-serving frontmen for the most vicious and malevolent people in the US oil industry, and the military-industrial complex, warned about by none other than Nixon’s one-time boss, President Dwight Eisenhower three days before Kennedy took over. They hated Kennedy.

Kennedy, who came from a wealthy New England family, who, though their men were all unfaithful, as a simple matter of course, to their wives, were nonetheless committed to using war only as a last defensive resort. Not in any “pre-emptive” way. They apparently knew that “pre-emptive” wars, usually were started on the basis of lies. We all saw that perfectly lived out in the lies of both George Bush’s and the Iraq war.

Warmongering when one’s economy is in the dumpster is not a respector of political parties. Johnson was a Democrat who went along with the Pentagon and CIA’s lies about “the Gulf of Tonkin incidents” to give them their war, in return for what they did to get him into office in the first place by what they did to President Kennedy in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Nov. 22, 1963. War in profitable.

The lovers of war profits had a major problem with Kennedy. He largely, through his father, paid for his successful run against Richard Nixon in 1960. The point here is that Kennedy didn’t owe anyone anything!. Except for the help of the Chicago and Miami mobsters.

On one hand, he made tough statements against Castro in Cuba during the fouth televised presidential debate with Nixon in 1960. The Miami, formerly Havana-based mobsters loved JFK for his words.
In Chicago, he promised the organized crime syndicate that his brother, Bobby Big Britches (oops.) would go easy on organized crime. Bobby did the opposite.

By doing exactly the opposite,in both cases, Vietnam and Cuba, Kennedy engendered the absolute white hot hatred of people who had long ago learned the art of covert killing of leaders of foreign governments. They turned their guns on Kennedy through the CIA and it’s alliance with organized crime in their collective efforts to kill Fidel Castro. They were the most visable, and hateful toward Kennedy.

James Files, who is alive and in prison today, as he has been for 20 years of a 50 year sentence, was, along with Chucky Nicoletti, both of Chicago’s crime syndicate, shooters in Dealey Plaza that day. Both were also agents for the CIA. Former CIA officer, E. Howard Hunt’s mentioning in his “Deathbed Confession,” has David Atlee Phillips, as Files’ CIA onctroller (handler).

Time is now to tie all the connections together in a new, totally independent Texas Grand Jury investigation into the Kennedy assassination, with TV camera’s and other media allowed free access to hearings that would follow.

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By Mestizo Warrior, July 8, 2009 at 9:46 am Link to this comment
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Like McNamara and the others Bush, Cheyney, Rumsfield,Rice will go free as if nothing ever occured! Why? Because politicians take care of each other!

The Democrats are certainly no better than the Republicans! Wasn’t it Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi who refused to entertain the motion to impeach Bush, et al? Isn’t it Obama who has stated he has no interest in prosecuting Bush, et al?

Evil exists because those who can stop it won’t.

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By adrienrain, July 8, 2009 at 8:39 am Link to this comment

“The Fog of War” is the most important film I’ve seen. The taped conversations re Vietnam between, first, JFK, and then LBJ are extremely revealing. JFK was clearly planning to leave Vietnam. LBJ reversed that position.

That might be the reason JFK was killed. There are other possible reasons - his stand-down on Cuba, his stance toward both the Federal Reserve and the CIA.

Later, when Johnson belatedly decided to seek peace in Nam, Nixon, Kissinger and Bush Sr. stepped in with the first October Surprise.

I don’t see any end in sight now. Maybe bankruptcy will be good for us. Lack of money may put a stop to our international gallop.

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By pjbrown, July 8, 2009 at 8:02 am Link to this comment
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The stage for genocide was set two wars previous to Vietnam when Curtis LeMay, with the able assistance of McNamara, firebombed Japan and incinerated hundreds of thousands of civilians. 

Since LeMay and McNamara were lionized after WWII, the stage was set for the policy that kills civilians in war zones with impunity.

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By Anarcissie, July 8, 2009 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

‘Certainly the Viet Nam war was evil.  Most, maybe all wars are.  But I think Mr. Sheer is putting too much of it on McNamara.  He was a cog, albeit a major one, in a wheel that would have rolled on without him. ...’

Indeed.  The Kennedys, McNamara, Bundy, Rusk, Johnson, Westmoreland and so on were really the second generation of the imperial project.  By 1960 any serious disagreement with the project had been thoroughly rooted out of that part of the ruling class and the government which had anything to do with foreign or military affairs.  Interventionism and imperialism were being taught even in the grade schools.  McNamara was simply very good at doing what almost all of his peers thought was the right thing.  It is silly to treat him as an independent author of its evils: he is just a representative of a type that numbered in the thousands.

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By Paul, July 8, 2009 at 7:20 am Link to this comment
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Robert Macnamara has finally kicked it but he will not be getting the sendoff Michael Jackson is getting. He was one of those guys who was just too clever to fail, and yet he did – at almost everything. As President of Ford Motor Company he baffled company executives with his bizarre agressiveness and refusal to accommodate any difference of opinion from people who knew better than him. Like the time he refused to allow the purchase of new, larger paint booths suggesting that the cars should be constructed in two halves then welded together. After LBJ canned his butt as Secretary of Defence he embarked on a career as Head of the world bank where he successfully roped in anyone who wasn’t already in debt up to the hilt and made sure they were – and stayed that way. But of course his major accomplishment was as the architect of the Vietnam war where everything that he could have got wrong – he did. He never took a step back, never admitted to ever making a mistake, never allowing that anything was ever his fault. And yet, it was written all over his face. The pain, the guilt, the anguish, the body language, the torment of a tortured soul. He would never say it but here was a man who would have done things differently if he could have the time back.

  His modern day equivalent is Dick Cheney. Like Macnamara he never took a step back, never admitted to ever making a mistake, never allowing that anything was ever his fault. The difference is there isn’t a trace of remorse. Not a vestige of regret. Here is a man who would do everything the same – only more of it. His only regret is that he will never have the chance to take another crack at it and truly believes that he deserves it. Macnamara was tormented by the fate of captured american pilots. Cheney slept like a baby knowing that his drone aircraft would not present him with that problem. Macnamara was constantly under attack by the media. The only person to raise an eyelid at Cheney is Jon Stewart who is a comedian.

  Times haven’t changed that much but the media have. Richard Nixon had to deal with David Frost pecking at his eyes like some irritating little bird. Dick Cheney has FOX, CNN and the rest of the gang on side. Anyone who doesn’t see it his way is unpatriotic and probably a terrorist.

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By Night-Gaunt, July 8, 2009 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

In our country the evil men of the world, and some women, live extraordinary lives of passion and pomp. Rewarded for their infamies aboard in the service of God and country. We are an exceptional country full of exceptional people because the Big Lie of, “we are the freest in the world and the richest but also the most moral and pious and selfless ever to exist.”

MacNamara was an old example and Rumsfeld is a more recent example of such people as is turned out an listened to by the PTB. Our leaders are our representatives whether we voted for them or not. Whether the vote was stolen or not. To the rest of the world what they say and do stains all of us. Obama is keeping the nightmare alive today and spreading it like a cancer.

Why should Obama go against his his allies in the Cabal against his best interests? Otherwise he could die in some “terrorist” action or “lone gunman” will get him like Kennedy. They Live and its profitable for them to screw the republic to make way for their version of the ideal state. An empire through and through. Ayn Rand kind of arrogant, selfish stab-in-the-back kind of utopia of ruthless meritocracy. Sink or swim on your own if you can’t survive it.

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By Jim Yell, July 8, 2009 at 7:08 am Link to this comment
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It started with Ike. Vietnam.

Ike was also missing in action on the issue of the Military-Industrial Complex, although he did give us a closing warning as he left office, but how about the 8 years in office when he could have done something about it?

Kennedy’s involvement isn’t certain due to his death. The fact remains that not punishing people like Rumsfeld, McNamara, Rove, Bush, Cheney (especially Cheney) leaves the door open for this outrage to continue. More evil on top of evil.

Just think what could have been achieved if military overspending had instead bought health care, education, transportation, housing. Republicans were angry and outraged about government spending (although they never complained as long as the money went for outrageous military spending) saying government money doesn’t create wealth or real jobs. This is very rich considering that almost no one who is super rich could have achieved this status without the public spending. They are worse than contemptable.

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By Rontruth, July 8, 2009 at 6:21 am Link to this comment

To answer the question: “but what about Kennedy’s?” Good question! Let’s just list the reasons why Scheer’s article does NOT list John F. Kennedy as a president to blame for Vietnam:

The first thing one likely should mention here is, just take a look at the black and white photo of Johnson and MacNamara. Notice it is dated “November 23, 1963.” In not one comment, thus far unless I missed one, does anyone remember that November 23, 1963 was roughly 24 hours after November 22, 1963, a Friday I will never forget. Ever! That was the day when Kennedy and Johnson rode through the little 7 acre Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas. Kennedy was shot to death from a number of gunshots, including that fired by James E. Files from behind the fence on the grassy hill known as “the knoll.”

The photograph shows one of the culprits who was behind the assassination plot: Lyndon Johnson. He met his Dallas lady friend, Madeleine Duncan Brown, at a party the night before the killing, after he emerged from a conference room at the home of Texas oil billionaire, Clint Murchison, Jr., “After tomorrow those—-da—ed Kennedy’s will never again be able to embarrass me. That’s no threat. That’s a promise.” He repeated the threat he knew about earlier the next morning, Friday, Nov. 22, 1963.

At website,, you will find the story of the man who fired one of two shots fired from behind that fence on that day, and he is still alive at 67 years old, James Earl Files. He did not volunteer the information. FBI Agents, and a local Dallas private detective agency worked on a tiip from an FBI informant. Jimmy’s jig was up. The bullet shell casing with Jimmy’s teethmarks in it, was found. It was under several inches of soil on the north grassy knoll, found by a lawn and garden specialist and his son.

At the website listed above, you will be able to read a letter that Files wrote to someone who is still alive and verifies the authenticity of the note. In it, Jimmy tells her that “On October 11, 1963, JFK signed an order to withdraw from Vietnam. There was another order to countermand JFK’s order that was prepared FIVE DAYS before the JFK assassination so it could be signed by President Johnson (seen above in the photo with a master of war, MacNamara)

I think the reason that Scheer does not mention JFK as having been one of the “evildoers” (George W. Bush), is because Scheer knows that of that charge, Kennedy was innocent. He built the adviser forces up for nearly two years. Then, after the Cuban missile crisis and nearly a thermonuclear war, Kennedy, and his one-time adversary, Russian premier Kruschev, were changed men. Cuba was allowed to live under Castro, without Russian interference. Vietnam was a no-go for JFK, who ordered the pullout on the day his killer mentioned in his letter to a female friend.

I think Obama needs to do more than just to have ridden through Dealey Plaza in Feb., 2008 as a primary candidate. He needs to do as President Kennedy tried to do when he ordered the pullout from Vietnam. Does he have the courage?

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By UpCraigCreek, July 8, 2009 at 5:35 am Link to this comment

Certainly the Viet Nam war was evil.  Most, maybe all wars are.  But I think Mr. Sheer is putting too much of it on McNamara.  He was a cog, albeit a major one, in a wheel that would have rolled on without him.  I have always wondered about Johnson himself.  He was pushing his great society, and one of the ways he got Republicans to go along was to escalate the war that was making a lot of rich people in the US richer, even as others were being maimed and killed.  So who were the real villains of that holocaust?

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By bobchoquette, July 8, 2009 at 5:28 am Link to this comment
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Thank you Bob for again bringing us a spin-absent look at the past. Vietnam was wrong and so are the latest round of follies. What verdict will history bring upon Obama in regards to Afghanistan. We are all being hoodwinked with the focus on Wall street while the real travesty is going on elsewhere.

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By James M. Martin, July 8, 2009 at 5:25 am Link to this comment

It is curious you do not mention a modern parallel to McNamara, one I thought obvious: Donald Rumsfeld.  They are two of a kind.  Separated at birth.  Rumsfeld simply proved Santayana right when the latter said, “Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”  You might have changed your headline from “McNamara’s Evil Lives On” to “McNamara’s Evil Lives On…In Donald Rumsfeld.”

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By Alan, July 8, 2009 at 5:07 am Link to this comment
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McNamara was the origin of the “body count” to delude people into believing that the war was being won.  There was a case reported in a well researched book (about 10 years) that detailed the story of a claim of, I think it was 111 dead enemy.  In fact one man had died - on old man riding his bike near where gunfire broke out.  He panicked and fell off his bike and struck his head on a rock.  It killed him.  He became 111 enemy dead by a radio call.

The reports I have seen about McNamara’s role in the World Bank also stagger me.  In the alte 1980’s a “secret” report was written by a World BAnk employee that stated that over the “past 20 years” the World Bank activities had enriched the corporate world of the donor countries and the corrupt politicians and officials and corrupt corporations in the countries that received “aid”.  The poor “working classes” of those recipient countries were made ven worse off.  McNamara was the head of the World Bank for about the first 12 years of that 20 year period.  I have carried out assignments for several international “aid agencies” including the World Bank and believe its function back then had little to do with its stated purpose.  I guess fiddling the figures was easy after the great results of the Vietnam “body count”. 

That he recognised the failure on Vietnam is one thing, but he probably didn’t realize that his failure in the World Bank was just as malignant to the common man.

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By RBShea, July 8, 2009 at 4:41 am Link to this comment

An excellent column and thoughtful comments. I recommend Paul Hendrickson’s “The Living and the Dead” to anyone who wants another lucid yet poignant perspective on the impact of McNamara and his ilk’s “rational” approach to war.
Unfortunately, the lessons of that war remain unlearned as the US once again escalates another war in Asia…Afghanistan… which increasingly resembles Vietnam. However, without a draft, the impact of this war will remain essentially invisible to most Americans.

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By Shift, July 8, 2009 at 4:26 am Link to this comment

Those of us who got drafted into the VietNam maelstrom understand the killing power of the United States and the ease with which politicians unleash horror upon others.  McNamara was a particularly cold and efficient killer.

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By prole, July 8, 2009 at 2:42 am Link to this comment

Amen. Excellent article. This is a very important reminder of, unquestionably, one of the greatest ctimes in modern history. The sheer enormity of the death and devastation wrought by the American werhrmact in Vietnam and throughout S.E. Asia, and the utter depravity of those who promulgated it, defies complete description or full understanding. It’s virtually impossible to comprehend such barbarity unleashed on such a massive scale in such a tiny place, on such a vulnerable population, for no defensible reason. The killing was so intense, so sustained, so relentless it almost made everyone numb to the extraordinary human suffering and unfathomable nightmarish reality of it all. In the gruesome language of Stalin, ‘one death is a tragedy, a million deaths are a statistic’. And ever since that macabre time, the ruling class in America has been busy trying to overcome the so-called ‘Vietnam syndrome’. A massive propaganda effort has been ongoing since the fall of Saigon in ‘75 to restore the American people’s faith in the wisdom of their political doyens, the self-described ‘best and brightest’ and to reassert the imagined righteousness of foreign imterventionism; and to reflect new honor and glory on the military. Unfortunately, to a large extent, it has suceeded. The apogee came after only a scant 15 years with the photogenic conclusion of the first Gulf invasion in ‘91 when Bush I crowed, “By God, we’ve kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all!” Since that time, the military budget - especially under Clinton - has skyrockeded; and the way was paved for the latest Iraq debacle. All because the “stark evil” McNamara (and his cohorts) “perpetrated as secretary of defense” did not “indelibly frame our memory of him”, and all he represents. If it did, the latest bloodbath in Iraq and other terrorist interventions in the M.E., South Asia, Central America and elsewhere might have been prevented.  “Is holocaust too emotionally charged a word?” Indeed not. It would, of course, be far more appropriate to have museums and memorials in every city of the nation commemorating the victims of this American-made holocaust rather than any foreign ones for which we were not responsible. By thinking of ourselves as liberators and saviors rather than enslavers and merchants of death ourselves, it makes it too easy to forgot our own “stark evil”; and so easily overcome the richly deserved shame that must go with it. More importantly, it allows the most vital post-war(s) point to be begged, “are America’s leaders always to be exempted from such questions?” Must not, if there is ever to be a shred of justice in foreign affairs, the McNamara’s of the world be “held legally accountable for [their] actions”? This is one of the most urgent life-or-death questions of our time! But, not only has it never received an adequate answer, it’s not even being asked. And until it is asked, answered, and acted upon, expect a lot more “stark evil” from the ‘best and brightest’ of the new generations following in the fatal footsteps of the ever so “charming” mass-murderer, Robert McNamara.

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By Viv Gov, July 8, 2009 at 1:01 am Link to this comment
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And Kennedy?

Been reading a bunch of reports on this and am struck by how everyone blame McNamara, Nixon and Johnson to a lesser extent, but what about Kennedy?

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