How to Remember McNamara?

blog-mcnamaraThe question of how to remember or acknowledge the passing of Robert Strange McNamara, who served as defense secretary from 1961 to 1968 and was a primary architect of the Vietnam War, remains hazy. One qualified voice on the subject is the filmmaker and inquisitor Errol Morris, whose 2003 film The Fog of War offered a rare glimpse into the conscience of a global figure who had withdrawn from public life, armed only with his own judgments and assertions — “McNamara in Context,” the latest entry from Morris’ column on the New York Times site, opens the discussions (click here for more on Morris’ 2006 cover story in STOP SMILING); meanwhile, the front page of the Times offered a meticulous obituary, written by Tim Weiner (who appeared as one of the interview subjects in our 20 Interviews issue back in 2007 — click here for more) ; and Fred Kaplan of Slate charted McNamara’s rise to prominence, concluding with an acknowledgment that during his retirement the former “whiz kid” was prone to “misremembering” vital statistics and consequences of his actions while serving as defense secretary.