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Documentary: The Fog Of War

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  • Documentary: The Fog Of War

    Just seen the documentary at a cinema here. It is essentially a long interview with Robert McNamara in eleven chapters corresponding with his personal and political insights and assessments after a long life in politics. It is matched with historical footage of the time and many White House tape recordings of his discussions with Presidents Kennedy and Johnson.

    While I am not fully sure what the documentary tries to tell us exactly, it is a compelling close-up of a man who was at the very core of decision making, during two wars ... against Japan and the Viet Nam War ... and during the Cuban Crisis. McNamara, and the documentary, show how many totally uncontrollable elements effectively decide politics - like luck, personal dislikes (Gen. Curtis LeMay) that can lead to decisions that can be irreversible.
    According to McNamara it was sheer luck in several instances that the two Great Powers USA and UdSSR didn't decide to blow the world to pieces ..!
    The film shows up how much even the mightiest actually are misinformed and tempted to act upon unreliable information and surmising. Therefore admonishes all to reconsider their position again and again!

    Much different than Fahrenheit 9/11, unspeculative, very straightly told. Worth seeing, but not the "best documentary" as suggested in one review.
    (on Errol Morris, the director)
    Google ergo sum

  • #2
    BBC Radio 4 did an excellent program last year where they had actors reading from scripts transposed from actual recordings made in the whitehouse at the time of the Cuban missile crisis.

    I actually think that Kennedy make a cool and sensible judgement based on the information that he had. He came across as a sensible leader and a good negotiator, (he was negotiating with his own general staff as much as he was negotiating with the soviets).

    One of the generals (I'm sorry I don't know all the names from that era) was trying to persuade Kennedy that "War with the soviets is inevitable" and there would be no better time to start it!

    The most striking part of course was the epilogue, when listeners were able to hear all the information that Kennedy didn't have.

    So yes, luck seemed to have played a huge part, but there was good decision maker involved too (Who, don't forget was in constant pain, and on countless drugs) .

    The US really lost out when whoever fired that shot, fired that shot. Cold wars need cool heads!
    \"It got worse. He needed something to cure himself. What? he asked. M-A 19 he answered.\"