Why I hate Robert McNamara!

Skysoldier

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I was watching a movie tonight, and the opening scenes is an Army Hospital scene from 1968.
Then I saw that Jane Fonda was in it, so I turned the damn TV off. because I knew the movie would be bullshit!

Now I can't think about anything, because I keep flashing back to 1968, and my stint in an Army Hospital at Fort Campbell, KY.

This story starts at the very end of January, 1968. I was serving with the 101st Airborne at Phuc Vin, and had been in country less than 2 months. I got wounded, but I got the proverbial "Million Dollar Wound." It meant I was going "back to the world."

After a couple of weeks in the hospital in Japan, I was flown back to Fort Campbell.

During this same time, my older brother John was also in Vietnam. It was the end of his second tour, and he was a E-6, and a LRRP with the 25th Infantry Division.

John also got wounded during Tet, but it was minor, and he stayed in the field till the end of March.
When he got back, he was sent to Fort Benning for Airborne School. At the same time, he was also recommended for a Combat Commission to 2LT. He requested reassignment to Fort Campbell, to be near me, and arrived in June of 68. He was an E-6, but was assigned as a Company Commander of a Basic Training Company, because the paperwork had been approved for his promotion to 2LT.

By this time, I was an ambulatory patient, after six months and three surgeries, I was fit for duty, but my Physical Profile prevented me from being Airtborne Infantry, which was what my enlistment contract was for. The hospital was very busy that year, and the hospital was packed with patients coming back from Nam. The hospital had a shortage of personnel.....(hell, the whole Army had a shortage of personnel that year)…...so they put me in whites and made me a corpsman until the Army decided what to do with me. Mostly I just wheeled patients back and forth to appointments, x-ray's etc. And they made me a Lab tech for a while that summer when hundreds of ROTC kids were coming for their few weeks of training. I would draw as many as 200 blood samples a day.

(A side story......I was drawing blood one day and heard this ROTC college kid telling his friend about how "only losers go to Vietnam." So just before he sat down, I took the needle and tapped it
against the stainless steel table, just enough to put a "hook" on it. All his buddies laughed like hell when he screamed as I pushed the needle in. I drew 2 tubes, and he screamed even louder when I pulled that damn needle out.) [devil]

But back to the story...…..

Around this time, the current Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara decided that since we couldn't draft rich college kids, or Reservists, that the Military would start drafting people who would not otherwise pass the entrance exams. The program was called "McNamara's 100,000"

Only it wasn't just 100,000, it was over 300,000. And they took in a lot of guy's with very low IQ's,
people who couldn't even read or write. Kids that couldn't even pass at the firing range because their brains were so slow that they couldn't keep up with the pop-up-targets at the range. It wasn't long before they were called "McNamara's Morons."

As it turns out, a disproportionate number of these poor guys were sent to Combat, and a disproportionate were wounded or killed!

If you go to Wikipedia, you will not find out the real truth about this program, because it has been sanitized. If you want to learn more, read the book "McNamara's Folly." It will make you seething mad, and you will hate Robert McNamara as much as I do!

Or, you can watch this video. It is 36 min. long, but everyone should watch it!

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J2VwFDV4-g






And I came across more than a few of these guy's at the Hospital Ft. Campbell. I remember one guy that was so retarded...(yes, I used that word! Deal with it!) that I asked the doctor how he could have ever been sent to combat...I just couldn't understand. The Doc looked at me and said, "He is one of McNamara's Morons." And then he told me that the Army gave them special serial numbers with a specific prefix.

Back to my brother: He was dealing with the same problems. He was getting recruits that couldn't read or write. They couldn't even comprehend what was being taught in classes.

He had one recruit, the kid was about six foot tall, and was severely handicapped. John tried to go to his commanders.... to no avail. With all my brothers combat experience he knew if he passed this kid he would be signing his death warrant, because all of his graduates were going to Infantry AIT if they were drafted.

They kid was constantly having anxiety attacks any time he was under stress or physical duress.
So my brother took him out of the barracks one night, and started this kid running around the parade field,
and it didn't take long before he dropped and started hyperventilating. Then my brother called an ambulance. When the two medics arrived, they said there was nothing wrong with the kid, so my brother lied to them and told them he had a seizure and demanded that they take him to the ER!

My brother rode with him to the ER, and I just happened to be on shift in the ER at the same time.

And the Doctor on shift was the same one that had referred to one of the patients as "McNamara's Moron." The Doc walks up to the kid, looks at his dog tag and told my brother "There's nothing wrong with him Lieutenant, take him back to his barracks!"

Well, my brother got this look on his face.....a face I knew all my life that meant it was time to duck before the grenade goes off.

"Major, you are going to admit this man tonight, and you damn well better get him a Psychiatric evaluation now. And I am not leaving here until you do it!"

Well, the Major got his shackles up..." You talk to me like that again and I will have you up on charges Lieutenant. No Lieutenant talks to me that way!"

My brother looked at the Doc and took off his blouse and threw it on the floor. "OK, then I will talk to you man to man! If you don't do something about this kid, I am going to meet you outside at night and beat the shit out of you......man to man!"

The Doc turned white, then he looked at me. He didn't know John was my brother....

"You heard that, right? You are my witness!"

I just looked at him and said, "Not me Sir.....I didn't hear anything!" And then I just walked away.

The kid got admitted that night, and he was in the hospital for about a month before he got discharged.

I got called into the hospital commanders office the next day...the Doctor was there, and they said I facing an Article 15 for Disrespecting an Officer, but they would drop it if I gave my account of what happened in the ER. I took the Article-15, and did 15 days of picking up trash on the hospital grounds all day....but each day, my brother would pick me up and take me off base to get drunk and eat steaks on the grill![smile]

The draft during the Vietnam war was very unfair to a lot of people. Each small town had their own draft board that was made up of the Police Chiefs, Ministers, Mayors and other "high society" folks. So they always drafted the kids from the "other side of the tracks," rather than send their own kids.

I even got a draft notice that year while I was in the hospital. I wrote about it here many years ago....can't find it now.

1968...that was a year I will always remember......I could probably tell 50 more stories from that year. Some of the guy's that I met at that hospital were amazing. There was a lot of pain and suffering that year.
 
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smokey-seven

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McNamara is on the top sh&tbird list as well Kim. Project Director for the Edsel when at Ford, Sec Def for most of Nam and then off to the world Bank to screw up international banking for a while. What an $ss! I wonder why there are only Jane Fonda urinal stickers?

Fonda was a morale killer, McNamara actually killed our troops.

I even got a draft notice that year while I was in the hospital.
Yea, while in boot camp, I went to my training chief with a long face and a letter, I told him I had to go home. When he asked why I handed him my draft notice. Needless to say, he said he'd handle it and I did not go home.:cool:
 
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Just to put things into some perspective, about 65% of those who went to Viet Nam were enlistees, including me.
While we're at it, about 70% of the deaths were enlistees.
As to draft cards? I once had to explain to ah ahole cop why I didn't have one. I was 20? and arrested for public drunkeness (I'd enlisted at 17).
 
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rep308

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Sky, do they have a living history program in your area? I'm serious here, you need to be interviewed by a credible historian and the results published for all the world to see.

They have or had a living history project down at Battleship Cove, where my WWII father in law was interviewed on tape.
 

Rat187

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I know the University of Texas in Austin has a 'Vietnam Veterans oral history project', or use to. Search online to find the archive. I was asked to contribute but in the end I couldn't do it. I ran across all the paperwork I was going to send a few months ago and tossed it.

If your there and want to hear an amazing oral history Search 25th INF Div Medic, Bill Jones. He patched me up at the 12th evac during TET from there I went to the Third Field in Saigon. 30 years later I found him in SF and traveled 3000 miles to buy him a drink. The rest is history. Early in part 2 of his story he was asked how did he get help for his severe PTSD and he said, "this guy 'Frenchy...'
 
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This is a great example of why we shouldn't be drafting people into the military. Both bringing in slow people who shouldn't be in combat and draft boards composed of locals.
I'm on the fence about the draft. In WW2 and WW1 we had a draft (had one during the Civil War too if I remember correctly) - and it helped bulk out the military when they really needed the people.

On the other hand - I also feel like if people aren't willing to show up and fight - then the politicians probably got us into a war we should not have been in in the first place.

And when it really comes down to it - I still agree with the founders that there should be no standing Army - and we should have a militia - along the lines of what Switzerland has. And every ABLE BODIED person must serve. That would pretty much take care of the drafting of retards issue that Sky is describing. Because anybody called up for combat would have been vetted as soon as they had to serve their term and the retards would have been weeded out long before. Once actual war came the issue Sky is describing simply wouldn't exist.

Excellent story Sky - I don't recall ever hearing about McNamara's morons. I do recall an awful lot of tension and strife within the military and society in general after 68. The McNamara's morons thing probably explains why so many blacks were so pissed about Vietnam and said they were getting drafted to go off and fight the white man's war.
 

BigTimber

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If interested in Robert McNamara one resource I’d suggest Watching is Fog or War. Won Best documentary 2003. I’d suggest it interested in him or not as just a history lesson in modern warfare.
 

rep308

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I'm on the fence about the draft. In WW2 and WW1 we had a draft (had one during the Civil War too if I remember correctly) - and it helped bulk out the military when they really needed the people.

On the other hand - I also feel like if people aren't willing to show up and fight - then the politicians probably got us into a war we should not have been in in the first place.

And when it really comes down to it - I still agree with the founders that there should be no standing Army - and we should have a militia - along the lines of what Switzerland has. And every ABLE BODIED person must serve. That would pretty much take care of the drafting of retards issue that Sky is describing. Because anybody called up for combat would have been vetted as soon as they had to serve their term and the retards would have been weeded out long before. Once actual war came the issue Sky is describing simply wouldn't exist.

Excellent story Sky - I don't recall ever hearing about McNamara's morons. I do recall an awful lot of tension and strife within the military and society in general after 68. The McNamara's morons thing probably explains why so many blacks were so pissed about Vietnam and said they were getting drafted to go off and fight the white man's war.
Calsdad please google civil war draft riots.
 
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426wedge

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This is a great example of why we shouldn't be drafting people into the military. Both bringing in slow people who shouldn't be in combat and draft boards composed of locals.
There were a lot of coo-coo birds during basic at Ft Gordon. Did not think anything about it back then...
 
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I work in the defense acquisition world. McNamara is not liked there. Case in point, he begat the F-111, which did many things, but nothing well.
 

Rat187

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My friend was a 25th Inf Div tunnel rat. His CO, in confidence, described him to me some years later as "mild retarded". But he was a fighting son-o-bitch, we were wounded on the same day/same battle. Every year he calls me up on the anniversary date and wishes me a happy Tan Heip. I'm sorry to disabuse the notion that only the dumb died young.
 

rep308

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Jesus, I was born in 1961 and my Vietnam experience was adding up the body count every Friday from Huntley and Brinkley. Keep posting Sky.
 

cmcgraw2

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If interested in Robert McNamara one resource I’d suggest Watching is Fog or War. Won Best documentary 2003. I’d suggest it interested in him or not as just a history lesson in modern warfare.
And there's this, one of Alec Baldwin's finest roles allegedly lol..

Pathtowardvd.jpg

I resented him because he bought Jungle Beach in Chilmark (now Mary Lucy Vincent) and had the cops throw off all the nudies for trespass. Someone tried to throw HIM off the ferry too, in 1972, but only managed to knock his glasses off (he eventually sold that house to John Belushi).
 

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dustoff22

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McNamara might be at the top of my list to piss on his grave. His business background did nothing but contribute to a diluted and misguided war effort considering his position as Sec of Defense. And those who sought his counsel were equally inept. I suggest that no one read his book "In Retrospect" in which his sniveling excuses highlighted his ineptness and did nothing but make me want to puke. The blood of many of the 48k+ who died in Vietnam is on his hands. I despise him beyond words.
 

radioman

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I just ordered the book McNamara's Folly from
Amazon. 15.45. When someone recommends me
a book in the way you did this one I never decline.
I know this is how the best books get added to my
library. I’ll let you know my opinion once finished.
 

AHM

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And when it really comes down to it - I still agree with the founders that there should be no standing Army - and we should have a militia - along the lines of what Switzerland has. And every ABLE BODIED person must serve. That would pretty much take care of the drafting of retards issue that Sky is describing. Because anybody called up for combat would have been vetted as soon as they had to serve their term and the retards would have been weeded out long before. Once actual war came the issue Sky is describing simply wouldn't exist.
"Vetted" doesn't mean "battle-ready".
The pace and complexity of operations in modern warfare does not cater to
an army of conscripts who'd been inactive for a few years.


Calsdad please google civil war draft riots.
Which highlights that while those Founders designed a system that permitted the draft,
in the run up to the Civil War they'd never run the military in a way that allowed the nation to quickly fight and win a significant war. It can seem as if we burned up initial draftees as cannon fodder until the military became effective.
 
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If the above isn't enough to make people despise McNamara, read the book 'Dereliction of Duty" written by Major H.R. McMasters. LBJ, McNamara and the Joint Chiefs should have been tried and spent the rest of their lives in jail. It is a very well researched book, much of it based on memos and letters written by LBJ, McNamara and the Joint Chiefs and other senior government people.
 
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Macnamara and his so called wonderboys are the ones who messed up the m16 . That got a lot of soldiers killed . They changed the powder from extruded to ball which is much dirtier and caused fouling problems. Hes a snake of the highest order
 

Woodstock

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And he closed the Springfield Armory, a productive and innovative manufacturing facility commissioned by George Washington.
 
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And he closed the Springfield Armory, a productive and innovative manufacturing facility commissioned by George Washington.
Didn't the armory hamstring the AR 10 because they wanted the M14 so bad? I'd imagine the AR 10 might have been a good weapon in nam with years of development before the shot was fired.
 
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