Photographer's Note


This is the statue of American soldiers in Vietnam. You can call it "Vietnam War" or "McNamara's War"; both are correct.

As the architect of the war, Robert Strange McNamara made decisions that resulted with 58226 American soldiers died in Vietnam or were listed as missing in action.

In Spring 1995, he wrote the book "In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam" to analyze his mistakes, stating that the country could and should have withdrawn from Vietnam in late 1963 amid the turmoil following the assassination of South Vietnam's President, Ngo Dinh Diem, or in late 1964 or early 1965 in the face of increasing political and military weakness, or on several later occasions. Not only would our allies have understood, he adds, but we might even have improved our credibility by withdrawing from Vietnam and saving our strength for more defensible stands elsewhere.

That the United States did not get out cost a terrible price in lives, in damage to the American economy and, most significantly to Mr. McNamara, in the shattering of "political unity." In short, he says that "we were wrong, terribly wrong."

Again in 2003 when American got involved into Iraq, he said, “War is so complex it’s beyond the ability of the human mind to comprehend. Our judgment, our understanding, are not adequate. And we kill people unnecessarily.”

As a confused and tortured man wrestling with his conscience, Mr. McNamara died on July 6, 2009 without finding the right equation for the Vietnam War ... and not recommending an early disengagement to save American lives.


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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 471 W: 125 N: 2332] (8458)
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