The documentary “Fog of War” provided an interesting viewpoint during some of the roughest times in American history and a period I honestly do not know that much about. Listening to Robert McNamara during his time in office as well as his life leading up to it was interesting, and his viewpoints and his eleven tips are very useful and applicable to many things. He shed light on many things I had not put much thought into before, such as what being in that sort of position entailed and just how much power he actually had.
All his lessons are important and needed to be looked at carefully when looking at a state that is different from our own. We need to know exactly what is going on and get all the details before we jump in. We cannot just blindly guess our way through and act on pure instinct. We need proof and evidence, not just thoughts and beliefs. If we only depend on the latter and not the former, wars and other such things of a similar nature end up being far more brutal than that should or need to be. There are ways around things that do not involve violence, or if they do, controlled violence, and it would still hopefully be kept to a minimum. Something that I learned in my peace studies class is that of a “just war.” Although I do not believe it was mentioned in the movie, it is something that can also be applied with McNamara’s lessons. These two, when applied together, can help reduce much of the damage and destruction created by wars.
I think one of my favourite points was showing compassion and understanding the enemy. You do not know what they have been through, nor what they are going through at that time. If you cannot empathize with them, you are just mindless hurting and killing them. If we cannot empathize, how can we expect the killing and destruction to stop? We have to know and understand where they are coming from.
Another important thing McNamara brought up that I think everyone needs to stop and realize is that we are only human. We will make mistakes every now and then. We may not always make the best choice no matter how hard we may try. We have our strengths and weaknesses. If a person says they have never made a mistake or done something wrong or have done things that they have later come to regret, they are lying. We have to live with our mistakes and regrets, but that does not mean we cannot learn from them and try and better ourselves and the future generations. History can act as a lesson plan for how to avoid mistakes made in ages past. It is our job to learn from them and to better the world.