Excellent: “The Cuban Missile Crisis @50: A Reconsideration”

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.

8 thoughts on “Excellent: “The Cuban Missile Crisis @50: A Reconsideration””

  1. I consider that son-of-bitch-bastard Robert McNamara the most responsible individual for our failure in the Vietnam conflict. His micro-management of the war plus his many war decisions accounted for a whole generation of Americans kids (and South Vietnamese people) killed in that horrible conflict. Also Lindon Johnson shares plenty of blame for this disaster as he played accomplice to McNamara’s decisions.

    Robert McNamara poor decisions as a Secretary of Defense turned that war into a war of attrition and a stalemate with the US having no desire to win the war while plenty of American and Vietnamese GIs (along with civilians) were being slaughtered in a failed cause that Robert McNamara and Lindon Johnson weren’t willing to win. It did not had to be that way and I cannot understand why Robert McNamara was so irresponsible in the handling of that war and the lives of those fighting to stop the spread of Communism in South East Asia.

    also Richard Nixon inherited a damaged goods situation after the Johnson administration and waited too long to start the massive bombing campaign of late 1972 and Henry Kissinger nailed the coffin of this war at the 1973 peace agreement with North Vietnam that allowed Vietcong and North Vietnamese combatants on South Vietnamese soil while the US forces had to leave the country.

    Now Henry Kissinger has a beautiful Peace Nobel Prize hanging on his wall stained with the blood of all those Cambodians, South Vietnamese and Laotian people slaughtered after the Khmer Rouge and Hanoi took over those countries.

    That’s why regardless of our feelings for the Iraqi conflict we must have to hand it over to George W. Bush for staying the course until the conflict was fairly won and Iraq could have a decent shot at a future without Saddam Hussein.

    At least American GIs did not die in vain in Iraq (unlike in South East Asia).

  2. And the liberals in this country have a completely different narrative. They think MacNamara was brave when he did The Fog of War and admitted the error of going into Viet Nam at all. This makes liberals so smug and happy in an I told you so way.
    Then they hate Bush for his illegal war of Bush lied and people died. They think our Americans did die in vain in Iraq.
    But they find no fault with Obama and all of his mistakes in his foreign policy decisions and all the deaths he has on his hands, many more than Bush.

  3. WWI started by ‘miscalculation’? There cretins really are under demonic influence, aren’t they?

    Two inbred moronic cousins in Europe got into it – again. The rest of it was nutcase black-hating professor Woodrow Wilson who lied America into a war no one here wanted.

    This ‘progressive’ mental case – redundant, I know – admitted before he croaked that he had done irreparable damage to America.

    At least for once in his stupid life he was honest, and correct.

    These people are dangerous.

  4. The McNamara quote is indeed priceless, worth laminating for the wallet.

    Heard him speaking on the radio ca. ’89. He sounded like a crazy old hag, truly, gassing off about how the communists were all a fiction created by ‘the right wing’.

    This crazy arrogant dope and his control-freak ‘managed war’ and ‘calibrated response’ turned what should have been a quick action in Viet Nam into a protracted national tragedy from which we’ve not recovered.

    President Reagan showed how to do it with Grenada in OCT ’83 – funny how the rats in the media never celebrate that true victory – when he sent in the troops to rout the sov’s and castro’s goons, rescued the Americans, and got the heck out.

    The left is a stupendous combination of stupidity and cruelty, a syphiliti plague which has ruined every nation it infested with its sweet toxic lies.

  5. I’ve read The Guns of August. Indeed, Tuchman’s use of that phrase fits that specific situation perfectly — i.e., royal houses in Europe miscalculating as to which one would blink, or not. It DID NOT, however, fit the situation with Cuba and the USSR. That was JFK’s miscalculation.

  6. I had not connected the Missile Crisis to Vietnam, but it sounds very plausible, in which case JFK’s atrocious handling of the Cuba situation was the poisoned gift that kept on giving, or rather, taking. As I’ve already said, JFK only looks progressively worse as time goes by. It’s not just that he was ridiculously overrated, but that, directly or indirectly, he caused tremendous, incalculable harm, despite being firmly convinced that he was God’s gift to mankind, or certainly to the US. But his numerous enablers clearly share in the blame, especially those in the press. Predictably, none of the JFK mythologizers ever admitted fault or folly, neither his nor theirs, including, obviously, the Democratic Party. That’s why any Cuban who supports Democrats is someone I cannot respect. It’s simply too big an indignity, and too much disrespect for Cuba’s tragedy.

  7. If Dems under JFK and Johnson thought the “solution” to the Missile Crisis was such a great success, it obviously follows that, to them, its catastrophic consequences for Cuba didn’t mean SHIT. Nothing. Not a damn thing. Just as the horrendous consequences of the Vietnam debacle didn’t mean shit to those responsible for it. But of course, the geniuses in question couldn’t care about such “collateral damage” because, if they faced up to what they’d wound up causing, they would have had to commit suicide. Besides, being “the best and the brightest” means that no matter how badly you screw up, you’re somehow entitled to get a pass. That’s what McNamara did; he gave himself a pass, and said what the liberal left wanted him to say to be “absolved” or “rehabilitated.”

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