The Fog of War

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“Any military commander who is honest with himself, or with those he's speaking to, will admit that he has made mistakes in the application of military power. He's killed people unnecessarily — his own troops or other troops — through mistakes, through errors of judgment. A hundred, or thousands, or tens of thousands, maybe even a hundred thousand. But, he hasn't destroyed nations. And the conventional wisdom is don't make the same mistake twice, learn from your mistakes. And we all do. Maybe we make the same mistake three times, but hopefully not four or five. There will be no learning period with nuclear weapons. You make one mistake and you're going to destroy nations.”


Robert S. McNamara, The Fog of War (2003)


One of the best documentaries I've ever seen comes from (not surprisingly) one of the best documentary filmmakers I've ever saw, in the form of one Errol Morris. The 2003 film The Fog of War, which is essentially an extended and animated interview with Robert S. McNamara, is in many ways the pinnacle of achievement for Errol Morris, who rarely, if ever, had such heavyweight characters as sole interview subjects. In addition to hard-hitting questions, Morris pioneered the use of camera and interview techniques which captured the look deep in the subject's eyes, which is surprisingly difficult to do.


Besides knowing that he was the youngest-ever president of the Ford Motor Company before he was appointed Secretary of Defense by JFK, I didn’t know much about McNamara, or cared to. A hugely controversial character during the 60’s, McNamara was seen by many as being one of the principal architects of the Vietnam War, but was he really? Near the end of the film, Morris asks McNamara point-blank about his responsibility for the war, to which McNamara gave a deliberately ambiguous answer, saying he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t, and politely but firmly chooses not to discuss it.


McNamara goes on to tell his life story, saying his earliest childhood memories were of the celebrations following the end of World War 1. One of his teachers put the highest-scoring student on a certain chair at the front of the class, and he tells of how the Japanese and Jewish students were always battling that damned Irishman (meaning himself) for the spot. He marries his high school sweetheart and has a kid. Being an MBA holder from Harvard back when MBA's actually meant something, his future looked bright indeed. All was going well in the McNamara household until the U.S. entered World War 2.


During WW2, McNamara was a member of the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF as it was called back then, before it became an independent branch of the U.S. Armed Forces in 1947), and, being the whiz kid that he was, wound up being assigned to a department that had one of those disingenuous-sounding government names; the Office of Statistical Control. McNamara’s job was essentially to perform cost-benefit/cost-accounting analyses on the bombing missions being flown against German targets, looking for waste and inefficiency, as per usual. According to him, it didn’t take long to discover that many of the reasons that so many aircraft had to abort missions was because the crews were plain scared; German fighters and other air defenses were taking an increasingly heavier and heavier toll of aircraft, and crews were doubtful that they would complete the 25 missions (later increased to 30, and then 35) required to be released from combat duty. Policies that combined an iron hand with a velvet glove were put into place, and the abort rate plummeted.


It was in this capacity that McNamara eventually served under a man who McNamara would eventually be the boss of; General Curtis “Bombs Away” LeMay. According to McNamara, LeMay was both as a superior and a subordinate “extraordinarily belligerent. He would jam that damned cigar in his mouth and roam the halls of the Pentagon, looking for a fight.” When asked about the fire-bombing campaign against Japan and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, McNamara replied that he was part of a mechanism that recommended the U.S. doing exactly that. Somehow I get the impression that Lemay did not need an Office of Statistical Control to tell him how to do his job, and probably told them so in less than diplomatic terms. Still, a grudging respect for Lemay seems to emanate from McNamara.


McNamara goes on to discuss his time at the Ford Motor Company in the 50’s, and how none of the senior managers and executives there had university degrees. The Whiz Kids went to work and made Ford a sound and solvent company once again. Oddly enough for someone like him, McNamara was a Democrat, and was immediately tapped by JFK to be Secretary of Defense after his (razor-thin) 1960 election victory over Tricky Dick Nixon. McNamara declined several times, saying he was unqualified, but JFK won him over by saying there wasn’t a school to become President of the United States, either.


This is where the film gets most interesting, as McNamara relates what was obviously the most searing period of his career; the Cuban Missile Crisis. In his possession was a gift from JFK; a small calendar of October of 1962, with certain days in bold letters highlighting the days of the Crisis. It was during this time that McNamara began to form his “lessons”, which were related in the film and which he talks about to various degrees:


Lesson #1: Empathize with your enemy.


Lesson #2: Rationality alone will not save us.


Lesson #3: There’s something beyond one’s self.


Lesson #4: Maximize efficiency.


Lesson #5: Proportionality should be a guideline in war.


Lesson #6: Get the data.


Lesson #7: Belief and seeing are both often wrong.


Lesson #8: Be prepared to reexamine your reasoning.


Lesson #9: In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil.


Lesson #10: Never say never.


Lesson #11: You can’t change human nature.


All in all, it’s fair to say that McNamara was in many ways a bit player in the great dramas he was a part of, and in other areas, he was definitely not. However, no matter how one cuts it, McNamara has many thousands of gallons of blood on his hands. He was a particularly large and important cog in the war machine for sure. Some recordings of conversations between him and LBJ even BEFORE the infamous Gulf of Tonkin incident that appear in the film make it crystal clear who was the butch and who was the bitch:


March 10, 1964

Johnson: We need somebody over there that can get us some better plans than we've got. What I want is somebody that can lay up some plans to trap these guys and whup the hell out of them. Kill some of them, that's what I want to do.

McNamara: I'll try and bring something back that will meet that objective.

Johnson: Okay, Bob.


To his credit (in my opinion), McNamara went to great lengths to speak face-to-face with his former enemies, and traveled to Vietnam, Cuba, and Russia for that purpose. Several of the comments from those visits were very illuminating:


“What makes us omniscient? Have we a record of omniscience? We are the strongest nation in the world today. I do not believe that we should ever apply that economic, political, and military power unilaterally. If we had followed that rule in Vietnam, we wouldn't have been there. None of our allies supported us. Not Japan, not Germany, not Britain or France. If we can't persuade nations with comparable values of the merit of our cause, we'd better reexamine our reasoning.”


"Mr. McNamara, You must never have read a history book. If you'd had, you'd know we weren't pawns of the Chinese or the Russians. McNamara, didn't you know that? Don't you understand that we have been fighting the Chinese for 1000 years? We were fighting for our independence. And we would fight to the last man. And we were determined to do so. And no amount of bombing, no amount of U.S. pressure would ever have stopped us." - Xuân Thuỷ, Foreign Minister of North Vietnam


"I'm not so naive or simplistic to believe we can eliminate war. We're not going to change human nature anytime soon. It isn't that we aren't rational. We are rational. But reason has limits. There's a quote from T.S. Eliot that I just love:


    We shall not cease from exploring

    And at the end of our exploration

    We will return to where we started

    And know the place for the first time.


Now that's in a sense where I'm beginning to be."


Benjamin Goldstein Added Mar 24, 2018 - 6:18pm
I think you also introduced a book by McNamara some time ago.
Talking about military biographies, do you know Witold Pilecki? I think, he is quite an impressive dude. You'd kick off a Nazi debate simultaneously on WB if you wrote about him. Balls of steel. Here a video.
Morgoth Added Mar 24, 2018 - 6:21pm
Thanks, Michael.  Very interesting.
I used to read a lot about the Vietnam War until I got back into reading about WW II and by extension the Holocaust.  It’s something I may go back to at some point.
Pardero Added Mar 24, 2018 - 6:21pm
Michael B.
The gratuitous? pic of Elvis notwithstanding, this is an impressive piece and a truly thought-provoking read.
I am not known as a deep thinker, and put me back on track if I'm way off, but however capable and bright McNamara was, he was still just a soldier performing his duty the best he was able?
I see that you put considerable effort into this piece. Your mentors should be proud. 
Michael B. Added Mar 24, 2018 - 6:27pm
Benjamin, I never heard of him. I'll check it out, thanks for the info!
Michael B. Added Mar 24, 2018 - 6:28pm
Jeffry, thanks! I can tell by the exchanges between you and Mr. Purcell that you are well-read on the subjects.
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 24, 2018 - 6:28pm
Christ on a bike! Now he's Elvis? There's somethin' just ain't right with that boy!
Morgoth Added Mar 24, 2018 - 6:31pm
Hey, Elvis is awesome.  
Michael B. Added Mar 24, 2018 - 6:34pm
Pardero, thanks, lol! It's my way of telling the world in an amusing and entertaining blow me, HAHAHAHA! After AC gonged my last misogynistic hit piece, I thought I'd try to do a little better, lol.
After seeing the film and reading up a little more, I still have very mixed feelings about Mr. McNamara; he certainly wasn't a hero, but was he the villain, too? Of the recordings I've listened to, LBJ was clearly the motive force behind the Vietnam War. McNamara apparently thought of the war as a sideshow and an adjunct of the Cold War, but clearly did what he was told, so in that sense he was like a soldier carrying out orders, but that excuse didn't work at Nuremburg, did it? He's dead now, so it's all academic.
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 24, 2018 - 6:37pm
LBJ was one of the biggest, most unscrupulous pricks to ever walk the earth!
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 24, 2018 - 6:39pm
in fact he was rough as a cob. These vagina hats try whipping up a frenzy over Trump! If they knew half the shit LBJ pulled they'd be promoting Trump for sainthood!
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 24, 2018 - 6:42pm
McNamara was a tool, but interesting history. I knew of his corporate past and his Army Air Corps service. Did not know what he had done but I had recalled something about him being under LeMay
Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 24, 2018 - 6:44pm
After AC gonged my last misogynistic hit piece,
Michael B. Added Mar 24, 2018 - 6:47pm
@ TBH - was either Elvis or a 19th century blackface performer, lol.
Michael B. Added Mar 24, 2018 - 6:48pm
@ Captain Gilbert - Yes, AC apparently didn't like that one. Why would any woman in her right mind NOT like my woman-bashing posts, lol.
Michael B. Added Mar 24, 2018 - 6:49pm
Yes, the more I read about LBJ, the less I like him, although his unofficial and off-the-record comments are still hilarious.
Tom C. Purcell Added Mar 24, 2018 - 7:16pm
Great wisdom in 'The Fog of War'.  That's a film that I have gifted to several people.  Here's a man in the twilight of his life, bearing it all for the betterment of kin and country.  Sure, maybe he did aim to preserve his legacy to some degree, but mostly by telling all about his own personal shortcomings and errors.  Just watching that film provides a window into national governance and the imperfect humanity operating within it.  When it comes to the Bay of Pigs, the Tokyo fire bombings, Dresden and Viet Nam, 'The Fog of War' is a must.
"Rather than believe what we see, we see what we want to believe." - Robert S. McNamara
Thanks for this piece, ya psycho!
Michael B. Added Mar 24, 2018 - 7:26pm
Thank you Tom! I've grown fond of Errol Morris's work. The Thin Blue Line and Standard Operating Procedure are also really good. Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. would be of particular interest to someone like you, lol.
Morgoth Added Mar 24, 2018 - 7:44pm
@Michael B.
”Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. would be of particular interest to someone like you, lol.”
You know, back when I first became acquainted with denial, I tried finding that film.  Netflix and Amazon Prime don’t carry it, AFAIK.  I may try and track it down again.
As far as Leuchter goes, however, he’s a bit of a joke.  Only the old school deniers still use his work, Fritz Berg, noted denier, loathes him.  Germar Rudolf is more noteworthy (though still full of crap, like all deniers).
Michael B. Added Mar 24, 2018 - 7:55pm
Jeffrey, as far as I know, carries all of his films. Personally, I thought Leuchter was little more than a cum stain, lol. I've worked with a lot of non-degree'd engineers, and he couldn't bring any of them a fucking screwdriver.
Morgoth Added Mar 24, 2018 - 8:06pm
Michael, I don’t how someone could be a “gas chamber expert” when he’s never designed a gas chamber that was built or serviced one.  His company dealt with lethal injection devices and electric chairs.
Morgoth Added Mar 24, 2018 - 8:06pm
Though he did advertise that he also dealt with gas chambers.
Morgoth Added Mar 24, 2018 - 8:10pm
Hey, whaddya know, it’s on YouTube.
Tom C. Purcell Added Mar 24, 2018 - 8:24pm
"I don’t how someone could be a “gas chamber expert” when he’s never designed a gas chamber that was built or serviced one."
And there are plethora of gas chambers in need of service, or building...  How can I be a WWII expert if I've never designed a war, or fought in one?  That's why I get really fed up arguing with you, Jewey Kelly.  Your rhetoric is rubbish.
Morgoth Added Mar 24, 2018 - 9:24pm
@Tom Purcell:
”And there are plethora of gas chambers in need of service, or building... How can I be a WWII expert if I've never designed a war, or fought in one?”
LOL, there is a vast amount of difference between proclaiming oneself an expert in gas chambers and another in being an expert on WW II.  There are thousands of books on WW II, people spend their whole careers studying it.  
But there are only a few gas chambers, Tom.  It’s been awhile since I looked but it’s possible that there may be less than ten existing in the US, most modern executions are carried out by lethal injection.  There is also a vast amount of difference between gas chambers built to execute one person and those expected to execute thousands.  I’d expect a “gas chamber expert” to know that and know it takes less cyanide to kill a human than it does to kill insects.  I’d also expect that expert to know that rates of exposure are also different because fumigation is also expected to destroy the insect’s eggs along with the insect itself.
I know all about Leuchter, Tom.  The only thing I’ve never done is watch that documentary that Michael is talking about.  It’s actually on YouTube so when I have some time I’ll watch it.
“That's why I get really fed up arguing with you, Jewey Kelly. Your rhetoric is rubbish.”
Oh, Tom.  You are an amusing fellow but you need a new schtick.  Calling me “Jewey Kelly” is getting old.
Tom C. Purcell Added Mar 24, 2018 - 9:33pm
Sometimes it makes me feel good to remind you of your Jeweyness. 
Morgoth Added Mar 24, 2018 - 9:42pm
Except I’m not a Jew, Tom.  Never have been, the compulsion that drives you to say that is the same compulsion that drives you to touch yourself while watching “Triumph of the Will.”
Tom C. Purcell Added Mar 24, 2018 - 9:47pm
Lol.  As iconic and appreciable, even important as that film is, it is rather someone's home videos, artfully redressed.  Don't confuse or conflate my commitment and dedication to truth as infatuation for another time or place. 
Morgoth Added Mar 24, 2018 - 9:51pm
I actually found it fascinating, Tom.  It’s been almost 25 years since I’ve seen it and I only saw it once but the imagery and pageantry was the essence of Fascism.
Tom C. Purcell Added Mar 24, 2018 - 9:57pm
I own the DVD but there is more to study for a filmmaker than historian.  I find it prideful in dated way, interesting and quite tasteful.  It's a nice little time capsule.
Morgoth Added Mar 24, 2018 - 10:03pm
I watched it out of curiosity.  The video store I worked for had a copy on VHS.
Michael B. Added Mar 25, 2018 - 12:04am
The only reason I'm touching this one is that Triumph of the Will was also a documentary, so it is at least tangentially on-topic, lol. It's fascinating to watch, and if I were teaching a course on several different subjects, watching it would be part of my syllabus for sure. I haven't watched it for several years, but I'll probably watch it again soon, along with The Battleship Potemkin, Alexander Nevsky, Reefer Madness, and a few other select dated propaganda films that I re-watch every ten or so years, lol.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 25, 2018 - 2:58am
AC apparently didn't like that 
That's concerning. Clearly a retreat from her previous no censorship stance. 
Benjamin Goldstein Added Mar 25, 2018 - 3:15am
Calling me “Jewey Kelly” is getting old.
((Purcell)) is really outdated.
Dino Manalis Added Mar 25, 2018 - 8:00am
All lives matter, that's why the military should be used carefully and less often.  That's also why leaders should expand their foreign policy teams to attract all perspectives on the issues in order for policymakers to make best policy decisions.  The foundation of foreign policy has to be the achievement of peace; stability; and prosperity!
Stone-Eater Added Mar 25, 2018 - 8:43am
Thanks for that hint ! Now I know what to watch 2nite given that's on YT :)
John Minehan Added Mar 25, 2018 - 9:20am
Even for you, this is an excellent article.
McNamara is a pivotal figure in a lot of things, obviously in Vietnam and in the high water mark of the US Automobile Industry, and (as you point out here) in WWII.
Great job.  
John Minehan Added Mar 25, 2018 - 9:41am
The brilliant (but deeply opinionated) David Halberstam saw McNamara as one of the chief villains (he seemed to tend towards heroes and villains) in the decline of the US Auto Industry in his book The Reckoning.
Halberstam saw the roots of that decline as being the triumph of "numbers guys" (like McNamara) over "car guys" (like "Engine Charlie" Wilson---Eisenhower's SecDef).
However, as you point out, McNamara seemed to understand (at least intellectually) that you had to test the data against experiential and qualitative inputs (and vice-versa) to get to a model you could apply. 
Benjamin Goldstein Added Mar 25, 2018 - 9:52am
I have little patience for people who are angry about others who can count. One of them was highly overrated "philosopher" Martin Heidegger.
Michael B. Added Mar 25, 2018 - 10:36am
@ Captain Gilbert - Yes, AC gonged another post several weeks ago, and kicked me off for a little bit because I complimented another WBer on her tits, which she promptly deleted. She and/or her minions are clearly clamping down. So much for "The Wild West of the Internet", lol. Actually, I like it better that way, although I miss some of the epic battles others and/or myself have engaged in! I STILL call an occasional asshole "a Liquordale Yachtie", lol! It's her site, and I still enjoy coming here, so I told her I'd try to behave myself a little better.
Michael B. Added Mar 25, 2018 - 10:36am
@ Dino - Yes, indeed!
Michael B. Added Mar 25, 2018 - 10:37am
@ Stone - You're welcome! I'm pretty sure you would enjoy it, albeit in a horrible and disturbing way knowing you like I do, lol. What I like about Errol Morris is that he is extraordinarily objective in his approach to his work, unlike that fucking clown Michael Moore, although I do give him dubious credit, as he also is good at his work.
Michael B. Added Mar 25, 2018 - 10:38am
@ John M. - Thank you, sir! A compliment from you is high praise! A friend gave me a book written by Halberstam called The Best and the Brightest which I have yet to read. Speaking of Engine Charlie, I recall COL Hackworth saying how Ike and Wilson neglected the Army during most of the 50's as the Air Force and Navy was built up. Missiles, missiles, missiles were all the rage then, and the only way he could get back into service was by becoming an ADA officer. But he got those crossed rifles again after a couple of years.
I'm totally on-board with "getting the data", but very often, management by spreadsheet has great limitations. I think it was around that time that Hackworth started to complain about officers becoming "managers" instead of "leaders", and he pretty much despised McNamara and people like him.
Michael B. Added Mar 25, 2018 - 10:38am
@ Benjamin - To me, philosophers and psychiatrists/psychologists are similar in that they all seem to be nuts, or go nuts eventually. The writings of H.L. Mencken are more than good enough for me, lol.
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 25, 2018 - 11:23am
It does not require psychiatry to conclude that you are one sick sumbitch :) But in a good way.....
Stone-Eater Added Mar 25, 2018 - 11:41am
I downloaded and watched it right now. Not sure what I think of it. One one hand McNamara seems to be (or has become in age) a reflected guy, and apparently he had his senses together when he was with Kennedy, and before with LeMay.
The unanswered question to me is how he would justify the entry of the US into WWII and the bombing of Japan and Vietnam today.
Would he admit that it was most of all because of economic reasons and not ideological ones ? I mean that in the context of "the war industry creates jobs". That's how Hitler brought Germany back up too....for a time.
Otherwise it was an interesting and educative documentary. I agree with you on Michael Moore. To me, he's just a do-gooder for the sake of the spotlight.
Michael B. Added Mar 25, 2018 - 11:56am
@ TBH - LOL, I keep coming back here, so there's clearly something wrong with me, lol.
Michael B. Added Mar 25, 2018 - 11:57am
@ Stone - I'm glad you enjoyed it! To me, as I've said before, war is little more than a giant armed robbery. Whatever is said about everything else, it all ultimately boils down to the seizure of treasures and resources, and economic considerations are always a primary factor in the waging of just about every war you can name. Everything else is just smoke and mirrors.
If you study the U.S. a little more closely, you would see that before both World Wars, there was a HUGE segment of the U.S. population that was distinctly anti-war, anti-Europe, anti-everything-that-would-drag-us-into-a-European-War. The U.S. never maintained a large standing military until after WW2; before that, I think Romania had a larger military than the U.S.
McNamara, while clearly responsible for many bad things, actually had to fight to keep some of the hawks in check, with Lemay being the most prominent. They wanted to use nukes in Korea and during the French War in Vietnam, but saner minds prevailed. In many ways, he was a product of his time, and at least he tried to build bridges and mend fences with his former foes. Imagine Rumsfeld sitting down with some Al Queda guys 20 years from now, lol.
Stone-Eater Added Mar 25, 2018 - 12:05pm
McNamara, while clearly responsible for many bad things, actually had to fight to keep some of the hawks in check, with Lemay being the most prominent. They wanted to use nukes in Korea and during the French War in Vietnam, but saner minds prevailed
Fortunately. Today with Bolton being the new Trump buddy a new McNamara would be needed, since Tillerson (in my view a realistic guy) has been sacked.
And concerning Rumsfeld: Might very well be possible....!
Michael B. Added Mar 25, 2018 - 12:18pm
I think (and hope) Trump and his gang are possibly following the Nixon "Madman" model; bellicose rhetoric, saber-rattling, and other behavior that is meant strictly for public consumption, but behind the scenes, all of the dirty dealing and horse-trading takes place. There's what's going on, and then there's...what's REALLY going on, lol. Fuckers are all the same!
Stone-Eater Added Mar 25, 2018 - 12:25pm
That would correspond with the fact that the US and Russia are working together quietly in the Arctic in the energy sector, and for the public the media plays the hate show "bad bad Russians".
Only thing is that at one point the show could get out of hand....
Stone-Eater Added Mar 25, 2018 - 12:27pm
BTW: Maybe the US should ask Russia to join NATO. Then the media would have to find another enemy for headlines LOL
Michael B. Added Mar 25, 2018 - 12:33pm
Russia join NATO! That would solve a lot of problems, wouldn't it? I've always felt that NATO should have been dissolved on the exact same day as the Warsaw Pact. Mission accomplished. Nobody is going to invade Western Europe any time soon.
Michael B. Added Mar 25, 2018 - 12:40pm
For some reason, I'm reminded of a great quote from a great movie, Network from 1976:
Arthur Jensen: You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won't have it! Is that clear?! Do you think you've merely stopped a business deal? That is not the case. The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back! It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity! It is ecological balance! You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multi-variate, multi-national dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds, and shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and sub-atomic and galactic structure of things today! And you have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and You Will Atone!
Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale? You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state - Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, minimax solutions, and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, just like we do. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a collage of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable by-laws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale; it has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that perfect world in which there's no war or famine, oppression or brutality - one vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock - all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. And I have chosen you, Mr. Beale, to preach this evangel.
Howard Beale: Why me?
Arthur Jensen: Because you're on television, dummy. Sixty million people watch you every night of the week, Monday through Friday.
Stone-Eater Added Mar 25, 2018 - 12:55pm
I've always felt that NATO should have been dissolved on the exact same day as the Warsaw Pact.
Right on !
BTW: Gotta see that Network movie once. Several people have mentioned that here, never watched it. I was too busy on chicks and drugs in 1976 LOL
Stone-Eater Added Mar 25, 2018 - 12:58pm
BTW2: That quote kind of confirms my POV. 
Michael B. Added Mar 25, 2018 - 1:14pm
That movie was at least 30 years ahead of its time. Sidney Lumet's movies are often very intense, but he hit that one way out of the park.
Tom C. Purcell Added Mar 25, 2018 - 1:17pm
In that case, it's worth mentioning Fritz Lang's Metropolis. You might say it was 200 years ahead.
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 25, 2018 - 1:21pm
Own a copy....yes, far, far ahead of his time, Tom. 
Michael -
If that movie were redone today the line would be " I'm full of shit and please like me on Facebook"
John Minehan Added Mar 25, 2018 - 1:39pm
On Network, It brings to mind this quote from John Brown's Body by Stephen Vincent Benet:
"If you take a flat map And move wooden blocks upon it strategically, The thing looks well, the blocks behave as they should. The science of war is moving live men like blocks. And getting the blocks into place at a fixed moment. But it takes time to mold your men into blocks And flat maps turn into country where creeks and gullies Hamper your wooden squares. They stick in the brush, They are tired and rest, they straggle after ripe blackberries, And you cannot lift them up in your hand and move them. It is all so clear in the maps, so clear in the mind, But the orders are slow, the men in the blocks are slow To move, when they start they take too long on the way - The General loses his stars, and the block-men die In unstrategic defiance of martial law Because still used to just being men, not block parts."
As true as the Network quote is (and it is, ask any MBA), you still have people like AQ and IS . . . and, dare I say it, . . . Putin and Xi who are "still used to just being men, not block parts" (or, here [possibly], Russian or Chinese).
Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 25, 2018 - 1:46pm
So much for "The Wild West of the Internet"
Benjamin Goldstein Added Mar 25, 2018 - 1:51pm
If the left and the rino Republicans have their say, ALL nations will join NATO and military expenses will rise ever higher, to prepare our fighters with gender adjustment. Meanwhile the police gets dissolved with exception of the thought crime unit so nobody is in the way of Islamic terrorists.
Stone-Eater Added Mar 25, 2018 - 1:59pm
When everybody wants to join NATO, it's obsolete.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Mar 25, 2018 - 2:14pm
SEF yes, but they would never admit it.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Mar 25, 2018 - 5:25pm
"Robert S. McNamara, The Fog of War (2003)"
This guy was a whiz kid who thought he could work a war based on attrition. He was a genuine fool and stooge of the drooling left. 
His was the most sophomoric event in LBJ's war. 
The fog was in the eyes of Robert the Loser. 
Tom C. Purcell Added Mar 25, 2018 - 6:25pm
I don't look at McNamara as a great American per se, but I do think 'The Fog of War' is a very valuable film and I think McNamara was, if nothing else, a wise man by 2003. 
John Minehan Added Mar 25, 2018 - 7:07pm
"This guy was a whiz kid who thought he could work a war based on attrition."
That has been the American way of war since Grant.
Hackworth used to say it had more to do with senior Colonels and Generals who had never really lead small units; who had become battalion and Regimental/DivArty Commanders with 6 or 8 years in the Army during WWII.
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 25, 2018 - 7:17pm
David Hackworth? Pretty smart guy if its the one I'm thinking of
John Minehan Added Mar 25, 2018 - 7:24pm
Retired Army Colonel, Vietnam era?
Shane Laing Added Mar 26, 2018 - 3:58pm
I enjoyed that article Michael a good read
Michael B. Added Mar 27, 2018 - 1:16am
@ TP and TBH - Agreed, Metropolis is a movie that I've seen incrementally over the years. I've determined that in order to watch it fully, I need to consume at least 1/8 ounce of magic mushrooms. That's about the only way to get me to watch a three-hour-long silent film, lol.
Michael B. Added Mar 27, 2018 - 1:16am
@ John M. - That quote reminds me of when I play a certain computer war game that I've been playing for some years now. When I play it with weather, supply, and hidden units turned off, I've been able to conquer England, the USSR, and even Washington, D.C., but when those features are enabled, history almost invariably repeats itself, lol.
Michael B. Added Mar 27, 2018 - 1:17am
@ Captain Gilbert - OK, maybe we can still keep it at a low rumble at least, huh!?!
Michael B. Added Mar 27, 2018 - 1:17am
@ BG and SEF - Is it that NATO has become like a rich man's country club? lol
Michael B. Added Mar 27, 2018 - 1:17am
@ JFK Democrat - McNamara was the poster-boy and figurehead for a great many individuals who have mis-applied or even dis-applied their skills, for better or for worse, ever since.
Michael B. Added Mar 27, 2018 - 1:18am
@ John M. - Hackworth complained many times that part of the problem with the military leadership in Vietnam was exactly as you pointed out; officers went from being 2LT's to LTC's or higher within a couple of years, or even months, so they never got the "rubber meets the road" experience and became what Hackworth called "The Great Squad Leader in the Sky", where field-grade officers were performing company-grade tasks. I think that is what is part of McNamara's legacy: MICROMANAGEMENT, lol.
Michael B. Added Mar 27, 2018 - 1:18am
@ TBH - I wrote a post about Hackworth that I may re-post. I'm getting shit for that, but I think it's one of my best ones, so I might, lol. One of my heroes, for sure.
Michael B. Added Mar 27, 2018 - 1:18am
@ Shane - Thanks Shane! Where ya been, ya fuckin' Limey, lol! I hope all is well with you!
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 27, 2018 - 2:25am
We're the only miscreants up and about at this hour. Got any houses you wanna TP?
Stone-Eater Added Mar 27, 2018 - 2:32am
At this hour ? Just had breakfast. 8:32 am here in Switzerland LOL
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 27, 2018 - 2:35am
I keep all kinds of peculiar hours. In years past I had business with some German manufacturers - Stahl Hoists- I had to adapt sleeping in shifts of four hours and never quite recovered from the habit
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 27, 2018 - 2:37am
March is the most miserable month in this hemisphere
Michael B. Added Mar 27, 2018 - 2:38am
"We're the only miscreants up and about at this hour. Got any houses you wanna TP?"
No, but I have a pellet gun, a pound of black powder, and a can of paint thinner that all need to be gainfully employed, lol.
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 27, 2018 - 2:38am
the needle finally manages to hit the 60s and now all it wants to do is rain! When it isnt still snowing somewhere
Michael B. Added Mar 27, 2018 - 2:38am
Ahhh, the memories, lol!
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 27, 2018 - 2:44am
Ok, now you need some vaseline, 8 ounces of IronOut and 32 oz. pack of Miracle Gro (the blue pellets). Using ductile iron or schedule 40?
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 27, 2018 - 2:45am
you have a tutorial over in Tex's thread
Michael B. Added Mar 27, 2018 - 3:04am
TBH, I never got around to pipe bombs, lol.
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 27, 2018 - 3:41am
I like fish hooks... really fucks up the triage
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 27, 2018 - 3:42am
ball bearings are great for the dispersal pattern, but you really need the barbs in there too
The Burghal Hidage Added Mar 27, 2018 - 3:45am
or so I'm told :)  Facing a dilemma here: quarter to 4:00
Jamesons or coffee? Ah! Coffee with Jamesons, of course! Sleep is for pussies 
Dave Volek Added Mar 27, 2018 - 3:36pm
Thanks for the history lesson.
I recall a documentary that Ho Chi Minh asked the Americans for help to gain their independence from France after WW2. USA refused. Ho got help from the Chinese. History was then made.
Doug Plumb Added Mar 27, 2018 - 4:00pm
re " Only the old school deniers still use his work, Fritz Berg, noted denier, loathes him. "
I don't see how you need an engineering degree to scrape some shit off a wall and send it to a lab. I guess if you cannot attack based on competence, use licentiousness. Nail him for not having a license.
  Tricky Dick wouldn't sign GATT. He got the name after the establishment kicked him out of the Club. I guess the rule below doesn't apply to people that stand against Globalists:
re "Lesson #9: In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil."
  OK, but you have to still be prepared to take responsibility for your evil acts, even if you do them believing they are of necessity. You have to put skin in the game else you are just a coward.
@Banjamine re: Video link / Witold Pilecki. He sounds like another Eli Weisel. Who would voluntarily go to camp where they were sure to be executed ? You can't write a book after you're dead.
Michael B. Added Mar 27, 2018 - 9:35pm
@ Dave Volek - I think it was in 1964 or 1965 that LBJ wrote to Ho Chi Minh saying that if he were to play nice and play ball, the U.S. would essentially stop sending shiploads full of weapons and soldiers and instead send shiploads full of stuff that would have turned Vietnam into a Southeast Asian version of the Tennessee Valley Authority. Uncle Ho told LBJ to go fuck himself in so many words. A comment I heard somewhere was, "If Ho Chi Minh was George Meany, Johnson would have had a deal."