The Fog of War

The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara is a documentary film directed by Errol Morris and released in December 2003.

The film depicts the life of Robert Strange McNamara, United States Secretary of Defense from 1961 to 1968, through the use of archival footage, White House recordings, and most prominently, an interview of McNamara at the age of 85. The subject matter spans from McNamara’s work as one of the “Whiz Kids” during World War II and at Ford to his involvement in the Vietnam War as the Secretary of Defense under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson

1. Empathize with your enemy.
2. Rationality will not save us.
3. There’s something beyond one’s self.
4. Maximize efficiency.
5. Proportionality should be a guideline in war.
6. Get the data.
7. Belief and seeing are both often wrong.
8. Be prepared to reexamine your reasoning.
9. In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil.
10. Never say never.
11. You can’t change human nature.

We have learned none of McNamara’s lessons. A powerful documentary. And, please, you can’t have an opinion about this movie unless you’ve seen it. Happy to discuss with anyone that has.