Friday, June 04, 2004

Vietnam Syndrome?

"We misjudged then -- and we have since -- the geopolitical intentions of our adversaries . . . and we exaggerated the dangers to the United States of their actions."

"We underestimated the power of nationalism to motivate a people to fight and die for their beliefs and values."

"We failed then -- and have since -- to recognize the limitations of modern, high-technology military equipment, forces and doctrine. . . . We failed as well to adapt our military tactics to the task of winning the hearts and minds of people from a totally different culture."

"We failed to draw Congress and the American people into a full and frank discussion and debate of the pros and cons of a large-scale military involvement . . . before we initiated the action."

"After the action got under way and unanticipated events forced us off our planned course . . . we did not fully explain what was happening and why we were doing what we did."

"We did not recognize that neither our people nor our leaders are omniscient. Our judgment of what is in another people's or country's best interest should be put to the test of open discussion in international forums. We do not have the God-given right to shape every nation in our image or as we choose."

Robert S. McNamara, U.S. Secretary of Defense 1961-1968


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