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Phoenix Editorial: McNamara's Lessons

Lost in the Michael Jackson mania of recent days: the death of Robert McNamara, architect of the Vietnam War. This week's Phoenix editorial suggests a lesson, in McNamara's failures, for an Obama administration still coming to terms with Iraq and Afghanistan. From the editorial:

As secretary of defense under President Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert McNamara prosecuted the Vietnam War on a day-to-day basis, just as Donald Rumsfeld orchestrated the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for George W. Bush. The details may appear strikingly different — a Communist threat in the jungle as opposed to an Islamist menace in the desert — but the rotten policy core has a painful consistency: miscalculation fortified by rampant arrogance.

McNamara's death on Monday at age 93 should serve as a prompt, a trigger, for President Barack Obama and his foreign-policy team. It presents an unspoken invitation to consider the common denominators of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam. 

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