Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Film - The Fog of War

The Fog of War is an award-winning documentary film comprised mostly of an interview with former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.

Most Americans will recognize McNamara as the SECDEF under Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis and beginning of the Vietnam War, who continued to serve under President Johnson. Through the documentary much more of his life is revealed, followed by insight on leadership, warfare, and realpolitik.

For example, McNamara was a staff officer serving on the staff of General Curtis LeMay. A statistician, he participated in the decision-making process to firebomb Japan. McNamara relays that LeMay asserted if they lost the war, the staff would be tried as war criminals.

McNamara was known for his business mind and served as an executive at Ford Motor Company. He was a member of the team that instituted seat belts for enhanced safety. Later he became the first CEO that was not a member of the Ford family....for five weeks.

The bulk of the film delves into intimate details of decision making with respect to Cuba, Vietnam, Russia, China, and the whole of the Cold War. McNamara is brutally honest about his, and the failings of the administrations he served, and the failings of the communists, in understanding the nature of conflict. Through the film, eleven rules are presented with McNamara's examples to apply to each.

If you are in history, politics, conflict, conflict resolution, and leadership - watch this film.

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