Summary: Lessons Of Mcnamara

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Lessons of McNamara
In the last decade, the U.S, acting as a world police, have faced many difficulties such as loss of manpower and firepower, economic damage, ethical conflicts among officials as well as citizens within the country in its relations with insurgents in Middle Eastern countries. Although it seems there is no light at the end of the tunnel to a layman, there is still a chance for the U.S to redeem itself. Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara’s lessons, which are the importance of empathizing with enemies, considering proportionality, and recognizing that the end justifies the evil means, he had learned from his experience of serving in 1960s provide solutions to the foregoing problems that are also raised in the
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Such emphasis on importance of practicing empathy matches with liberalists’ view that empathy is required in international cooperation. Failure to be empathetic, however, can cause the strong to lose and evidences that supports McNamara’s claim can be found in Record’s article. Record first introduces Andrew Mack’s argument. Mack argued “will to fight and prevail” is the ultimate determinant of which side is likely to win. According to Mack, “ for insurgents ‘war’ is total, while for the external power it is necessarily ‘limited’, meaning that weaker side has its country and independence to lose in a war so it fights with everything it has. The stronger, on the other hand, don’t face thread of getting occupied so their will to win is not as strong. Record agrees with Mack’s assessment and further argues that inferior will to win was one of components that caused the U.S to lose Vietnam. “Key Vietnam War players in the Johnson Administration grasped neither the disparity in interests and will that separated the United States and the Vietnamese communities nor its consequences. They could find no reason for the enemy’s tenacity and staying power”, states Record. The U.S officials underestimated …show more content…
He sees war as a means to an end and suggests killing is given but minimization of killing is necessary when trying to do the good. McNamara’s lesson matches with liberalist’ way of thinking because while acknowledging that war and killing people are evil, it emphasized that the spreading democracy as good since democracy could lead to an end of war. In the article, Record doesn’t argue against warfare, but he points out the problems with the way that U.S fights against insurgents in asymmetrical war. Technological advancement allowed the U.S to experience less casualties while inflicting damage to the enemy. Such advancement has negative effect because it increases public’s tolerance for blood incurred. “The same primacy that has yielded conventional deterrence, however has pushed America’s enemies into greater reliance on irregular warfare responses that exposes the limits of conventional primacy”, states Record. Thus, conventional wisdom creates a cycle and doesn’t put definite end to a war. To counteract the cycle, Record doesn’t promote abolition of conventional primacy, but encourages the U.S add new ways of fighting irregular warfare by “creating ground forces dedicated to performing stability and support operations, including counterinsurgency.” McNamara’s lesson is clearly reinforced by Record’s attempt to provide

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