Robert McNamara and John F. Kennedy.  Source - UPI
Robert McNamara and John F. Kennedy. Source - UPI

I’m not wealthy, but I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do, and I decided not to do anything that doesn’t meet two criteria: expand my understanding of the world, and allow me to apply whatever understanding I have in some productive way.

Robert McNamara, former U.S. secretary of defense during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, died today in his home in Washington, DC at the age of 93. McNamara is probably best known as the “architect of the Vietnam War.” McNamara’s quantitative strategy for the war was impressive (on paper) using technology, charts, and sophisticated analysis. The result was a defeat for the U.S. and 58,000 American lives lost.

A World War II veteran, McNamara joined Kennedy’s cabinet in 1961 after working as president of the Ford Motor Company. He left the Pentagon in 1968 and headed the World Bank. McNamara’s biography became and in some ways was overshadowed by Vietnam. For those who kept a closer watch, there was more to the man than just the war. Filmmaker Errol Morris captured this in his documentary interview “The Fog of War.” If anything Robert McNarama should be remembered for is his willingness to recognize the lessons that will prevent humanity from destroying itself.