I thoroughly enjoyed watching the movie Fog of War which discussed Robert Mcnamara’s role in WWII, The Cold War, and the Vietnam war! Throughout the movie, he hits 11 major points that are key to understand when in a conflict, mainly war with other countries. Lesson 1 was to empathize with your enemy. To put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, we can understand a little better of what and why they are fighting. One must understand the enemy and their purposes of fighting. In the movie, he believed they lost the Vietnamese war because Americans didn’t know why the Vietnamese were fighting so intensely, he later learned that they were fighting for independence and they would fight to the death. Lesson 2: was that rationality will not save us. He mentions the events of the Cold War and how those individuals were rational and were still close to a nuclear war. Sometimes, you have to take chances and not play it safe all the time, sometimes we need luck and to ‘dip our hands in the pool’. The third lesson was that there is something beyond ones self. Believing in god or in this case, the freedom of your country is always beyond just your self. One must understand that they are fighting for something that is bigger than them, they are fighting for soverignity and all the powers that come with it, in Vietnams case, they were fighting to be soverign and to be ruled by themselves and no other foreign country. Lessons 5 and 6, maximimize efficiency and make things proportional are somewhat similar and are directly involved with war and Japan. To get things done correctly, it must be efficient and proportional. That is why the fire bombings of Japan and the island hopping of the Japanese islands were so successful. The captains there lead efficient and appropriate attacks, whereas in Vietnam, they were not going into the area with efficient and knowledgeable plans. The next lesson is one of the most important I believe: get data. To be successful and knowledge in any field one must collect all necessary data to make informed decisions. Without the data, there is no way in understanding the enemy and the situation you may be in. Obtaining data is vital in leading a successful war campaign and/or political issue. The next lesson was to be prepared to reexamine your reasoning. McNamara states that although the US is the most powerful nation, if it’s allies do not agree with the actions then one must reconsider their reason. Your reasoning must be thorough and thought out. Revenge is an awful reason to make any hasty decisions, McNamara believes this and mentions it in his interview. In order to do good you must engage in evil is the next lesson. This lesson is one that i feel can be flopped. In wartime I believe it is true, but in time of peace I believe evil is unnecessary. In wartime, there will be casualties. In order to protect your sovereign country you must win the war and some (vietname) will go through great lengths to win and protect their homeland. Evil things have been done throughout history for the ‘good of mankind’. The last two lessons: never say never and you cannot change human nature are major beliefs held by McNamara. He believes that anything can be possible and you can never predict what will happen, same with humans. Human nature can be the most dangerous thing and weapon that faces the world today. It is human nature that can lead to wars and can also end them, a notion that McNamara tells in his interview.
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