WSJ Editorial: McNamara and the Liberals' War





Robert McNamara died on Monday at age 93 like he lived most of the latter half of his life, scorned and derided by his former liberal allies for refusing to turn against the Vietnam War as early as they did. As the New York Times put it in a page-one obituary headline, McNamara was the "Architect of Futile War."

In historical fact, Vietnam was the liberals' war, begun by JFK, escalated by LBJ, and cheered on for years by giants of the American left before they turned against it. In his 1995 memoir, McNamara apologized for the war. But he probably sealed his reputation on the left by also quoting the New York Times and liberal antiwar reporter David Halberstam for having opposed U.S. withdrawal as late as 1965. "To be fair to Halberstam," McNamara wrote dryly, "the hawkish views he was expressing reflected the opinion of the majority of journalists at the time."

Like JFK and Averell Harriman, Halberstam also supported the 1963 coup against South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, a misguided foray into Vietnamese politics that led to deeper U.S. involvement. Only later as the war dragged on did these liberals lose their nerve, and they never forgave McNamara for fighting on -- even years later after he finally agreed they were right.

As with Vietnam, American liberals also turned against the Iraq war after first supporting it. The crucial difference is that President Bush never lost his nerve. Despite the difficulties after the 2003 invasion and the terrible setbacks of 2006, he replaced his generals, sent more troops and embraced a new counterinsurgency strategy. The insurgency was defeated, and Mr. Bush left office with Iraq as a united, self-governing ally....


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Arnold Shcherban - 7/9/2009

You mister try to get ALL US troops and military bases out of Iraq then we'll see how "defeated" the insursency against pro-US regime is.
Whom are trying to affirm, yourself?

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