In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam
Mr. Robert McNamara discussed his book, In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam, published by Times Books. The book deals with his life and career as a public servant, focusing on his role as the secretary of defense from 1961 to 1968 during the Johnson and Kennedy administrations. According to Mr. McNamara, U.S. policy was based on a “domino” theory in which the loss of Vietnam would initiate a collapse of nations, which could include the United States. In the book, he identified eleven reasons for the outcome in Vietnam and six stages at which the U. S. withdrawal was possible. Mr. McNamara chronicled the measures enacted by government leaders and why he believes, in retrospect, that their decisions were wrong. According to Mr. McNamara, he viewed the Vietnam War as a “failure” as early as 1966, and that he started the Pentagon Papers to leave a record of the “mistakes” leading to the war. He also discussed his reasons for writing the book. During the interview, Mr. McNamara responded to an audio tape of a caller whose brother died in the Vietnam War and who described the pain the book and the memories associated with it caused her. He said he understood her position and hoped that “she would find some healing if she read the book.” close
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Robert McNamara Secretary (Former) Department of Defense
- Brian Lamb Host C-SPAN
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