The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara

Synopsis: Former corporate whiz kid Robert McNamara was the controversial Secretary of Defense in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, during the height of the Vietnam War. This Academy Award-winning documentary, augmented by archival footage, gives the conflicted McNamara a platform on which he attempts to confront his and the U.S. government's actions in Southeast Asia in light of the horrors of modern warfare, the end of ideology and the punitive judgment of history.
Director(s): Errol Morris
Production: Sony Pictures Classics
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 16 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
107 min

I have three questions.

Number one, did you know

the nuclear warheads were there?

Number two, if you did...

...would you have recommended to Khrushchev... the face of a U.S. Attack,

that he use them?

Three, if he had used them,

what would've happened to Cuba?

He said, 'One,

I knew they were there.

Two, I would not have

recommended to Khrushchev.

I did recommend to Khrushchev they be used.

Three, what would happen to Cuba?

It would've been totally destroyed.'

That's how close we were.

And he was willing to accept that?

Yes... Oh, and he went on to say:

' Mr. McNamara,

if you and President Kennedy...

...had been in a similar situation,

that's what you would've done.'

I said, ' Mr. President, I hope to God

we would not have done it.'

Pull the temple down on our heads?

My God!

In a sense, we'd won.

We got the missiles out without war.

My deputy and I brought the five chiefs over...

...and we sat down with Kennedy.

And he said, 'Gentlemen, we won.

I don't want you ever to say it,

but you know we won, I know we won.'

And LeMay said,

'Won? Hell, we lost!

We should go in and wipe them out today.'

LeMay believed that ultimately...

...we'd confront these people

with nuclear weapons.

And by God, we better do it

when we have greater superiority...

...than we will have in the future.

At the time, we had a 17-to-1 strategic

advantage in nuclear numbers.

We'd done 10 times as many tests as they had.

We were certain we could

retain that advantage...

...if we limited the tests.

The chiefs were all opposed.

They said, 'The Soviets will cheat.'

Well, I said, ' How will they cheat?'

You won't believe this,

but they said:

'They'll test them behind the moon.'

I said, 'You're out of your mind.'

That's absurd.

It's almost impossible for our people today...

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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