July 6, 2009

A Chilling Thought

Justin Katz

I've yet to trace the history sufficiently to form a strong opinion about the Robert McNamara, although I do generally distasteful to snarl at the dead on the occasion of death. The remarkable chill, though, emanates from the comments to the post at that link, beginning with the following unobjectionable suggestion from Lee Rosten:

I suspect he will now face the real judge of his life's achievements and it will not be pretty.

To that, FritzieZivic retorts:

Nothing will happen to R.McN. He's dead. That's it. His dirty work is his legacy and that is the end of the story.

Forget about at least that member of the 'Best and the Brightest' club getting his just desserts 'on the other side.'

With the final chill coming with Charles Drago's "near-total agreement" (emphasis in original):

What awaits McNamara, his masters, and their accessories on the "other side" is not our proper concern.

God's work is our own -- right here, right now.

Think about that. Drago has made punishment on a par with eternal damnation a temporal project for humanity. What punishment couldn't be excused on those grounds, should the powerful deem one to be secularly evil?

It's nothing new to see the unholy alliance of such theists and atheists point in the direction of human beings as deserving of the responsibilities and powers rightly left to the Deity, but seeing it plied in the service of retribution is a frightening display that I hope has little currency in the population at large.

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The vietnam war has been over for quite a long time, and McNamara made an attempt to say his peace in the "Fog of War"/other interviews in the last 10 years or so. The outcry from the left (on local labor blogs parading as a voice of progressivism) seems to be very stale, the man himself disclosed his errors and faults. Why at the moment of his death, even before hes buried, do you feel the need to attack the man? My feelings on Sect.McNamara are mixed, however the man does not deserve the attacks just yet. As for that "other" blog, when will they realize that they are not holier than thou and in fact butcher the ideas of progress by trying to replace corporate/elite greed with organized labor greed, trumpet political correctness at the sake of pragmatic/actual change, allow government corruption, and create a political environment such as this in a state that makes it unaffordable to live in Rhode Island. Not all progressives go to brown and are for organized labor; some of us dont have that luxury and have to work hard while watching labor leaders cry when not given the cushiest of benefits/pensions. Time for a wake up call in the land of phony progressive rhetoric, and maybe get a fresh breath of reality. you damage much more than you do positive, if thats not the truth, why is our state in the mess its in with the general assembly members that you support/write for you in power?

Posted by: steadman at July 7, 2009 11:28 AM

Now you're opening a discussion on the theological justifications of excusing war criminals? Perhaps some background reading before you go preaching any further to Vietnam vets on the appropriate eulogy for this guy:

McNamara: From the Tokyo Firestorm to the World Bank

Posted by: Russ at July 7, 2009 4:28 PM


Assuming your comment is directed at me: I'm not persuaded that you actually read my post beyond McNamara's name.

Posted by: Justin Katz at July 7, 2009 4:44 PM

Assuming your comments are directed at me, what background material do you speak of? you send an an online newsletter as reading? there are books
and journals out there, they are sourced and reviewed for facts. Im sure those are too "mainstream" for you. You could have thrown out howard zinn or chomsky, they have sources and detail their account. They do not simply send out newsletters making claims.

Theological justification for a war criminal? no, clearly all i said was to give the man the respect to be buried before throwing him under the bus for his doings. what he proved in "The Fog of War" is that sometimes man is all too human. All i advocated was simply the respect any man gets upon death.

Oh, and love the random drop of your service. I wasnt "preaching to a vietnam
vet", you read my comment or justins post either or. God bless you for your service and the service of the millions of us over the years, however it doesnt entail you as an expert. Nor if you are a veteran, should you expect to get a pass on facts. You should realize you may not be the only serviceman posting, and it doesn't contribute to your knowledge of this discussion beyond a circumstancial way.

Posted by: steadman at July 8, 2009 9:47 AM

Don't like the message? Impune the source, eh? Cockburn has a weekly column in The Nation and is a syndicated columnist for the LA Times and The First Post in the UK. He's previously written for The Village Voice and has beem a contributor to The New York Review of Books, Harper's Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly and the Wall Street Journal where he had a regular column from 1980 to 1990. Sorry if that's not "mainstream" enough for you.

Yeah, I get what you were doing. To me that's a way of rewriting history. I say, to each his due (and, like anything, to be taken by the reader with a dose of skepticism).

By the way, I'm not a vet and not nearly old enough to have served in Vietnam. I was talking about the folks who were posting under that diary (the unholy alliance was it?).

Posted by: Russ at July 8, 2009 2:15 PM

Well, I couldn't help but wonder if you'd shown the same deference when writing of the death of Dr. Hiller ("All in the Service of Evil"). No concern there for "respect any man gets upon death." You describe him as "guided by Satan" and his work as "barbarous." Yes, posted days before the funeral "without [giving] the man the respect to be buried before throwing him under the bus for his doings."

Strikingly similar to what you now find "generally distasteful," no?

Posted by: Russ at July 8, 2009 6:41 PM


First of all, you do not appear to understand that you're responding to multiple people. You attribute quotations both from me and from others as things said by the same "you."

As for Tiller, his work was barbarous, just as McNamara's may have been a matter of iniquity (although, as I said, I'm not adequately versed in his actions to opine).

In general, though, your relation of my two posts is nigh upon delusional. In the Tiller post, I explicitly argued against individuals' attempting to exact upon him some reflection of the punishment that they might feel he deserves in the afterlife. (Indeed, I suggested praying for him.)

Posted by: Justin Katz at July 8, 2009 7:16 PM

Oops, that's what I get for trying to multitask.

Posted by: Russ at July 9, 2009 2:53 PM
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