PSC 434: American Foreign Policy
30 May 2014
Fog of War Reflection
The Fog of War is a documentary explaining the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, and the Cold War through the eyes of former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. This documentary covered McNamara’s early childhood remembering the end of World War One to serving as the Secretary of Defense for the United States during the presidencies of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. In this reflection I will be comparing McNamara’s eleven lessons to current events such as the dispute between Russia and Ukraine, the War on Terror, and the attacks on Benghazi.
Lesson 5: Proportionality should be a guideline in war. McNamara explains this guideline in relation to the destruction the U.S. created in Japanese cities with the nuclear bombs dropped. McNamara stated that if the United States had lost the war, everyone involved would have been tried as war criminals. I believe this is one of the more major lessons to be taught in war. For example, in the dispute between Ukraine and Russia it is proportional for Putin to be blockading the Ukrainian military bases but it would not be proportional for him to bomb Ukraine for Crimea.
Lesson 6: Get the data. This lesson was learned by McNamara while working as an executive at Ford in efforts to make cars safer. This lesson is important because in order to assess a situation all the correct data needs to be accounted for and analyzed. This lesson can be applied to many situations today, one in particular, the drone strikes in Yemen. The news will tell the viewers that in three separate attacks forty-one people were killed. But this number does not go into detail to tell of the forty-one people killed how many were enemies versus civilians.
Lesson 7: Believing and seeing are most often wrong. This lesson was generated during the Vietnam War when the USS Maddox mistook solar signals for...