I used to see him in the Army and Navy Club in Washington, the one on Farragut Square. He lunched there until he was well into his eighties. I was always surprised at the emotion that the sight of him brought to me. Overwhelming sadness, grief, a desire to avert my eyes from someone who was complicit in so much heartless cruel foolishness, these feelings always welled up.
I understand that he felt remorse, remorse for the Japanese cities that he helped Lemay destroy with the firestorms the B-29s were so good at creating. The Japanese were despicable in much of their conduct in that war, but no population deserves what they got.
And then there was our war. You know who you are. This mathmatical prodigy had it all figured out. He and his systems analysis and operations research "children" worked it all out on blackboards and primitive mainframe computers. If there were enough "inputs," then by a date certain, the "output" would be North Vietnamese surrender. I have been told many times that the date certain produced as prediction by these methods arrived sometime in 1967 or 1968. I forget which. I was told that before I left for Vietnam the first time. The problem in his reasoning was that those little NVA buggers in green fatigues and fiber helmets were not calculating the costs and the benefits. They gave it all, all they had, as many of us did.
And for what? For what? I hope God forgives Macnamara. pl