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Commentary :: Human Rights
06 Jul 2009
McNamara may be the greatest modern example of the banality of evil.

He was, in his heyday, a dry, boring man with the appearance of a corporate executive who taught Baptist Sunday School classes.

He was very bright and energetic, but dry and boring, driven by an insane need for success and with no evident ethical standards beyond those associated with the ferociously ambitious.

The United States, under his advice and that of others like McGeorge Bundy, created the greatest holocaust since that of World War II.

An estimated three million Vietnamese were killed, many of them suffering horrible deaths from napalm and early versions of cluster bombs.

Carpet bombing by B-52s made parts of that poor country resemble the surface of the moon.

Left behind were millions of pounds of the hideous Agent Orange oozing through the ground to cause birth defects for perhaps centuries.

Left behind too were hundreds of thousands of land mines to cripple and kill farmers for decades after.

The reason for this horror? The Vietnamese were fighting a civil war and the side with the wrong economic beliefs was winning.

Of course, it also relates to America's penchant for obsessions, its Captain Ahab drive to chase and kill the great whale.

In the 1960s, it was communism.

Today it's Islamic fundamentalism.

In his later years, McNamara was a sad figure. He very much did come to regret his role. He was almost driven by the ghosts of all those dead souls.

This work is in the public domain
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