𝐖𝐚𝐭𝐜𝐡 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐅𝐨𝐠 𝐨𝐟 𝐖𝐚𝐫 𝐄𝐥𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐋𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐋𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐑𝐨𝐛𝐞𝐫𝐭 𝐒 𝐌𝐜𝐍𝐚𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐚 𝐖𝐚𝐭𝐜𝐡 𝐌𝐨𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐎𝐧𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐅𝐫𝐞𝐞
“His regret cannot be huge enough to balance the books for our dead soldiers,” Raines wrote in an editorial. “The ghosts of those unlived lives circle close around Mr. McNamara.”
Even if insufficient, Weiner writes that his contrition appeared sincere. McNamara was frank about his career in The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert McNamara, and in his autobiography.
“I think the human race needs to think more about killing,” he says in the award-winning documentary’s trailer. “How much evil must we do in order to do good?”
The “lessons” McNamara discusses in the film encompass many of the military events he participated in or witnessed during his career: American firebombing of Japanese cities during the Second World War, the Cuban Missile Crisis and of course Vietnam.
“What I’m doing is thinking through this in hindsight,” he says in the documentary. “... I’m very proud of my accomplishments, and I’m very sorry that in the process of accomplishing things, I’ve made errors.”
if anyone else is watching this to get all 11 lessons, here's where to find them:
-Lesson #1: Empathize with the enemy 5:40
-Lesson #2: Rationality will not save us 12:15
-Lesson #3: There is something beyond one’s self 20:55
Lesson #4: Maximize efficiency 25:40
Lesson #5: Proportionality should be a guideline in war 32:55
Lesson #6: Get the data 40:40
#7: Belief & seeing are both often wrong 54:30Lesson
#8: Be prepared to re-examine your reasoning 1:06:56Lesson
#9: In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil 1:11:00
Lesson #10: Never say never 1:15:00
Lesson #11: You can’t change human nature 1:22:55
McNamara's approach and policy (and ultimate failure) is the perfect example of why humans will always triumph over machines and technology. McNamara, an absolute master of numbers and statistics, pioneer of technological progress, computerization and "scientific management", failed because he downplayed the political and psychological aspects of conflict, which are always the most important, but cannot be assessed by quantitative data. The mind, soul and willpower always triumph over computers and statistics.
Although many of my generation hated McNamara, I find him to be an extraordinary human being. You can tell he's extremely sensitive. I really appreciate your posting of this! Thank You!
A DISCUSSION WITH ERROL MORRIS You're old enough to remember McNamara and Vietnam. As I have told McNamara, I demonstrated against the war as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin and as a graduate student at Princeton. Although these demonstrations were after he had left office, they were very much protests against the war in Vietnam. Where did the idea of doing a movie about McNamara come from? I started to think about making the movie in 1995 following the publication of his book In Retrospect. I found the book endlessly fascinating. But for me it raised more questions than it answered. At the same time, reading the book was an unusual experience because many of the reviews seemed to be about a book that was different from the one that I was reading. How so? The book has been described as a “mea culpa” and as a “confession,” but I found it different and far stranger than that. It's not so much an apology as an attempt to understand how he and many others blundered into a disastrous war. There's no question that McNamara now feels that the war was wrong. But I wanted to know his own feelings. There's a big difference between saying "A policy is wrong" and saying "It's wrong, I caused it, and I'm sorry." Those distinctions--these questions of individual responsibility--lie at the heart of the movie. At first, I thought McNamara’s failure to apologize was a weakness of the book; now I think that it is one of its strengths. It is much more difficult to analyze the causes of error than apologize for it. Are you saying that he isn’t responsible for what he did? No. In fact I ask him the question: "To what extent did you feel you were the author of policy? Or to what extent were your policies the product of historical forces outside of your control?" It's a central question. McNamara answers that he tried to serve the President. This answer could be seen as just an evasion, but, nevertheless, it’s true. At the end of the movie McNamara talks about counterfactuals, questions of whether history could have taken a different course. Historians do not like these kinds of questions but McNamara clearly believes that history would have been very, very different if President Kennedy had lived. Was it difficult to get him to agree to do this? In fact it took very little convincing. I started talking to him in the spring of 2001 right after his book Wilson's Ghost was published. I honestly think when I called him that he thought I was part of the book tour. He loves coming to Cambridge. He loves going to Harvard and seeing the places where he used to live... But two days before the interview he called saying that although he had agreed to come up, it really didn't make much sense. He didn't really know why he had agreed to come. It was a bad idea. He went on and on but after going through a fairly extensive list of reasons as to why he shouldn't do the interview, he said, "But I said I would do it, so I will." And he did. Were you planning to make a full length film from the start? I had in my mind that I was going to make a feature film, but I was worried about the interviews. It’s not like I was talking to someone who has never been interviewed before. It's the exact opposite. He's someone who has literally been interviewed by thousands of journalists. He is not a person who is unsavvy or naïve in any way.
And I was worried that he was going to give me the same interview that he's given everybody else. So this is a man who is comfortable in front of a camera? He was the only person who has ever objected to the Interrotron. He's so used to doing interviews in a different way. He came in to the studio and saw this contraption and said, "What is this?" I told him it was my interviewing device, and he said, "Whatever it is, I don't like it." But then he sat down and never complained after that. Was he intimidating? I made an incredible effort to prepare. I don't believe in having a formal list of questions. But I was very much prepared in the sense of having read all three of his recent books and thought about them carefully. And I know he liked the fact that I had done that. So he didn't give you the same old answers. The whole remark about LeMay and war criminals was made within the first 20 minutes of the first interview. That past Sunday, The New York Times had published an article about Bob Kerrey which implicated him in possible war crimes in Vietnam. I believe that story was very much on McNamara's mind. We were talking about Kerrey when he launched into the discussion about LeMay and the firebombing of Tokyo. Did you have a certain expectation of what he might be like? I'm always open-minded when I go into an interview. And I'm usually
apprehensive in some way. I have no idea about what’s going to happen. I have no idea what I'm going to hear, and I'm not altogether clear about what I'm going to ask. I really do believe that good interviews can’t be controlled. They emerge. There are all of these intangibles and it's important to let things happen. Were you nervous? I was aware of his reputation for brilliance, and I wanted to show him respect on some very basic level. Is he really as bright as they say he is? Maybe it comes back to my suspicions about government in general. We've certainly been disabused of the notion that our Presidents have to be on the ball. Yet when I heard the tapes of the recordings that Kennedy made of discussions about the Cuban Missile Crisis, I felt that I was listening to a very smart, dedicated and accomplished group of people arguing the issues. What happened after the first set of interviews? We asked him to come back. But I needed to show him some edited material, which we didn't get around to doing for a while. Finally I put together a 40 minute segment which I called The Fog of War and sent it to him. Was it just him talking or did you use some archival footage? There was a little bit of archival material, some of which is used in the final version of the film…particularly the material from Japan. And we put in some Philip Glass music. Why Philip Glass? Well, no one does “existential dread” as well as Philip Glass. And this is a movie filled with existential dread. So McNamara agreed to come back? He liked what we had done, so yes, he came back. We filmed another set of interviews and I asked him about Vietnam and more questions about the firebombing. I had the list of the Japanese cities and the companion cities in the U.S. That was set up by us. One of the most striking moments in the film is when he goes through that list of 67 cities. That and when he asks the question about what makes someone a war criminal. Hearing McNamara raise all of these ethical issues and questions about a war which most of us see as morally unambiguous is very, very powerful. What I like about The Fog of War is that it has proved possible to make a movie about events – events that are removed from us by 40, 50, 60 years but which are very much about today. Many of the issues that McNamara is talking about in the movie are relevant to what's going on right now, and there's this surreal sense that nothing has changed. I suppose it’s the sense that we have learned nothing from the past, which makes the 11th lesson in the movie even more powerful and ironic. The eleventh lesson being… That you can't change human nature, that this is the way we are….confused, bellicose, and sometimes crazy. Essentially, we may all be fucked. Yes, but that's not necessarily much consolation. Vietnam and Robert McNamara are hot button words to a lot of people…. At the heart of The Fog of War is this belief in human fallibility. It's one of the things that McNamara says at the very beginning of the movie. People make mistakes. People make the same mistake sometimes 2, 3, 4, 5 times. To me, the idea of people doing things because they're confused or guided by false beliefs makes the world a scary place. Because then instead of being agents of the devil they become one of us--just addled and confused individuals trying to make their way in the world. The Gulf of Tonkin story is a very rich one. Not just as straight history but metaphorically as well. We pretty much know now that the second attack (on the US naval vessels) never happened, and that the first attack (which did happen) was provoked by us, maybe intentionally, maybe not. But I don't believe that we just manufactured that second event. I think that there were people who were confused and who genuinely believed that there was enough evidence to justify the conclusion that the attack had occurred. Where did the Gulf of Tonkin footage come from? From a series of reenactments staged within a week and a half of the actual incidents. The footage of those reenactments are in the National Archives.
Didn't that strike you as kind of strange? History is replete with stories of reenacted footage. When the Russians liberated Auschwitz in January 1945 there were no cameras present, so they returned with cameras and re-liberated Auschwitz several days later. Clearly, they wished to record it. I asked McNamara about the reenactments but he didn’t remember having asked to have them made or having ever seen them. I suppose you could say cynically that the Defense Department reenacted the Gulf of Tonkin incidents to trick the public, to convince the public that they really happened. But I believe it is more likely that they reenacted them to convince themselves. Historical events are reenacted so that people can think about them more clearly. It's a way of exploring the world, a way of understanding what it means. What about the archival footage and historical materials that you use in the film? We made enormous efforts to avoid using the same material that's been seen in thousands of other films. There is a lot of new material from the firebombing as well as the story of McNamara's early involvement with the war and his advising President Kennedy to pull all of the advisors out of Vietnam. A lot of the reenactments of the Gulf of Tonkin are shots that came from the National Archives. The B-29 footage is from a film called "The Last Bomb." Kennedy recorded Security Council and Executive Committee meetings, LBJ selectively recorded his phone conversations from the Oval Office. In some ways this movies leaves more questions unanswered than answered. There is the question of whether we are doomed to this kind of behavior: war, killing people. Let’s face facts. Our DNA is the same DNA that we had in the jungle 50,000 years ago. But our destructive capacity has changed markedly. In the last 50 years it has become possible to talk about destroying the world. I often think that if my movies have been any good, it's because there are unresolved questions, questions that an audience can keep thinking about. In The Fog of War it is the question: Are we doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past? I think about McNamara's first memory, which was Armistice Day 1918. I think about McNamara's strong ideological connection to Woodrow Wilson's belief that the first World War was a war to end all wars. I think about how wrong Wilson was. And I think about the very phrase "a war to end all wars". Isn’t it an oxymoron? War doesn't end war. It leaves unresolved conflicts that only serve to heighten already existing unresolved conflicts. War doesn’t end war. War leads to war. Robert S. McNamara Biography Born in San Francisco on June 9, 1916, Mr. McNamara was two years old on November 11, 1918 when the world celebrated Armistice Day. Robert McNamara later said of the celebration, “[America] was celebrating not only that victory, but the belief of many Americans and particularly of President Wilson, our President at the time, that we and our allies had won a war to end all wars. They were wrong, of course.” McNamara was a strong, competitive student and as an undergraduate at the University of California at Berkley from 1933-1937 declared a major in Economics in response to the economic devastation he lived during the Great Depression. In 1939 he received an MBA degree from Harvard, and in 1940 he returned to Harvard to become an instructor and later Assistant Professor of Business Administration. In 1942, he was one of the inaugural members of the newly created Statistical Control division of the U.S. Air Force. The research the Statistical Control Officers compiled was used in war planning and to measure achievement. In 1943 he was commissioned a captain in the air force and served in the UK, India, China, and the Pacific. On December 7,1945, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, and months later the U.S. retaliated by firebombing Japan. McNamara was awarded the Legion of Merit and promoted to lieutenant colonel before going on inactive duty in April 1946. Upon his discharge from the air force, McNamara joined the Ford Motor Company. He was elected as a director of the company in 1957, and president of the company in 1960. At the request of President-elect John F. Kennedy, McNamara left his Ford Motor post to serve as Secretary of Defense of the United States, a position he held from 1961 until 1968. In April 1961, shortly after McNamara began his tenure as Defense Secretary, a band of U.S.-trained Cuban exiles invaded Cuba in what later became known as the Bay of Pigs Invasion. McNamara and others in Kennedy’s cabinet gave their approval of this invasion. Less than a year later, on October 16th, 1962, the U.S. determined that the Soviet Union had secretly smuggled nuclear missiles into Cuba. On the recommendation of Robert McNamara, the U.S. initiated a naval blockade of Cuba and made preparations for air strikes and an invasion of Cuba. On October 28th, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev publicly announced that he would remove Soviet missiles from Cuba, ending the standoff. Robert McNamara learned from Fidel Castro in 1989 that nuclear warheads for the missiles were already in Cuba at the time of the crisis, and had the U.S. invaded, the nuclear missiles would have been used against both the U.S. invading force and mainland United States. The last five years of McNamara’s term as Secretary of Defense were defined by the Vietnam War. The U.S. was becoming increasingly embroiled in conflict in Vietnam. In October 1963, President Kennedy announced a plan to withdraw U.S troops from Vietnam by 1965. The next month President Kennedy was killed. In August 1964 North Vietnamese patrol boats allegedly attacked two U.S. destroyers on August 2nd and August 4th in the Tonkin Gulf. Under the leadership of President Lyndon Johnson, the U.S. retaliated with 64 bombing missions. The next month, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution which authorized military action in Vietnam. By 1966, though the U.S. was losing the war in Vietnam, more troops were sent to Vietnam. McNamara left the Presidents Cabinet in 1968. In 1995, he met with retired Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap who confirmed the suspicion of many U.S. citizens that the attack that led to the war on Vietnam never occurred. McNamara became president of the World Bank Group of Institutions in April of 1968,. Since his retirement in 1981, McNamara has served on a number of boards of directors for both corporations and non-profit associations. He writes and speaks on many topics including population and development, world hunger, the environment, East-West relations, nuclear arms, and his vision of our nation in the 21st century. McNamara is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees from colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad, and has received many awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom (with Distinction), the Albert Einstein Peace Price, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Freedom from Want Medal, and the Dag Hammarskjold Honorary Medal. He is author of The Essence of Security; One Hundred Countries, Two Billion People; Out of the Cold; In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam; and Wilson’s Ghost. Robert S. McNamara (A brief timeline of his life and significant historical events) 1916 Born in San Francisco, California 1922 Enters first grade 1933 Enrolls at University of California at Berkeley. 1937 Graduate studies at Harvard Business School 1940 Marries Margaret McKinstry Craig in Alameda, California 1941 Joins Harvard Business School faculty First child born Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor Congress declares war on Japan 1942 Becomes one of the founding faculty members of the U.S. Air Corps Statistical Control School. 1943-45 Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. Stationed with 8th Air Force in London, England; 20th Air Force in India, China and the Marianas. Mar 1945 Firebombing of Tokyo, Japan. Aug. 1945 U.S. drops Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. World War II ends. Jan 1946 Starts work at Ford Motor Company, Detroit. 1956 Senator John F. Kennedy declares, “Vietnam represents the cornerstone of the free world in Southeast Asia. We cannot abandon it.” Nov 1960 Assumes presidency of Ford Motor Company Dec 1960 Joins Kennedy Administration as Secretary of Defense, the youngest man ever to hold the position. Jan 1961 Outgoing President Eisenhower tells Kennedy and his future cabinet that the loss of South Vietnam to the communists would mean the loss of all of Southeast Asia. Jan 1961 John F. Kennedy sworn in as 35th President of the United States April 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion Oct 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis Oct 1963 President Kennedy announces plans to withdraw U.S. Troops from Vietnam by the end of 1965. Nov 1963 Ngo Dinh Diem, president of South Vietnam, murdered following a military coup. JFK assassinated Lyndon B. Johnson becomes 36th president Aug 1964 North Vietnamese patrol boats allegedly attack two U.S. destroyers on August 2nd and August 4th in the Tonkin Gulf. U.S. retaliates with 64 bombing missions. Sept 1964 Tonkin Gulf Resolution passes Congress authorizing military action in Southeast Asia. March 1965 U.S. begins systematic bombing of North Vietnam, “Rolling Thunder.” July 1965 U.S. decides to send 175,000 combat troops to South Vietnam by end of the year. Nov 1965 General William Westmoreland (U.S. Commander in South Vietnam) calls for 200,000 more troops in 1966. McNamara calls this “a shattering blow.” Nov 1967 Pentagon announces that McNamara will leave to become President of The World Bank. Dec 1967 U.S. Force level in South Vietnam totals 485,000 Jan 1968 Tet Offensive—The North Vietnamese launch a major offensive throughout all of South Vietnam. Feb 1968 Leaves cabinet; receives Presidential Medal of Freedom from LBJ. March 1968 LBJ announces U.S. plans to limit bombing in North Vietnam in order to begin peace negotiations. 1968-1981 President of the World Bank 1973 Paris Peace Accords signed ending the U.S. war in Vietnam. 1989 Begins series of oral history conferences with Soviet and Cuban principals from the Cuban missile crisis. 1992 Contrary to C.I.A. reports that there were no nuclear warheads in Cuba, McNamara learns from Fidel Castro and General Anatoly Gribkov that there were 162 nuclear warheads in Cuba at the time of the crisis. 1995 Begins series of conferences in Hanoi with American and Vietnamese principals from the Vietnam War. In a meeting with McNamara, Retired Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap categorically denies that North Vietnam attacked U.S. destroyers in the Tonkin Gulf on August 4th, 1964. Who's Who McGeorge Bundy National Security Adviser to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, 1961-1966. Fidel Castro Leader of Communist Cuba, 1959-Present. Clark Clifford Outside advisor to President Johnson on Vietnam from 1965-1967. Replaced Robert McNamara as Secretary of Defense in 1968. Ngo Dinh Diem Leader of South Vietnam, 1954-1963. Assassinated in November 1963 coup. Ngo Dinh Nhu Brother of Ngo Dinh Diem and head of South Vietnamese security forces. Also killed during November 1963 coup. Henry Ford II President of the Ford Motor Company, 1945-1960. Barry Goldwater Arizona Senator who was the Republican nominee for President against Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Vo Nguyen Giap Four-star General of the North Vietnamese Army during the Vietnam War and former Defense Minister. In 1995, revealed to Robert McNamara that the second Gulf of Tonkin incident never occurred. Lyndon B. Johnson Thirty-sixth President of the United States, 1963-1969. As President, he increased U.S. military involvement in Vietnam. John F. Kennedy Thirty-fifth President of the United States, 1961-1963. Robert F. Kennedy Attorney General 1961-1964. As Democratic senator from New York (1965-1968) became increasingly critical of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Nikita Khrushchev Leader of the Soviet Union, 1953-1964. Confronted the U.S. during the Cuban Missile Crises in October, 1962. Curtis E. LeMay Commander of U.S. 20th Air Force in 1945 that firebombed Japan and U.S. Air Force chief of staff (1961-1965). Pressed for unrestricted air attacks against North Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh Communist leader of the modern Vietnamese independent movement. Led the Vietnamese communists in the American war in Vietnam from 1954 until his death in 1969. Franklin D. Roosevelt Thirty-second President of the United States, 1933-1945. Dean Rusk Secretary of state during Kennedy and Johnson administrations 1961-1969. Maxwell D. Taylor Special military adviser to President Kennedy (1961-1962), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1962-1964), U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam (1964-1965), special Vietnam adviser to President Johnson (1965-1968). Nguyen Co Thach North Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Official during Vietnam War, who led the Vietnamese delegation at a 1997 Hanoi conference with American officials from the Vietnam War. Llewellyn Thompson Leading U.S. specialist on the Soviet Union. Advised the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War. Harry S. Truman Thirty-third President of the United States, 1945-1953. Oversaw the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan in 1945. William C. Westmoreland Commander, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (1964-1968), U.S. Army chief of staff (1968-1972). Led U.S. ground forces during the escalation of an American war in Vietnam. Earl G. "Bus" Wheeler Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1964-1970. Principal military figure in Washington overseeing the Vietnam War. Woodrow Wilson Twenty-eighth President of the United States, 1913-1921. After WWI, he failed at his attempt to form a League of Nations that he hoped would prevent future wars. Errol Morris Biography Since the premiere of his groundbreaking 1978 film, Gates of Heaven, Errol Morris has indelibly altered our perception of the non-fiction film, presenting to audiences the mundane, bizarre and history making with his own distinctive élan. Roger Ebert has said, "After twenty years of reviewing films, I haven't found another filmmaker who intrigues me more…Errol Morris is like a magician, and as great a filmmaker as Hitchcock or Fellini." Recently, Morris was highly praised for his short film that ran at the front of this year's Academy Awards, where he asked an odd mixture of anonymous and well-known people outside the movie business to talk about what they love about movies. The Fog of War is his seventh documentary feature film. In 2000 and 2001, Morris directed two seasons of a television series, First Person - the first for Bravo and the second for the Independent Film Channel. The series uses his unique interviewing machine, the Interrotron. A system of modified Teleprompters, the Interrotron allows Morris to project his image on a monitor placed directly over the camera’s lens. Interviewees address Morris’s image on the monitor while looking directly at the camera, which lets Morris and the audience achieve eye contact with his subjects. The effect is to focus the subject’s attention and gaze more directly into the camera than was possible in the past. "It’s the difference between a faux first person and the true first person," says Morris. "There’s an added intensity. The Interrotron inaugurates the birth of true first-person cinema." The first season had eleven episodes and premiered in March 2000 with Errol’s short film, Stairway to Heaven, about Temple Grandin, an autistic woman who designs humane animal slaughterhouses. The second season of First Person began in August 2001 and featured an interview with Rick Rosner: philosopher, game-show contestant, cosmologist and high-school recidivist. Errol Morris' last feature film, Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr., (2000) focuses on Fred A. Leuchter, Jr., an engineer from Malden, Massachusetts who decided to become the "Florence Nightingale of Death Row"- a humanist whose mission was to design and repair gas chambers, electric chairs, lethal injection systems and gallows. His career and life are ruined after becoming involved in the world of holocaust denial.
Mr. Death appeared on the year’s Top Ten lists of many major publications, including USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, and The Boston Globe. Morris began his first non-fiction feature in 1978 after reading a headline in the San Francisco Chronicle: "450 Dead Pets To Go To Napa." Gates of Heaven follows the stories behind two pet cemeteries: one that fails set up by the idealistic Floyd McClure at the intersection of two superhighways; and one that thrives set up by the Harbert family, who apply the latest marketing concepts to the pet cemetery profession. Gates of Heaven was described by Roger Ebert as "one of the ten best films of all time." Morris's second effort, about the inhabitants of a Florida small town who lop off their limbs for insurance money ("They literally became a fraction of themselves to become whole financially," Morris has commented.), had to be retooled when his subjects threatened to murder him. Forced to come up with a new concept, Morris created Vernon, Florida (1981), about the eccentric residents of a southern swamp town. David Ansen, writing in Newsweek, called it "the work of a true original." Morris completed his most controversial film, The Thin Blue Line, in 1988. Billed as "the first movie mystery to actually solve a murder," the film is credited with overturning the conviction of Randall Dale Adams for the murder of Dallas police officer Robert Wood, a crime for which Adams was to be executed. The Thin Blue Line was voted the best film of 1988 in a Washington Post survey of over one hundred film critics. Premiere, in a survey of films of the 1980’s, described it as one of the most important and influential movies of the decade. In 1992, Morris finished a film about the life and work of Stephen Hawking, the physicist who is often compared to Einstein despite having spent most of his life confined to a wheelchair with a computer as his only means of communication. A Brief History of Time won both the Filmmaker's Award and the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Morris' interviews for the film have been incorporated into a book, “A Reader's Companion,” published by Bantam Books. The film appeared on many Top Ten lists for 1992, including Time, The Los Angeles Times and The San Francisco Chronicle. Errol Morris created one of the most highly regarded films of 1997, the critically acclaimed Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control which linked the fascinating, yet seemingly unrelated stories of a lion tamer; an expert on the African mole-rat; a topiary gardener who carves giant animals out of hedges; and an MIT scientist who designs robots. The film won the Best Documentary Film Award from the National Board of Review, National Society of Film Critics and Independent Spirit Award. It was also included in the 2000 Biennial at the Whitney Museum. Morris has made numerous television commercials, including campaigns for Apple, Citibank, Cisco Systems, Intel, American Express and Nike. In 2001, He won an Emmy for directing the commercial "Photobooth" for PBS. Morris has received five fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Fellowship. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was a graduate student at Princeton University and the University of California-Berkeley. In 1999, Morris' work received a full retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; in 2001, he received a special tribute at the Sundance Film Festival. Morris lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with his wife, Julia Sheehan, an art historian, and their son, Hamilton. Errol Morris Filmography Feature Films: The Fog of War (2003) Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (1999) Fast, Cheap & Out of Control (1997) A Brief History of Time (1991) A Thin Blue Line (1988) Vernon, Florida (1981) Gates of Heaven (1978) Short Films: Stairway to Heaven (1998) Television: First Person (2000-2001) Introduction to the Glossary of Terms It has been almost forty years since Robert S. McNamara left his position as Secretary of Defense under President Lyndon B. Johnson, but he continues to be one of the most controversial figures in recent U.S. history. As someone who came of age during the Cold War, McNamara was committed to the defense of the west from Communism. This influenced his decisions regarding the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Bay of Pigs and most importantly, U.S. involvement in Viet Nam. It was his memorandum on the inefficiency of the bombing operations in Japan during World War II, that contributed to General Curtis LeMay’s decision to begin a firebombing campaign that killed more than 1 million Japanese citizens during the first half of 1945. McNamara was the Statistical Control Officer for the 20th Air Force, the bomber command responsible for the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan. Despite his early advice to President John F. Kennedy that the U.S. should make plans to pull out of Vietnam, McNamara was part of an administration that initiated the military coup that assassinated South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem leading to increased political instability in South Vietnam which in turn increased the amount of U.S. military involvement there. He approved the use of Agent Orange, and supported Rolling Thunder, the campaign of aerial bombardment that the U. S. Air Force initiated against North Vietnam in March of 1965. Despite the fact that between 1965 and 1968, the Air Force dropped over 1.5 million tons of bombs on North Vietnam, the North Vietnamese refused to stop supporting the insurgency in South Vietnam. The scars from Vietnam still divide this country, and if anything have been brought into new relief with the recent activities of the Bush Administration in Iraq. To this day, despite a widespread belief that while a member of the Johnson administration McNamara turned against the war in Vietnam, he still refuses to address this question. 58,000 American soldiers and 8 million Vietnamese died before the Paris peace accords were signed in 1973, marking an end to the U.S. war in Vietnam. Glossary of Terms Agent Orange:
A variety of herbicide that U.S. forces used in Vietnam to kill plants and defoliate trees that provided cover for the enemy. The use of Agent Orange was recommended by Robert McNamara and the Joint Chiefs and approved by President Kennedy in 1961. Between 1961 and 1971, C-123 planes sprayed more than 19 million gallons of Agent Orange and other herbicides in South Vietnam. After the Vietnam War, it was determined that toxins in Agent Orange had caused cancer and birth defects in thousands of civilians and military personnel exposed to it. For Further Reading: Operation Ranch Hand: The Air Force and Herbicides in Southeast Asia, 1961-1971 by William A. Buckingham, Jr. Armistice Day: The worldwide celebration that occurred on November 11th, 1918 to mark the end of World War I, the most devastating war in human history to that point. President Woodrow Wilson and many Americans believed the by winning World War I, they had fought the war to end all wars. Only two years old at the time, Robert McNamara remembers attending the Armistice Day celebration in San Francisco. For Further Reading: Breaking the Heart of the World by John Milton Cooper Atomic Bombs: From 1939 to 1945, more than $2 billion was spent on the secret enterprise to build an atomic bomb known as the “Manhattan Project.” On August 6th, 1945, a Uranium bomb nicknamed “Little Boy” was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, instantly killing 80,000 people. Three days later on August 9th, a Plutonium bomb nicknamed “Fat Man” was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, instantly killing 58,000 people. For Further Reading: The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes. B-29 Superfortress: In the fall of 1943, Robert McNamara was sent from the 8th Air Force in London to Salina, Kansas to help with construction delays on the first B-29s. The U.S. Air Force’s heavy, long-range bomber that went into service in the fall of 1944 was the most complex machine ever constructed. Capable of flying at over 30,000 feet with a range of 6,000 miles, the B-29 was used for the devastating firebombing of Japan as well as for dropping the two atomic bombs on Japans in 1945coming into service - the 58th bomb wing. For Further Reading: Superfortress: The B-29 and American Air Power by Curtis E. LeMay and Bill Yenne. http://www.nasm.si.edu/research/arch/archives.html Bay of Pigs: The invasion of communist Cuba in April 1961 by a band of U.S. trained Cuban exiles. The exiles were intended to infiltrate Cuba and incite an uprising that would overthrow Fidel Castro. All of President Kennedy’s civilian and military advisors - with the exception of Congressman Richard Fulbright - gave their approval for the invasion. However, without U.S. aerial support - which was denied by President John Kennedy - the mission was a complete disaster both militarily and politically for the Kennedy administration. For Further Reading: Politics of Illusion: The Bay of Pigs Invasion Reexamined by James Blight and Peter Kornbluh. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/ Cuban missile crisis: The closest the United States and Soviet Union ever came to nuclear war. On October 16th, 1962, the U.S. determined that the Soviet Union had secretly smuggled nuclear missiles into Cuba. On the recommendation of Robert McNamara, the U.S. initiated a naval blockade of Cuba and made preparations for air strikes and an invasion of Cuba. On October 28th, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev publicly announced that he would remove Soviet missiles from Cuba, ending the standoff. Robert McNamara learned from Fidel Castro in 1989 that nuclear warheads for the missiles were already in Cuba at the time of the crisis, and had the U.S. invaded, the nuclear missiles would have been used against both the U.S. invading force and mainland United States. For Further Reading: The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962 edited by Laurence Chang and Peter Kornbluh. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/ Curtis LeMay: Born in Columbus, Ohio in 1906. LeMay joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1928 and by 1942 had been given command of the 305 bombardment group of the 8th Air Force in London. As commander of one of the first bomb groups to bomb Germany, LeMay received recognition for his training innovations and development of new bombing techniques. In 1944 he left Europe for China to take command of the 20th Bomber Command, which began striking targets in Japan. In January 1945, he replaced Haywood Hansell as commander of the 21st Bomber Command, a newer and larger command of B-29 bombers that was stationed on the Marianas Islands. From there, LeMay planned and conducted a devastating bombing campaign of Japan. In March of 1945, he devised a tactic low-level, nighttime incendiary bombing that eventually would destroy 67 Japanese cities and kill nearly one million civilians.
LeMay’s command was further responsible for the dropping of the two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. In 1948, LeMay took command of the Strategic Air Command, the nation’s strategic nuclear defense command. In 1961, President Kennedy named him Chief of Staff of the Air Force, where he repeatedly clashed with Secretary McNamara on strategy, weapons, and budgets. He retired as Chief of Staff in 1965, and in 1968 ran for Vice-President with Governor George Wallace on the American Independent Party Ticket. They lost and LeMay again returned to private life. For Further Reading: Iron Eagle: The Turbulent Life of General Curtis LeMay by Thomas M. Coffey. Domino Theory: The concept that if one country becomes Communist, its neighboring nations will mostly likely follow. The theory was first expressed by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1954 and was used by subsequent U.S. administrations to justify the war in Vietnam. Many historians, as well as Robert McNamara, now believe that had the U.S. not intervened in South Vietnam, all of Asia would not have fallen under communist control and the security of the West would not have been affected. For Further Reading: A Grand Delusion: America’s Descent into Vietnam by Robert Mann. .