Superb piece in PowerLine Blog from Steven Hayward: “The Cuban Missile Crisis @50: A Reconsideration | Power Line.”
[…] But the best and brightest of the Kennedy-Johnson administration were so self-deluded with their “success” that they decided to apply the same strategy of “flexible response” in Vietnam. Cyrus Vance, who was a deputy secretary of defense at the Pentagon in 1962 and who later served as Jimmy Carter’s Secretary of State, confirmed this view: “We had seen the gradual application of force applied in the Cuban Missile Crisis and had seen a very successful result. We believed that, if this same gradual and restrained application of force were applied in South Vietnam, that one could expect the same result.” Not!
If, as Kennedy thought, wars start by “miscalculation” (one of Kennedy’s favorite books was Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August, which argued that World War I began because of “miscalculation”), then the task of leadership consists chiefly of sending the appropriate rational “signals” to affect the other side’s calculations about the chances of war. During the heydey of this thinking, John P. Roche recalled, “Discussions of military security began to sound more and more like seminars in game theory. There was a kind of antiseptic quality permeating the atmosphere; one often had the feeling he was attending a chess match. . . The atmosphere made those of us who come from the harsh training of poker decidedly uneasy.”
In reviewing this whole period of liberal strategic thought, military historian Jeffrey Record wrote that Robert McNamara was “The most disastrous American public servant of the twentieth century,” combining “a know-it-all arrogance with a capacity for monumental misjudgment and a dearth of moral courage worthy of Albert Speer.”
Wonder what Record would say about Obama?
The McNamara quote is a keeper.
BTW, our very own cirujano has brought these facts to the attention of readers over and over and over and over again.