Wonderful Movie. Deserves the Oscar far and away. Robert MacNamara is really misunderstood. People remember him mostly for the Vietnam war, and sure, it was a bad war. We didn’t belong there. He admits he made mistakes, but I find it really interesting how different the opinions were around that time. He from the beginning wanted a way out. He convinced Kennedy that they should pull everyone out by ’65… Kennedy was obviously shot in ’63. Johnson came in. Johnson didn’t agree with MacNamara and didn’t like him much either. Johnson, while he agreed we should get out, didn’t agree that we should pull out of a war we’re losing. He felt the only way to end the war was to win it. MacNamara thought they should just cut their losses and pull out. The whole nation was under the wrong impression about why the war was happening in the first place. We felt we were there to stop Communism. The Vietnamese felt we were just another Colonial force there to replace the french. The entire war for them was one of civil independance. It was a civil war. They would have fought to the man woman or child. They never would have stopped. Just as the South would have done in the Civil war had they not finally come around. You fight for your belief. The Vietnamese didn’t have anything to do with China… they hated China. They hated Russia. They just wanted to be their own Country… free from France, China, the US, everyone.
All and All, the movie gives the viewer a really good impression of MacNamara, and a really bad impression of Curtis LeMay. A real Jackass that was a lot like Sherman. He felt that you could do no evil when you were trying to save the country. Kill however many you want, it didn’t matter. Casualties of a greater good. LeMay was the one who ordered the Firebombing of Tokyo during WWII, and signed off on the bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and was the man who felt instead of trying to reason with Krustiev, we should level Cuba, and invade (we weren’t going to get a better chance). Asshat. He fully admitted during WWII that if they hadn’t won, they would have been tried and convicted of being War Criminals…. killing over 100,000 Civilians in a single night of firebombing Tokyo. Amazing that actions like that can happen. I found the movie refreshing in a way because Americans never hear about the Pacific Theater during WWII. All we hear is, Europe Europe Europe, Nuclear Bomb. That’s it. That’s our idea of WWII. There were SOOOO many people killed in the Pacific Theater… as many or more Chinese were killed than Russians in WWII. 20 Million Russians were killed. Think of that.
Vietnam… 58,000 Americans died in Vietnam… about 3.5 Vietnamese (that’s the official number… I don’t believe the actual number is known). That’s equivalent to about 28 Million Americans dying (percentage wise) at the time. How do you think we would have handled that if we had had those casualties?
Anyway, I highly recommend to anyone that has access to a theater to see it, go see it. While I saw it with one person who knew many of the facts, a few of the other people didn’t know much about MacNamara… and even if you know what was happening back then, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see the movie. There’s a reason it got the Oscar.
For those of you in Portland, it’s currently at the Fox Tower, with showtimes at: 12:05pm | 2:25 | 4:50 | 7:20 | 9:50. For those in Eugene, it’s at the Beiju, at 5:05, 7:05, and 9:05. It’s typical 110 minutes or so long.
Go see it if you can… download it if you can’t… either way, get an idea of the man that was an analyst in WWII, worked for Ford for 10 years, Ran Ford for 5 weeks, was Secretary of Defense for 7 years, and since then has been a real Humanitarian even while haunted with being involved in the Vietnam war.