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The Fog of War

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I sat down last night and was completely drawn into this documentary/interview/history lesson on HDNet. The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (former Sec. of Defense for LBJ) was an excellent film that I wish everyone here could see.

 

You can read more about it here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0317910/

 

The "Eleven Lessons" listed in the film are as follows:

 

* 1. Empathize with your enemy.

* 2. Rationality will not save us.

* 3. There's something beyond one's self.

* 4. Maximize efficiency.

* 5. Proportionality should be a guideline in war.

* 6. Get the data.

* 7. Belief and seeing are both often wrong.

* 8. Be prepared to reexamine your reasoning.

* 9. In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil.

* 10. Never say never.

* 11. You can't change human nature.

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Of course, #4 was an area he screwed up on by trying to overmaximize. F-111B anyone?

 

I'm not sure that emulating one of the architects of defeat is a great idea.

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The odd thing is, you never really hear of McNamara making a decision, only collecting the data to form an opinion, and then giving that information to those that actually MADE the decision.

 

He talks about using stats to show Curtis Lemay that he would loose 20% of his Bombers before the Bomber squadrons ever reached the drop zone. They talked about a large part of this being fear, to which Curtis Lemay made the decision to be the lead plane and told his fellow pilots that he would court martial anyone that returned prior to reaching the target.

 

However, without getting into a political debate, everyones decisions are based on the information that they are given. And I'm sure we all know that we can make stats say just about anything we want them to.

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I'm not sure that emulating one of the architects of defeat is a great idea.

 

I have to admit, I used to think he was a complete douchebag for several reasons I won't go into, but after seeing the docco, I felt he did give quite a good account of himself and I saw just how much I'd dehumanised him. I mean still, there are things I completely disagree with him about but... he's still human. If you haven't seen it, grab it, it's a really good watch!

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Really fates? I read about him picking targets to bomb with his mathematics? Much like rumsfeld in being a micro managing freak.

 

Those points are general enough to be hard to argue against no matter how much he screwed up.

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All he was, was a numbers cruncher, pure and simple. He didn't care how he got the numbers (or lives that it took to get the numbers) as long as he got them. I recall on my DVD about the F-105 , he announced to the world what SAM site were going to hit in retaliation for it shooting down an F-4. So the NVA moved the SAM site, put close to a 1000 AAA sites near painted telephone poles. Recon overflights saw this, gave the brass the info, but since McNamara told the world we were going to do that, he didn't cancel the strike. He wanted to save face. Instead 4 Thuds went down that day. Nothing he can say ever will justify his uselessness as a SECDEF. He got a lot of guys killed because of his arrogance.

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All he was, was a numbers cruncher, pure and simple. He didn't care how he got the numbers (or lives that it took to get the numbers) as long as he got them. I recall on my DVD about the F-105 , he announced to the world what SAM site were going to hit in retaliation for it shooting down an F-4. So the NVA moved the SAM site, put close to a 1000 AAA sites near painted telephone poles. Recon overflights saw this, gave the brass the info, but since McNamara told the world we were going to do that, he didn't cancel the strike. He wanted to save face. Instead 4 Thuds went down that day. Nothing he can say ever will justify he uselessness as a SECDEF. He got a lot of guys killed because of his arrogance.

 

I've been resisting adding anything to this because that piece of gutter trash cost so many lives and I am still very, very angry about his duplicity. But your post points out how incredibly STUPID and DEVOID of Common Sense he and his number crunching cronies were. His arrogant stupidity cost lives.

 

He admitted in some interview not too long ago that he never believed that we could or would win in Vietnam, but that he supported the committment of troops into what he believed was a lost and useless cause because he thought it important that other countries see that we could and would take casualties. So he was both and architect of our involvement and our political defeat.

 

As a result, of course, we as a country are now casualty averse and branded by our enemies as a hollow, paper tiger and a juicy target.

 

For all of that, may he rot in ............

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Ah... I see...

 

 

So I didn't have to be do diplomatic after all. :wink:

 

Still, I'm going to bite my lip about why I think he's a douchebag.

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Perhaps because of his propensity to carry douches internally?

 

Actually, I heard a great one on the radio yesterday...douche nozzle. :grin:

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A prime example of EGO driving a career. He thought he was smarter than his Generals. (The people who were in the Know about what was really going on.)

Rolling Thunder pilots had to wait for the target list to come out of D.C.

We also had to wait for list during Linebacker 1.

Desert Storm proved what happens if on scene commanders pick targets. The ground war lasted 100 hours.

I guess George Jr. and his buddies forget about that. :oops:

 

Sorry,didn't mean to rant on,It's a sore subject with me.

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Hopefully when we have to go into Pakistan to make sure Islamic radicals don't get nukes for real this time They'll have learned their lesson.

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Hopefully when we have to go into Pakistan to make sure Islamic radicals don't get nukes for real this time They'll have learned their lesson.

 

you do realize that the number of wmd warheads captured in Iraq was no where near zero?

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Yes, I remember, IEDs laced with Chlorine or other chemicals and Iraq/Iran leftovers you posted a link to, hardly what was sold as a justification. Not these massive bunkers producing nuclear warheads or enough Anthrax and Nerve Gas to wipe out the continental US.

 

I'm talking enriched Uranium, Plutonium. Real weapons grade material, fissionable material. Pakistan is a declared nuclear state, we don't have to trust anyone's claims. Everyone is hoping it doesn't happen, but Musharraf is desperate and won't last long. At least in such a scenario, I can wholeheartedly support that war because it is a real threat. Also, were you aware that the head of the Pakistani ISI wired $100,000 to Mohammed Atta on september 9th, 2001?

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All he was, was a numbers cruncher, pure and simple. He didn't care how he got the numbers (or lives that it took to get the numbers) as long as he got them. I recall on my DVD about the F-105 , he announced to the world what SAM site were going to hit in retaliation for it shooting down an F-4. So the NVA moved the SAM site, put close to a 1000 AAA sites near painted telephone poles. Recon overflights saw this, gave the brass the info, but since McNamara told the world we were going to do that, he didn't cancel the strike. He wanted to save face. Instead 4 Thuds went down that day. Nothing he can say ever will justify his uselessness as a SECDEF. He got a lot of guys killed because of his arrogance.

 

A rather articulate argument for the requirement for war leaders to have actually been in the service they command. Things stand a greater chance of not being skewed by ego.

 

The real casualty of Vietnam was the relationship between the American people and their military. It has taken a lot of time, but the good news is that people these days realize exactly who is making the calls and who is the guy/gal who just volunteered to do the job. Nothing different back then, but the military was just, itself, a target of opportunity when things went South. I think the politicians are going to have to try a different tack this time around because there is no doubt that our young men and women are doing a superior job and even the media recognizes that all of them are really ours! God bless them all.

 

Sorry everybody, this is supposed to be a Flight Sim forum, but Vietnam is a subject that still is a thorn in the gut for many.

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I guess George Jr. and his buddies forget about that. :oops:

 

Ezlead, you should know better.

 

First, and foremost, military objectives are ALWAYS subservient to the political objectives. War's ultimate aim is to fulfill the political objectives. Period. The minute they are not, you are setting up a military coup.

 

Does anyone like the idea of a military junta running the country?

 

Didn't think so.

 

Now, the idea that the political arm should give the military it's marching orders, then let the military carry it out as best it can is essentially correct. Successful CONVENTIONAL conflict prosecution typically works well this way.

 

As for the statement in quotes...wrong. The CONVENTIONAL, big tanks, massive rolling ground formations, etc, etc worked as planned in Gulf War I and II (which, btw, 'Mission Accomplished' refered to in the speech, if you bother listening in it's entirety). That's where air power is very useful...clear targets, clearly marked combatants, 'force on force', conventional land warfare old school style.

 

Where air power is a lot less useful is in the sub-conventional, insurgent, guerilla, unconventional, whatever the hell you want to call it, type warfare. Warfare where the targets are not clearly marked (until they shoot at you or try to blow you up), alliances flow and ebb like water, targets are usually NOT military, and organization is loose at best. Where the objective is not to take out military targets, but to take out the political will to fight. Air power has a lot less utility here. Prosecution of an unconventional conflict by conventional means may in fact hurt political objectives (taking out a whole town because it's riddled with insurgents, as an example) in the long term.

 

Sub-conventional conflicts are long, bloody, hard, and often demoralizing. You can either steel yourself for the long fight...or don't bother.

 

Refering to Vietnam, there are a lot of opinions that bombing the snot out of the North early on would have brought a end to the conflict in our favor, sooner. Usually, this is based on the results of the Linebacker operations in the closing days of the war.

 

Perhaps.

 

The reason I say that is an analysis that I read one time of the air campaign the essentially brought up this point:

 

In 1965, what the North had to face was non-existence from a bombing campaign.

In 1972, what the North had to face was loss of bargining position.

 

In other words, they had a lot less to lose by that point in the war. A Linebacker-type campaign in the early stages would have maybe driven the conflict into the sub-conventional range, but may not have stopped the war...because they were fighting for their very existence as a Communist entity. And so would have been willing to endure a massive air campaign. But by 1972, enduring a massive air campaign would be for very little gain...bargaining position at the table.

 

Does McNamara get a pass? Oh, hell no! There were so many things he did wrong, they WAY overshadow any thing he may have done right.

 

As far as other, current events? I will say this ONE more time...considering how often media gets aviation things wrong...what makes you think they are accurate about ANYTHING else? I don't know how many times I hear from buds back from the sand telling me what you hear and see is NOT what it is.

 

FastCargo

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What most people don't know is how far back our involvment with Vietnam and Ho Chi Mihn went. He started off on our side and we told him to piss off. It could have all been avoided.

 

With Iraq, the plans were in place for postwar Iraq. It would have worked, but Rumsfeld came in as a control freak over it all and essentially let it all rot. And going in with alot more troops at the start would have made a huge difference in maintaining order.

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Yes, I remember, IEDs laced with Chlorine or other chemicals and Iraq/Iran leftovers you posted a link to, hardly what was sold as a justification. Not these massive bunkers producing nuclear warheads or enough Anthrax and Nerve Gas to wipe out the continental US.

 

I'm talking enriched Uranium, Plutonium. Real weapons grade material, fissionable material. Pakistan is a declared nuclear state, we don't have to trust anyone's claims. Everyone is hoping it doesn't happen, but Musharraf is desperate and won't last long. At least in such a scenario, I can wholeheartedly support that war because it is a real threat. Also, were you aware that the head of the Pakistani ISI wired $100,000 to Mohammed Atta on september 9th, 2001?

 

 

never heard any confirmation of the ISI claim, just hype. Yes, there were a lot of links between the ISI and Al Queda. Odd that you don't credit any of the documented links between Al Queda and IIS.

 

weapons grade uranium? we captured and airlifted out of Iraq tons of weapons grade uranium, now held in our custody. We left over 500 tons at the Tuwaitha Nuclear Research facility which was not yet weapons grade.

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With Iraq, the plans were in place for postwar Iraq.

 

oh, so there actually WERE postwar plans!! you must have missed you faxed talking point on that issue. Don't you realize that the approved propaganda point was that there were no plans?

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As far as other, current events? I will say this ONE more time...considering how often media gets aviation things wrong...what makes you think they are accurate about ANYTHING else? I don't know how many times I hear from buds back from the sand telling me what you hear and see is NOT what it is.

 

FastCargo

 

I have never, ever in 35 years ever seen the media get anything correct about something I knew about. ever.

 

and they aren't getting it right this time either. They are invested in the Democratic lunatic fringe which in invested in our defeat for short-term political gain. just like the '70's. the same playbook

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I have never, ever in 35 years ever seen the media get anything correct about something I knew about. ever.

 

and they aren't getting it right this time either. They are invested in the Democratic lunatic fringe which in invested in our defeat for short-term political gain. just like the '70's. the same playbook

 

Here here.....

 

And you can tell by what people post that all they have read is media reports. I love sitting in my CP and watch them spout off about something that I have first hand knowledge on, and they get it all wrong.

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* 1. Empathize with your enemy.

 

BS, bomb their ass into submission like we did in DS. There is your empathy.

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What happened to instill this hatred in you Typhoid? An otherwise great guy, add politics and Poof! rabid wolf. Ask yourself, who is more on the fringe, someone who scorns the mistakes of both sides, or just one?

 

The only news I pay any attention to anymore is the traffic and weather. And they're never right either :biggrin:

 

No, as much as Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh would like you to believe, Harry Reid and Howard Dean don't send out a bulletin to anyone left or reasonably center with beliefs and arguements that can be tossed away when the next one comes in.

 

As for plans, it looks like we had everything in place and the DOD was put in charge of postwar Iraq, and Rumsfeld just screwed them up. If he had just let people do their jobs instead of micromanaging everything, and if he had listened to Tommy Franks and gone with his original numbers, Iraq would be stable right now.

 

I'll continue later, but I'll leave off with my favorite quote from Robin Williams in Man of the Year "If it was unpatriotic to question the government, we'd be British."

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Eraser people like Typhoid, Ezlead, Fast Cargo and I have been implements of some of those policies. You can analyze all you want, read all the internet jibberish you want. But when you are the tip of the spear and please forgive me for using that term, not trying to put ego in this at all, and have seen what works and hasn't worked, (especially if lives were lost) then we have a unique perspective on it. And it does anger some. I agree with alot of what Typhoid has said and believe me it pisses me off like it does him.

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Everyone is missing the point here. This isn't a Left vs. Right debate. It's a matter of ME watching SOMEONE ELSE talk about his perspective on the ELEVEN LESSONS FROM THE LIFE OF R. MacNamara.

 

Its the 11 Lessons. maybe everyone should watch the documentary like I said before pre-judging his life. Maybe some right wing guys will learn that this vid is about 11 lessons. Maybe the 11 lessons were learned while making mistakes. Maybe a few of them are things that he new ahead of time and wanted to share them with the rest of the world. Maybe some of these lessons are confessions. Maybe some are just plain common sense.

 

Either way, it's not the man that I enjoyed, it's the message. Put all your political BS aside and listen to it with an open mind. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, only that it's a message that makes you think about the process of decision making when it comes to decisions of war.

 

Don't sit here judging actions.....judge the lessons learned.

 

I'll open up this topic for a short bit, but I'll close it in a heart beat if I have to.

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