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Robert McNamara - Essay Example

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Robert McNamara Robert McNamara was the eighth secretary of defense, who served under two administrations. He served under John F Kennedy and later under the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson. He was also the US business executive during his tenure.1 Most notable of his tenure as the secretary of defense is the role he played in the war of Vietnam…
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Robert McNamara
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Download file to see previous pages 2 The president relied on him very much for advises ranging from the issues of national security to business matters. In 1961, he initiated a program to increase the warfare capability of the US forces, after reviewing the major challenges that were facing the forces. Out of this review, he created two institutions in the defense forces, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Defense Supply Agency. 3 These institutions were created to enhance the effectiveness on the defense forces to counter the effects of communism. Since the communist wars avoided direct military confrontations and resulted to ambush and guerrilla warfare, the institutions were meant to train and equip the military personnel as well as the US allies on the tactics to counter the communist wars. One such ally was he South Vietnam. The lessons to learn from Robert McNamara on wars can be traced back to the Cuban missile crisis.4 He played a major role helping in the administration and eventual calming of the Cuban crisis. Instead of a counter reaction, which would entail a missile strike, Robert McNamara opted for the blockade option. This was eventually agreed upon as the best method to address the crisis by the then Joint Chief of Staff, through his influence. During his tenure in office, he served to strengthen the forces, through the expansion of the regular armed forces, as well as calling on the reserves to join active duty. 10His was tenure of preparation for war, committing billions of dollars to the military department spending, overseeing the inceptions of millions of nuclear weapons and orchestrating sales of arms in foreign countries. 6 His role in the war dates back to the increase of war advisers in the war of Vietnam, from the 900 that was already there to a tune of 16,000. These advisers in the war of Vietnam were not supposed to engage in active combat, but rather meant to offer training to the army of Vietnam.13 Initially, the US did not play a military role in the Vietnam War. It offered financial and military advise to South Vietnam army in order to resist the re-union that was being sought by the communist North. Active US military combat in the war of Vietnam came into being during the tenure of Robert McNamara as the secretary of defense. He played a greater role in escalating the US involvement in this war. Most notable, is his role in calling upon the congress and the public to support US active combat involvement in the Vietnam war, after some false information that the North Vietnam army had attacked two US destroyers in August 1964.2 Through the advice of Robert McNamara, the president ordered a retaliatory attack on the North Vietnam army bases. This was the first of McNamara’s involvement in fuelling active war. The lesson learnt from this, owing to the fact that he reacted to false information that the North Vietnamese had attacked the US forces, is that his judgment was not right. A second mistake done by Robert McNamara in his war endeavors is the support of the US attack of the South Vietnamese in 1965, after a consideration that together with their Northern allies, they were increasing their military activity.1 The US entered into combat in South Vietnam bombing it in a more devastating manner and started bombing North Vietnam. 10 This is yet another failure by Robert McNamara, since he engaged in the encouragement of the troops to engage in acti ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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